Overall fleet size will rise by two-thirds after trains are delivered

 

TPE_hitachiAT300s are due to be delivered in June 2019

 

FirstGroup has announced an order for 19 five-car Hitachi AT300 bi-mode trains for its new TransPennine Express franchise – one of three new fleets the operator will introduce.

The AT300s are due to be delivered in June 2019 and start operating the Manchester-Newcastle route and new Manchester-Edinburgh (via East Coast) services by December that year. The trains will provide 161 more seats compared to the Class 185s Desiros they replace and operate at faster speeds, up to 125mph, than the 100mph Desiros.   

First expects to announce orders for the two other new fleets shortly with trains starting to be delivered in spring 2018. They are expected to include electric trains to operate additional Manchester-Glasgow services and new Liverpool-Glasgow services from December 2018 on the West Coast Main Line.

After the new fleets arrive, half the current fleet of Class 185 trains will be retained and deployed on Manchester-Hull and Manchester-Cleethorpes routes.

The company confirmed that the overall fleet size would rise by two-thirds and capacity increases would include 20,000 extra seats in the peak each day.

TPE’s new managing director, Leo Goodwin, said the additional capacity and new facilities on the company’s trains and stations meant that “over the next four years the customer experience on our services will be reimagined with improved catering, more seats, faster trains, innovative ticketing systems and improved journey times”.

Improved onboard services on the new fleets will include free, fast and unlimited Wi-Fi with the capability to allow customers to stream movies and TV on mobile devices, onboard catering facilities, real time information screens and power sockets and USB ports at every seat. The Wi-Fi capability will also enable TPE to offer customers real time onboard journey planning via a new app. The intention is that it will include full door-to-door options across all modes in line with plans to provide bus/rail tickets on mobile and fully integrate TPE ticketing with smartcard schemes across the north.

A £20m-plus Class 185 refurbishment programme is due to start this year to bring the facilities on the retained trains up to the same standard as the new fleets.

 

This story appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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