New Northern Rail Franchises Promise Better Trains and More Carriages

By Gary Cutlack on at

Another new thing to happen outside of London is the latest beneficiary of the Northern Powerhouse tag, with the announcement of two new rail franchises -- and some refreshed carriages -- used by the government to show how committed it is to make Not-London a revitalised business place.

The deal sees two new companies take over two northern rail lines, with the Northern Rail franchise going to serial outsourcer Arriva under its Aviva Rail North Ltd brand, while the TransPennine Express will transfer to the entirely different, they promise, First Trans Pennine Express Ltd.

The Department for Transport says we can expect so see 500 new carriages launched on the services, plus the older Pacer units will be gradually phased out. The upgrade, coming at a combined cost of £1.2bn, should mean there's room for an extra 40,000 passengers during rush hours, with the plan being to run an extra 2,000 services a week.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "Arriva Rail North Limited and First Trans Pennine Express Limited went far beyond our requirements with exciting, ambitious plans that will make a real difference to customers, and – coupled with our commitment to push ahead with electrifying the vital TransPennine route – will help the region realise its full economic potential, ensuring it has a modern 21st century transport system." [BBC]

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