Rail operator TransPennine Express is a step closer to taking delivery of its new fleet of trains.
The company has announced that the first of 66 body shells for its 13 five-carriage Mark 5A Coaches have entered production – with the fist carriages set to be delivered in 2018.
Leo Goodwin, managing director of TransPennine Express (TPE), said: “I’m thrilled to announce that the first of our new trains has now entered production, marking an important milestone in transforming rail travel across the North. These new, modern trains will mean major improvements for customers that will really make a difference to the overall journey experience.”
So who gets to travel on the new trains?
The new trains will operate on the company’s North route running between Liverpool, Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, York and Scarborough as well as Newcastle. From 2019, the trains will also run to and from Middlesbrough.
What’s so special about them?
Each train will contain 287 “comfortable” seats and will feature free Wi-Fi, plug sockets at every pair of seats, real-time travel information and an on-board media server allowing the streaming of the latest TV shows and films. An electronic seat reservation system will also be installed, making it much easier for customers to identify whether a seat is free, partially reserved or occupied.
Who’s building them?
The new carriages will be built by Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) in Beasain, Spain and financed by Beacon Rail. They will be pulled by Class 68 locomotives which will also be owned by Beacon Rail, leased by Direct Rail Services and maintained by Alstom at its facilities at Longsight, Manchester, and Edge Hill, Liverpool.
By 2020, TPE will introduce three new train fleets – 13 five-carriage Mark 5A coaches and 12 five-carriage Class 397 “Civity” electric trains, built by CAF. There will also be 19 five-carriage Class 802 trains capable of operating by diesel and electric power which will be built in County Durham by Hitachi Rail Europe. In total, the new rolling stock represents an investment of more than £500m in 44 brand new, state-of-the-art trains comprising 220 carriages which will create 13m extra seats and help increase capacity on TPE routes by more than 80% on a seven-day-a-week timetable.