Above, it’s the train passengers have been waiting for, but it’ll arrive in December 2013.Advertisement
The sleek, greener, cleaner and faster 110mph 4-car Siemens Class 350 ‘Desiro’ train order for First TransPennine Express (FTPE) are coming in anticipation of electrification in the North West.
And this means a more bearable travelling experience, faster journey times, longer trains and overcrowding eased from the likes of Preston station.
With the disbursement of the existing – and arguably – successful 3-car Siemens Class 185 ‘Pennine Desiro’ trains, the North West will feel more of the benefits of extra capacity, and FTPE say they’ll be able to “provide much needed” capacity across the northern cities.
FTPE will receive up to 10 x 4-car Class 350 Desiro sets, teaming up with transport rival London Midland, in placing an order for the trains.
The managing director of FTPE, Vernon Barker, welcomed the announcement of new trains to relieve shorter, overcrowded trains.
He said: “A significant step has been taken towards the delivery of much needed capacity for railways in the north of England by the end of 2013.
He added: “With an increase in the number of vehicles available, FTPE will be able to provide much needed additional capacity for the major northern cities across our network.”
Aidan Turner-Bishop, Campaign for Better Transport’s Lancashire spokesman, commented: “It’s good news that the planned new trains will have 4 cars. This will increase capacity and may help to reduce severe overcrowding on First TransPennine Manchester Airport-Scotland services. It depends how the trains are designed.
“Five car sets would be better and there would be more room for, say, cycles and luggage. There used to be 8 carriage trains running on these services in the days of Good Old British Rail.
“It makes a lot of sense to introduce electric trains on these services. It’s really crazy now to be running diesel trains ‘under the wires’ especially as fossil fuel costs rise greatly,” he added.
However, faster trains hinge on testing to run 110mph trains – with testing taking place in October on the West Coast Main Line, otherwise trains will be restricted to 100mph on the route.
Northern Rail customers are still awaiting the announcement of second hand trains – likely to be cascaded rolling stock, the 4-car Class 319, from First Capital Connect’s Thameslink service, to be used for their newly electrified services.
So, come December 2013, new, longer trains arrive at Preston and the first wave of an overhauled timetable is implemented. Travellers will hope for a better passenger experience from that month onwards.