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Northern reaches landmark in new train introduction

Arriva Rail North (Northern) has now introduced 75% of its brand new trains into customer service.


Nine additional new trains were launched on the network this week, meaning that 75 of the 101 trains ordered are now carrying Northern customers – travelling to more than 140 stations across the region.

The introduction of the new trains – a £500m investment in rail in the north of England – began last summer and, since the launch of the first one, more than five million passenger journeys have been made on the Class 195 and Class 331 trains. The first new trains went in to customer service in July 2019 and, following early teething problems which are to be expected with state of the art equipment, those early units are now as reliable as Northern’s existing fleet.

Chris Burchell, Managing Director of Arriva Rail UK, said: “I am delighted that our ambitious new trains project is 75 per cent complete, and we are on schedule to have all 101 trains in service by May this year.

“The new trains are truly transformational and it’s great that more than five million journeys have already been made on Northern in more comfort and with more state-of-the-art technology than ever before.”

Chris added: “I want to acknowledge the team and colleagues at Northern who have worked expertly and professionally – in sometimes challenging circumstances – to get us to this point.

“It is not easy to introduce brand new trains and there is a tremendous amount of unseen work and preparation in the background. Colleagues have done a magnificent job and I want to thank them on behalf of Arriva for their hard work and continued commitment to delivering the improvements our customers deserve.”

The new trains feature free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, at-seat power and customer information/media screens with real-time information. They are also more spacious and fully accessible, with spaces for wheelchairs and cycles.

Richard Allan, Northern’s Deputy Managing Director said: “The Northern network is busier than it has been for a generation – more than 108 million journeys were made on Northern services in 2019 and we are committed to delivering a 21st Century railway for those customers. The introduction of new trains is at the heart of this transformation.

“These fantastic trains are a true step-change in travelling experience and we are extremely proud to have introduced 75 brand new trains, with all 101 scheduled to be carrying passengers by the end of May.”

Northern’s new trains are part of the largest rail modernisation programme in a generation that is transforming rail travel in the north of England. Northern is fully refurbishing its existing fleet of 268 trains, improving its stations and has introduced more than 2,000 extra services a week since 2016.

The new trains, which were ordered in late 2015 – with Arriva ordering twice as many new trains as requested by Government – are manufactured by CAF in Spain and Wales and are funded by Eversholt Rail Group.

Arriva Rail North Limited operates the Northern franchise. Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK and it will run regional and commuter services across the north until March 2025.

The operator has begun to oversee the removal of Pacer trains and the first of 101 brand new trains, part of a £500 million investment in regional rail, have been introduced.

Other improvements on the Northern network include:

  • more than 2,000 extra services each week, with around 400 additional Sunday services, including new direct journeys from Bradford to Wakefield, Sheffield, Nottingham, Liverpool and Hull; from Leeds to Chester and Bridlington; from Lincoln to Leeds; and from Manchester Airport to Warrington, Bradford and Halifax
  • a nearly 40% increase in capacity - creating space for 31,000 extra customers travelling into the five major commuter cities (Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle) of the north during the morning rush-hour
  • 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 Wi-Fi at each one - as well as serving the five major commuter cities, this network will also serve other destinations including Bradford, Halifax, Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley, Lincoln, Worksop and Retford
  • improved ticketing, including mobile and print-at-home tickets, and discounted fares for jobseekers.

To find out more about the work they are doing to improve our network please click here.

Northern provides 2,800 local and regional train services every day across the north of England, serving a population of nearly 15 million. There are now 108 million passenger journeys made on our network each year.

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