|TransPennine will introduce new AT300 Hitachi 'Inter City' trains from 2018|
220 brand new carriages will be introduced by 2020, providing an additional 13m seats a year. These state of the art trains, all with capabilities of going 125 mph, will be more reliable with more seats and luggage space, with the first new trains to be delivered by Spring 2018. Journey times will be reduced as the benefits of these new high speed trains and the Government’s investment in electrification is realised. The remaining carriages will undergo a £20-million-plus refurbishment scheme to bring them up to the same standard.
TPE will now run 19 of the region’s railway stations and will invest more than £18m to further develop these transport hubs. Customer information at stations and via websites and mobile apps will be improved.
Managing Director Leo Goodwin said:
“This new franchise will lead to a complete overhaul of train travel in the North and Scotland. Over the next four years the customer experience on our services will be reimagined with improved catering, more seats, faster trains, innovative ticketing systems and improved journey times.
“While some things will take time to implement, customers will notice some changes immediately. The catering across our services will begin to improve from today, while the refurbishment of our Class 185 rolling stock will start later this year. We are also committed to improving our response to delays and cancellations, with an automatic delay repay system implemented within 12 months and Wi-Fi at all TPE stations in 2017.
“We will be working hard over the next four years to achieve these major changes and create an outstanding intercity rail service that will take the North further.”
The franchise change over follows the December announcement from the Department for Transport that FirstGroup would take full ownership of the operator until at least 2023. FirstGroup operated the previous franchise as majority partner with Keolis from 2004, increasing passenger numbers from 13m to 29m in that time. As sole operator of the new franchise FirstGroup will continue that success.
The contract, for the fleet of AT300 ‘Inter City’ trains is the first to be finalised by TransPennine Express. The deal, which has been financed by Angel Trains, will lead to the procurement of 19 five-car Hitachi AT300 bi-mode trains, capable of operating on both electric power and diesel power.