Ynys Môn MP Virginia Crosbie has expressed her frustration in Parliament this week over a lack of Avanti services from Holyhead to London at Christmas.
The rail operator was recently given a new long-term contract by the government after an improvement in performance but Christmas has brought new problems.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Virginia asked the transport secretary Mark Harper: “Thank goodness Santa travels by sleigh, not train! Avanti has just released its new timetable, with London to Holyhead services up to Christmas slashed. It is certainly no Nadolig Llawen for my Ynys Môn constituents, who like me are fed up with this service.
“Avanti has a new contract; what assurance can my right honourable friend give to my constituents that he is doing everything he can to restore the number of direct trains from London to Holyhead to pre-pandemic levels?”
In reply the minister said: “The rail minister and I continue to hold Avanti to account for matters within its control, and I know the rail minister recently visited my honourable friend’s constituency to talk about services to Holyhead.
“The temporary changes she referred to are necessary to accommodate Network Rail engineering works to improve and maintain the network and minimise unplanned, short-notice cancellations due to train crew shortages as Avanti trains more drivers.
“In the spirit of my honourable friend’s question, given that she has mentioned Christmas, I hope she is grateful for the early Christmas present from the Prime Minister of £1 billion to electrify the north Wales main line.”
Speaking afterwards Virginia added: “I was not pleased that Avanti was given a new contract but I said at the time I was prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt and continue to hold its feet to the fire if it doesn’t perform.
“I thank the secretary of state for his explanation and I will continue to monitor what is happening but rail services from Holyhead to London remain below pre-pandemic levels and there was an admission Avanti still needs to train more drivers. All this is not good enough.”