State of the art service for TransPennine commuters
FOR many people, train travel is not exactly a fun experience.
Let's face it, most of us have had a moan about uncomfortable seats, dirty carriages and being packed like sardines.
And as I stood with other bleary-eyed passengers on Platform 8 on Huddersfield Railway Station early today, on a cold and dreary morning, I could think of nothing worse than the potentially nightmare journey ahead.
But faces soon changed this morning when a swanky brand-new, train pulled up at the station.
The train signalled the arrival of the first of a fleet of state-of-the-art Pennine Class 185s.
The trains, the first of 51 to be delivered across the UK, are part of a £250 million investment.
They will run on three of the 12 daily return services between Manchester Piccadilly and Hull, serving Huddersfield, Mirfield, Dewsbury and Leeds.
The visually-striking bright purple and blue trains boast a number of improvements- from improved access and more leg room to CCTV safety cameras.
PR Manager for First TransPennine Express, David Mallender said: "With the new trains we aim to offer a much improved service for customers.
"The biggest complaint of most passengers is that there are not enough services at peak times which leads to over-crowding, and so the new trains have more carriages to accommodate more passengers comfortably."
The exterior of the train was certainly impressive and inside it was brighter and air-conditioned to ease the early-morning blues with extremely comfortable seats.
And when I attempted with difficulty to extract comments from my fellow weary travellers, much of the feedback was positive.
Stewart Higham, from Lancashire, said: "I am very impressed- there is much more leg room and the carriage is very clean and airy.
"I travel by train every day and the changes will improve the journey for me."
Sharon Haigh, from Fenay Bridge, said: "My journey today is the first time I have travelled by train in years, and I am glad to see that a drastic improvement has been made in train services.
"I am impressed by how clean and well-decorated this train is."
* First TransPennine Express was created in Feburary 2004 to offer a fast, frequent and superior service.
* The company has seen passenger numbers increase by 6.3% in its second year, and 11% in years one and two combined.
* The train operator expects to carry 15.3 million passengers by the end of this month.
* 153 new Class 185 train carriages will be introduced on the TransPennine Express network during