Posted 9th December 2015 | 1 Comment

Franchise awards 'make Northern Powerhouse a reality'


Arriva has won the Northern franchise and Transpennine Express has been awarded to First.

The Department for Transport said the awards meant a '£1.2 billion boost' which would result in 'unprecedented' improvements, including more than 500 new vehicles, the abolition of the 'outdated and unpopular' Pacers amd more than 2,000 additional services each week, with the result that capacity will be increased to cater for 40,000 more passengers at peak times.

The 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 two operators that will deliver exactly that. As a one nation government we are committed to closing the economic gap between north and south. This deal, 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 – today we’ve put that right.

“Arriva Rail North Limited and First Trans Pennine Express Limited went far beyond our requirements with exciting, ambitious plans that will make a real difference to customers, and – coupled with our commitment to push ahead with electrifying the vital TransPennine 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.”
Chancellor George Osborne said: “Delivering a world class transport system is at the heart of our plans to build the Northern Powerhouse and today’s announcement helps to take this to the next level. At the Spending Review we committed to the biggest rise in transport spending in a generation, with the north benefitting from major new investment, and now these new franchises are set to transform the connectivity, speed and capacity of rail services for families and businesses across the entire region.”

Both operators are committed to the introduction of new trains and routes, station improvements and widespread WiFi.

The awards are now subject to the usual ten-day standstill period before the contracts can be signed.

Arriva and FirstGroup promise new trains for North

Reader Comments:

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  • Chris, Huddersfield

    People can go on all they want about promises not being fulfilled in the past, although I genuinely think they will be met this time around. Here's to a bright future for the north at last!