Posted 13th April 2011 | 12 Comments

Northern to get Class 322 boost from December

NORTHERN has been named by the DfT as the recipient of five Class 322 units due to be cascaded from ScotRail.

The units are currently in service on the Edinburgh-North Berwick route.

The Class 322s – five units of four cars each – are due to come into service with Northern from December, and will be used to provide additional services between Leeds, Skipton, Ilkley and Doncaster. The cascade from Scotland will also allow some of Northern’s diesel units to be transferred to the Leeds-Bradford-Manchester route.

The Department for Transport described the trains as ’additional’ – claiming they are part of 650 extra vehicles which have been promised by 2014.

The transport secretary Philip Hammond said: “Even at a time of severe pressure on public spending we cannot afford not to invest in Britain’s future – and that’s why we are investing more than £10 million in providing these extra carriages for Yorkshire commuters. These extra trains will ease crowding and provide passengers with more comfortable journeys.

“The tough decisions the Government has taken on rail fares allow us to continue to deliver this sort of much needed improvement to the railways. We are investing in 2,100 extra carriages to increase capacity across the rail network and in the longer term we have plans for a high speed rail network which will ease overcrowding and make our railways fit for the 21st century.”

But the new trains connected with this development are actually Class 380s which are currently being delivered to ScotRail by Siemens. The 380 project has been delayed, partly by software problems during their commissioning, but when the whole fleet is available some of these new units are due to enter service on the North Berwick line, thus making the 322s available to Northern.

The Class 322s themselves are far from new – or additional – having been built by British Rail for Stansted Express in 1990.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport told Railnews he would attempt to seek clarification.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Tommy, Bolton, UK

    I would love for Mr Hammond to stand with me at Bolton Station and attempt to catch any train between 0700 and 0930 in to Manchester and then tell me what he is going to do about it. Barring the 0808 service, which is 2 x 3 car carraiges doubled up, you are lucky if you can even get on any other service. Some mornings there is not even any standing room. Yet again the North West of England is being treated as 2nd Class

  • Steve Alston, Crewe

    Any extra capacity is welcome. These are big units compared to the some of the junk we have at the moment. New trains aren't the holy grail they get made out to be.

  • James Pritchard, Southampton

    I don't disagree that the double counting is bad, but the fact is that Northern are getting extra carriages - which, surely, is better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick.

    It's also interesting how I always hear folk whinge about the trains in the North, when here in the South I could give numerous examples of similar cascades (313s on Southern, 442s on GatEx, 319s planned for GW - etc). We pay our taxes in the South, too! And whereas I don't disagree that some older trains are terrible (e.g. Pacers, inflicted on both the North and the South), others (HSTs, 442s) are really rather nice and much better from a passenger point of view than some of the prized new stock (Voyagers, for example). So age isn't everything.

    Finally, without wishing to condone the current government in this case, why are some commentators so blinkered to blame the Tories 20 years ago for everything (when new trains were still being built in this country)? What about the 13 years of political games and micromanagement we endured under Labour?

  • Philip Russell, Carlisle, United Kingdom

    At least these units will be more recently and better re furbished than northern's present class 156s and 142s and some 158s which have not been touched internally since the their early Northern Spirit franchise days, if East Midland trains and Scotrail etc. can fund and produce a high quality interior re furb on their trains, why cant Northern ?

  • Keith, Keighley, England

    The units ARE needed. Someone though has explaining to do as most commuters I talk to thought they were getting new stock!!

    Whilst happy about the increase in capacity they are not happy about the hypocrisy and lies that this "investment" by the current government has been sold as.

    It would be nice if the new stock was sourced from this country but narrow minded dogma driven short termism by the previous tory administration means there is no british manufacturer to supply.

    It's hard to imagine that at one time this country led the world in railway technology and now all we are is a backward 2nd world nation with a tranprt infrastructure that is beyond a joke with no hope on the horizon of it ever getting better.

  • Fraser, Glasgow

    I'm interested to know how it works out as a £10million investment to benefit Northern when this fleet was built for about £6million and ScotRail spent the best part of £1million to put them through a major refurbishment about three years ago. Either there is something rotten in current transport investment or there was something rotten about 1980s education!

  • Craig Ward, BLACKBURN, UK

    More 'hand me downs' for the North. When will we receive brand new trains as in other areas. We need our own Assembly asap with control of public transport investment.

  • Lorentz, London

    These are additional vehicles - they are in addition to teh present allocation on the route.

  • Dr Adrian Morgan, Ripon, England

    More lies and hypocracy from Hammond. A Minister who doesnt know where Preston is should not not be in a job although ignorance appears to be in the job description for the present Government. These units would not be available had Transport for Scotland not ordered the 380s. Northern has aquied them by default. So why has it cost £10M to move five units from Scotland to operate in Yorkshire? That is peanuts compared to BILLONS being spent on new trains for Thameslink and Crossrail. Are we supposed to be grateful for any crumbs thrown our way? No we shouldnt. We pay taxes in the North too.
    Overcrowding is acute here in Yorkshire with passengers still unable to board a train of choice in the peak because there is not even standing room.
    Liverpool-Manchester-Preston electrification is a joke. Would this have been sanctioned without availability of Class 319 castoffs? This if just fuelling the North/South divide. Why cant we have new trains and more electrification?

  • Colin, London

    Lies, more lies, and statistics!

  • Geoff Steel, Northampton, United Kingdom

    Only politicians can have the nerve to call cascaded units "additional" vehicles. Clearly, the new coaches are the class 380s which have recently been delivered to Scotland but to count the class 322 units - which I project managed with BR as part of the Stansted rail link in the early 90's - so counting towards the extra 650 coaches is simply blatent double counting, and beyond belief.

  • Lee, Manchester, England

    Am I alone in wondering how transferring 20 year old rolling stock from Scotlaland to Yorkshire can be regarded as an investment? It's already been bought and in revenue earning service for 20 years hasn't it? How on earth can 20 year old rolling stock require further investment except for adding a new livery? What software problems are being encountered on the new class380's? We have the Desiro Class 185's which seem to reliable. However occaisionally they do fail in service the driver is required to shut them down then resart them to clear the software fault (I am not kidding or exagerating!).