Saturday, 9 March 2019

Northern rail news

Northern's long six-carriage trains delayed by two years

Train operator Northern's six-carriage long services in and out of Leeds station have been delayed by two years, according to BBC News.

The new trains were due to be introduced at the end of this year, but will now not begin until late 2021. The delay is because longer platforms at Leeds will not be ready in time.

After a disastrous 2018, Northern is under pressure to improve the reliability of its services and deal with overcrowding. It has now emerged that the much longer services into Leeds on the busiest routes at peak times, which were planned as part of a timetable shake-up for this December, will not materialise until the end of 2021.

But Northern still plans to start phasing in a £500m fleet of new short trains from this spring. And despite much scepticism amongst passengers, the company still insists it will get rid of its hugely unpopular and rickety Pacer trains, which date back to the early 1980s, by the end of this year.

It will not be possible to bring the longer services in sooner because several platforms at Leeds station will not be lengthened in time to accommodate the longer trains. The work is part of a £160m upgrade to the station, carried out by Network Rail, which also includes the creation of an entirely new platform '0'.

Network Rail says it committed to the project back in 2014. Initial estimates said the project would be finished by the end of this year, in time to accommodate Northern's long trains. However in 2017, Network Rail decided that the redevelopment of Leeds and the longer platforms could not be finished until the end of 2021.