The new name for the West Coast Mainline has been revealed.

The franchise will be taken over by FirstGroup and Trenitalia on December 8 and be called Avanti West Coast.

It has previously been run by Virgin Trains and Stagecoach, which lost the contract earlier this year.

Avanti means forward in Italian. The operators say the name reflects its mission to deliver an innovative railway service that was “ready for today and fit for the future”.

The services, which call at Cumbrian stations including Oxenholme, Penrith and Carlisle, link London to Scotland.

Avanti West also has a new logo, which the operators say symbolises the geographic extent of the 400-mile route.

The companies said: "Under the new West Coast Partnership, First Trenitalia is committed to delivering a range of passenger enhancements for InterCity West Coast services and passengers will benefit from more trains, more seats, simplified fares and more frequent services."

The existing 56 Pendolino trains will be completely refurbished - including 25,000 new seats and it has pledged that by 2022, there will be 263 more train services a week and a fleet of new trains introduced.

Stations will also be improved it said, with refreshed waiting rooms, better customer facilities, more car park spaces, and greater accessibility.

It added: "The partnership will also pave the way for a new era in high speed rail in the UK in the coming years, working with HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport."

The new brand and logo were unveiled this evening at a special event in Birmingham attended by more than 200 guests.

Steve Montgomery, managing director of First Rail, said: “Today marks the start of a new era in high-speed rail services - one that will generate national prosperity and pride. Avanti West Coast enshrines the type of forward-thinking operation we intend to run, that’s ready for today and fit for the future.

“We’re looking forward to taking over the franchise in 11 days’ time and we are very pleased and proud to be working with Trenitalia, a strong partner who is committed to playing an increasing role in UK rail and has many years of expertise in the high-speed sector in Italy.

“We are committed to our customers and over the next few years, we will work with our industry and local partners not only to invest in, and improve, rail services on the route, but also to attract more people to rail and connect communities across the country.”

Ernesto Sicilia, managing director of Trenitalia (UK) Ltd, added: “It’s an amazing honour to partner with FirstGroup. After our entrance into the British market in 2017, today marks another step in our ambition to play a positive role in the UK rail industry, in which we see a great future.

“Avanti West Coast is a strong, progressive and dynamic brand that reflects our commitment to providing our customers with an exceptional service.

"We are thrilled that the name Avanti has been chosen to represent these values to our customers and pays tribute to our expertise in transforming Italian railways. ”