Posted 1st July 2019 | 1 Comment

1 July: news in brief

First of Northern’s new trains enter service

THE first of Northern’s new trains have gone into service today. Nine CAF-built units are working services between Cumbria and Manchester Airport, Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Airport, and between Doncaster and Leeds. Northern’s deputy managing director Richard Allan 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.’ However, the introduction of the new trains is running behind schedule, and it is reported that some of the Pacers may have to stay in service until 2020. If they did, they would miss the deadline for them all to be withdrawn by 31 December.

Reader Comments:

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  • Chris Jones-Bridger, Buckley Flintshire

    Long overdue congratulations to Northern to having some new hardware to show the sceptics that positive progress is being made. Unfortunately the much negative publicity generated during the timetable meltdown overshadowed the positive news of increased services & a net increase in vehicles despite the delayed acceptance of the new fleets.

    Hopefully the initial routes selected for the introduction of the 195 DMU's will see some of the capacity & quality restored that regular customers had become accustomed when they had previously been part of the Trans Pennine franchise. The DfT remapping exercise did the Manchester to Liverpool via CLC & Manchester to Barrow/Windermere routes no favours and certainly was a contributory factor in the performance deterioration experienced.

    Also to be noted is the amount of diesel milage under the wires. Having previously been authorised by DfT the failure to wire the Windermere branch is currently hindering development and promotion of all but a few through services.

    When let the Northern franchise was let on the assumption of the completion of key electrification projects. Completion of the Bolton line was challenging and overran. It is clear that the Northern timetable was planned in anticipation of addition OLE. So the question for DfT is what has happened to wiring between Wigan North Western & Lostock Jn and onwards from Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge. These sections alone will enable significant milage to be transferred to electric traction.

    The CP5 cost and delivery overruns have certainly eroded confidence in electrification. The engineers are fighting back with proposals for cost efficient electrification. How about accepting that challenge by offering selected North West routes to develop cost effective electrification? In addition to the routes already noted in limbo or aborted how about filling the gap on the CLC route between Allerton & Trafford Park or what about Hazel Grove to Buxton. Just a few infill schemes offer potential opportunity for cost efficiencies & service enhancements.

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