Monday, January 25, 2016

News: Arriva signs contract for new Northern trains

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Train operating company Arriva has signed a contract worth £560m for new trains and carriages for the Northern rail franchise, with updated trains set to service Rotherham from 2018.

Northern Rail is currently operated by a 50:50 joint venture between Serco Group plc, the international services company, and Abellio, a subsidiary of NS Dutch Railways. From April 2016, it will be operated by Arriva, one of Europe's leading transport operators, until at least 2025.

The winning bid for the franchise included the introduction of 281 new carriages, the full refurbishment of the remaining fleet and the removal of all Pacer trains within three years. Beginning in December 2017, new timetables will provide 100 new through journey opportunities across Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and other regional hubs.

Following a comprehensive procurement process, Spanish train manufacturer CAF will build the 281 carriages with the first of the new trains, which will enable the outdated and unpopular Pacer trains to be replaced, delivered by October 2018. The deal will be financed by Eversholt Rail Group.

The projects include the supply of 43 electric trains of three and four carriages and 55 diesel trains of two and three carriages (a total of 281 passenger carriages) for commuter/regional services with a top speed of 100 mph.

The new trains will include air conditioning, power sockets and tables, cycle racks, toilets, digital CCTV systems, and free Wifi for passengers.

Chris Burchell, managing director of Arriva's UK Trains Division, said: "We feel hugely privileged to have been given the opportunity to transform travel for passengers across the North of England and today’s contract signing allows us to replace the outdated, unpopular Pacer trains as soon as possible.

"We are delighted to partner with CAF and Eversholt Rail Group to meet the high specification and demanding timetable for delivery of the new rolling stock. I hope that today's announcement once again makes clear our determination to deliver on our promises to passengers."

The Northern operated service between Sheffield and Hull, which calls at Rotherham, is set to become part of the Northern Connect network, with at least 13 trains per day each way operated by brand new diesel trains. There will be 15 trains per day on Sundays, up from 11 or 12 currently on the timetable.

Arriva website

Images: CAF

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