The two train firms who are planning to run services across West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester have pledged that services will improve.
From April Arriva will be running the Northern franchise which includes routes to Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, York, Manchester, Bradford, Preston and Blackpool.
FirstGroup will continue to run TransPennine services which connect Huddersfield with Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and Manchester Airport, but without its partner Keolis.
The bosses of both companies promised significant investment at a transport meeting at Manchester Town Hall.
Leo Goodwin, new managing director for TransPennine franchise, promised £500m investment while Richard McClean, director at Arriva Rail North, promised to spend £1bn across the north, with £400m of that on new trains. Arriva have won the franchise until 2025 whil FirstGroup take power until 2023.
Mr Goodwin said: The north needs a world class transport network and we acknowledge we have a critical role towards doing that.
“Our vision is taking the north further, helping the north achieve its potential but also it’s about our customers. A vision like that needs a clear plan, and we’ve got one.”
He promised more trains, more often increasing capacity with 20,000 extra peak time seats a day. These will be the first new trains in the north of England this century.
Here are some of their key pledges:
Firstgroup which runs Transpennine services from Huddersfield to Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Hull, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as Manchester Airport:
BRAND NEW FASTER TRAINS
They will provide 44 new intercity trains with 220 new carriages by 2019, some capable of reaching 125mph.
AND A FACELIFT FOR OLDER TRAINS
Their existing ‘class 185’ trains will get a £27 million revamp to restore them to as-new standards. We will also get 125mph renovated cast-offs from elsewhere in the country.
MORE TRAINS AN HOUR
From 2017: Six trains an hour in both directions between Manchester and Leeds (more than 100 services a day in both directions)
Two fast trains an hour in both directions between Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle on new intercity trains
Double capacity between Manchester and Sheffield, all on six-carriage trains.
By 2018: 31 services a day between Manchester Airport and Scotland, all to be operated by brand new five carriage intercity trains providing a significant increase in capacity
By 2019: 16 additional services per day from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Manchester
More early and late trains for commuters.
Passengers will be able to get direct trains between Manchester Airport and Newcastle from December this year - with two trains an hour to Newcastle by December 2017.
A promise of 13 new destinations from Manchester including St Helens from 2017 and Morpeth from 2019 - both hourly.
Better connections with local rail, bus and light rail are also on the table.
Extension of TransPennine Express services from Manchester beyond Newcastle to Edinburgh from December 2019.
MORE TRAINS ON A SUNDAY
More than double existing capacity on Sundays. Trains to run at the weekend as often as during the week.
Target to reduce delays and cancellations by 27pc, underpinned by new agreement with Network Rail to reduce issues that lead to delays.
Better live arrival and departure boards. Some stations will get extra car and cycle parking.
There will be cheaper fares for 16-18 year-olds and for job seekers. You’ll be able to get season tickets on direct debit, with the ability to buy Anglo-Scottish tickets 26 weeks in advance. There will be automatic delay compensation for registers customers.
More click and collect machines.
At Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly, automatic ticket barriers and new ticket vending machines will be installed.
They will work with Transport for the North to bring in paperless tickets via mobile on all routes for journeys across
Metrolink, bus and rail.
Finally, a decent cup of coffee?
Bosses are promising noticeably more edible food ‘from day one’.
More services will also be offering food and drink on board.
“We know how important a good cup of coffee is for customers so we are committed to improving the quality of our coffee,” they said.
TECHNOLOGY / ENTERTAINMENT
Happy Valley, Game of Thrones or Star Wars while you travel?
A media server will allow passengers to screen movies and TV shows for free on their tablets and iphones.
There will be free wifi on all trains by July 2018, and on Anglo-Scottish routes by summer 2017.
There will be plugs and USB ports at every seat, real time passenger screens on all trains by April 2019 plus a new mobile app journey planner showing real-time free seats.
Clean, not disgusting.
“We know that a clean usable toilet is a very important part of our customer’s journey so we are committed to making sure our facilities are clean and useable.”
Arriva will run the Northern franchise. It operates local, commuter and rural services and long-distance services linking major cities and towns such as Huddersfield, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, York, Manchester, Bradford, Preston and Blackpool.
NEW FASTER TRAINS
Arriva will buy 281 brand new (and bigger) carriages - or 98 new trains
They will mean an end for the out-dated and hated Pacer trains ‘by the end of 2019’.
These new trains will run as ‘Northern Connect’ services from Manchester to 12 ‘key centres’ across the region including Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool, Bradford, Chester, Leeds, Liverpool and Windermere.
It means Manchester-Preston will take 48 minutes not 55, Manchester-Buxton will be 51 minutes not 58, and Manchester-Bradford wil be six minutes faster.
New routes will also link Manchester Airport with Warrington and Liverpool, and with Rochdale and Bradford.
More revamped cast-offs from Scotland and the south will lead to 2,000 extra services a week within three years.
More off-peak trains from Manchester to Wigan, Blackburn and Bolton.
Four-car trains to Hadfield and Glossop from Manchester by 2017.
Two trains an hour with nine extra off-peak services from Stoke and Macclesfield to Manchester - calling at Poynton, Bramhall and Cheadle Hulme
MORE TRAINS AN HOUR
More than 2,000 extra services a week by 2019. For example, there will be seven trains every hour between Manchester and Wigan - four via Atherton, two electric trains via Bolton and one fast 100mph Northern Connect service.
There will be more services to Manchester Airport - to cater for early flights there will be at least nine trains every day before 7am.
MORE TRAINS ON A SUNDAY
There will be an improved Sunday services. For example, there will be a fourth service linking Wigan and Manchester.
And local services from Northwich and Macclesfield to Manchester will be doubled to half hourly all day.
There will be an hourly Sunday service to Liverpool, Blackpool, Bradford and Cumbria.
Beginning in December 2017, new timetables will provide 100 new journeys across Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and other regional hubs.
Arriva will spend more than £50m including new shops at 243 stations that don’t have them now.
There will be spruced-up seating and waiting areas at 355 stations, better information, new CCTV and visible staff at 45 stations that are currently unstaffed.
Video help points at 447 stations and customer information screens at more than 160 new locations.
A promise of easier-to-understand fares.
There will be a new range of Advance Purchase tickets that can be bought up to 15 minutes before departure - with a seat guaranteed.
Off-peak day returns will be available everywhere and
Technology allowing passengers to buy tickets via mobile phones and apps as well as at their local newsagents through PayZone.
Free wi-fi by 2019. Northern Connect services will offer free wi-fi, plug sockets, tables, air conditioning and seat reservations.