Northern launches first trains of £500m new fleet

Train operator Arriva Rail North announced that the first nine trains of a £500 million new fleet for local rail services will start carrying passengers from Monday July 1.

The nine trains will begin operating on routes between Cumbria and Manchester Airport, Liverpool and Manchester Airport, and between Doncaster and Leeds.

The rest of the 101-strong fleet of new trains will be rolled out in the coming months in the biggest upgrade for local rail services in a generation.

Much-criticized Arriva Rail North, known as Northern, is a subsidiary of German state-owned operator Deutsche Bahn.

Richard Allan, deputy managing director, Northern, said: “These new trains are the biggest investment in local rail services in the North for a generation and the whole Northern team is very proud and honoured to be able to introduce them to our customers on three of our routes from 1 July.

“These new trains represent a huge improvement in design, quality and overall experience for our customers.”

The rest of the trains will be introduced at monthly intervals through 2019 and into 2020.

The new trains feature free WiFi, air-conditioning, at-seat power and customer information-media screens with real-time information.

Rail minister Andrew Jones said: “We have already seen the introduction of refurbished trains as part of Northern’s investment.

“The unveiling today of brand new trains shows that transformation continues on the north’s rail network. 

“This is a true milestone, providing passengers with more spacious, reliable and comfortable journeys.

“I am delighted that we will see the first services running in July.

“Together with new fleets on Northern, TransPennine Express and the Azumas on the East Coast, we are one step closer to saying goodbye to outdated trains and the start of a more modern rail network fit for people across the north.”

The new trains have been funded by Eversholt Rail Group and built in Spain and in Wales by train manufacturer CAF.