Better journeys for rail
customers as new Northern and TransPenine Express franchises confirmed
THE Northern franchise has been
formally signed with Arriva Rail North Ltd and TransPenine Express franchise
with 1st Trans Penonine Express Ltd . Operators will oversee a massive £1.2
billion boost to rail services.
The deals will help bring the Northern
Powerhouse to life, with 500 brand new modern carriages, room for 40,000
more passengers, 2,000 extra services a week and a host of improvements The
Department for Transport, on 23 December 2015, that it has officially signed
the Northern franchise 10 year contract with Arriva Rail North Ltd and the TransPenonine Express franchise 7 year contract with 1st TransPennine
The deals provide an unprecedented package
of improvements, bringing about the biggest transformation to rail journeys
in the North of England and Scotland in decades. The formal confirmation
follows the government's announcement of the awards and a routine standstill
period of at least 10 days. Together, the operators will oversee a
massive £1.2 billion boost to rail services with 500 brand new modern
carriages, room for 40,000 more passengers, 2,000 extra services a week and
a host of improvements to deliver a modern, 21st Century passenger
experience. The improvements will play a vital role in bringing the Northern
Powerhouse to life, rebalancing the economy, creating jobs, opportunity and
growth, and providing significantly better journeys across the region.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:- "We promised passengers
a world class rail service that would make the Northern Powerhouse a
reality; and I'm delighted that we have found 2 operators that will deliver
exactly that. As a 1 nation government we are committed to closing the
economic gap between North and South. These deals, which have been confirmed
today, and the joint management of the franchises, will bring the Northern
Powerhouse to life. In 2004, the last time these contracts were awarded, the
government did not plan for growth. With the signing of these contracts,
Arriva Rail North Limited and 1st Trans Penonine Express Limited are on
track to deliver their exciting, ambitious plans that will make a real
difference to customers, and coupled with our commitment to push ahead with
electrifying the vital TransPenonine route; will help the region realise its
full economic potential, ensuring it has a modern 21st Century transport
system. This is fantastic news for the North."
The franchises will be jointly managed from Leeds by the Department for
Transport and Rail North Limited; which represents 210 local authorities
across the North.
Sir Richard Leese, chair of the Association of Rail North Partner
Authorities said:- "Passengers were clear that they wanted to see a
transformation including a lot more newer, better, trains running more
regularly with a step change in services provided off peak and on Sundays.
They also wanted improvements to stations and changes to make ticketing
easier; and thanks to all the partnership work by Rail North and the
Department for Transport, that's exactly what we have been are able to
announce. This is another crucial move towards devolution for the North.
Rail North will now play a major role in the management and development of
both new franchises, providing an excellent platform for further development
and full devolution in the future. Rail North will work very closely with
Transport for the North to drive forward economic growth by developing
visionary proposals to deliver radically improved connectivity across the
Arriva Rail North Limited will run the Northern franchise from April 2016
until March 2025. The operator will oversee the complete removal of the
outdated and unpopular Pacers by the end of 20110, and will invest £400
million in 281 brand new air conditioned carriages; more than double the
minimum required in the government's invitation to tender.
Other improvements on the Northern Network include:-
► More than 2,000 extra services each week.
► Nearly a 40% increase in capacity; creating
space for 31,000 extra passengers travelling into Liverpool, Manchester,
Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle during the morning rush hour period.
► A new
high quality 'Northern Connect' service, meaning new or
refurbished trains on longer distance services, faster journeys and stations
staffed daily with catering services and free WiFi.
► Improved ticketing, including mobile and print
at home tickets, and discounted fares for jobseekers.
Chris Burchell, Managing Director of Arriva's UK Trains division, said:-
"We are proud to be given the opportunity to transform rail travel for
passengers in the North of England and to work closely with our partners to
connect Towns, Cities and communities like never before. We will be
investing more than £1 billion to deliver a step change in quality for
customers and dramatically improving services, stations, information and
ticketing. Our aim is to be the communities' local railway and to leave a
positive lasting legacy for the North of England."
1st Trans Penonine Express Limited will operate services on the
TransPenonine Express franchise; which runs Intercity services across the
region and into Scotland; from April 2016 until March 2023. They will bring
in 220 new carriages, equivalent to 44 trains and worth more than £400
million, providing fast 125 mph services across the Network, as well as:-
► Introducing new and additional services for
Scotland, including a new, direct Liverpool to Glasgow service from December
2018, with new electric trains.
Doubling the number of Manchester to Newcastle services and running more
daily services to Hull, from Manchester and Leeds, both from December 2017.
Bringing in 10,000 extra seats into Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool
and Newcastle during the morning rush hour period.
► Offering discounted advance fares for 16 to 18
year olds and jobseekers.
Tim O'Toole, chief executive of FirstGroup, said:- "Our new
TransPenonine Express franchise will deliver faster and more frequent
Intercity train services between the North's major Towns and Cities and we
are excited to help the government achieve its vision for a Northern
Powerhouse. Our plans include investment in new and refurbished trains on
every part of the Network, with millions more seats available, free Wi-Fi
and simpler smart and mobile ticketing, allowing us to build on the success
we have had over the past 11 years, in which we have more than doubled
passenger journeys on the Network. We will work with local authorities,
customers and community groups to give them a real stake in the future of
their Intercity rail travel. The new TransPenonine Express will connect the
North and keep people moving and communities prospering across the region."
Other improvements across both new franchises include:-
► The provision of free Wi-Fi by December 20110 on
all services, all TransPenonine Express stations and 36 Northern stations.
► Challenging targets to improve customer
satisfaction and reduce cancellations and short formations, which operators
will be expected to meet.
► The introduction of automatic delay repay
compensation for passengers who buy season and advance purchase tickets
► £55 million of investment in stations to bring
them into the 21st Century.
During the franchises, the government and Network Rail will also forge ahead
with electrification of the TransPenonine line to deliver faster journey
times and significantly more capaCity. Network Rail is currently developing
a detailed plan for the work which, when finished, will provide a fully
electrified route between Liverpool and Newcastle.
The deal will also mean significant
returns to government and better value for the Taxpayer. The government will
receive £400 million in premiums from 1st Trans Penonine Express Limited
over the life of the franchise; previously, the franchise was subsidised by
the government. The amount of annual subsidy the government pays for the
Northern franchise will be reduced by £160 million by the end of the 10 year
The work is expected to be completed in