Rail transformation journey begins as Arriva launches new Northern franchise

Rail passengers across the North will soon benefit from new trains, a 37 per cent increase in peak time capacity and revamped ticketing as Arriva launches the new-look Northern rail franchise today.

One of the largest transport networks in the UK, Northern provides more than 16,000 weekly train services to a population of 15 million people. By 2019, Arriva will have increased services to more than 18,000 each week whilst also replacing the unpopular Pacer trains through a multi-million pound rolling stock investment programme.

For an exclusive preview of the new trains which will start to join the Northern fleet in 2018 click here!

The unveiling of the new franchise, which has also seen 5,000 employees joining Arriva, was marked at a ceremony held at Manchester Piccadilly station this morning, where Transport Minister Andrew Jones joined Arriva UK Trains managing director Chris Burchell, managing director of Northern Alex Hynes and transport partners from Rail North.

The start of the franchise marks only the beginning of Arriva’s plans to transform rail travel in the North of England. By injecting a total of £1bn throughout the next nine-years, Arriva’s plans include:

  • • New and refurbished trains: Within three years, Arriva will introduce 281 new carriages, fully refurbish the
  •   remaining fleet and remove all Pacer trains. All trains will have free WiFi by 2019.
  • • More services and faster journeys: A 12 per cent increase in the number of services by 2019 – giving
  •   passengers greater choice with over 2,000 more services each week. Beginning in December 2017, new
  •   timetables will also provide 100 new through journey opportunities across Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle,
  •   Sheffield and other regional hubs.
  • • More capacity: With more and longer trains, there will be a 37 per cent increase in peak time capacity
  •   within the next three years.
  • • Improved connections through Northern Connect: Launching in 2019 with new trains, inter-urban
  •   Northern Connect services will provide faster city connections through a network of 12 long distance
  •   routes. They will provide faster connections to Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield,
  •   including new services from Bradford to Manchester Airport and Lincoln to Leeds. Northern Connect
  •   services will offer free WiFi, plug sockets, tables, air conditioning and seat reservations.
  • Significant station improvements: Investing in stations to give customers easier access to information
  •   and providing new seating and waiting areas. This includes video help points being introduced at 447
  •   stations and customer information screens at more than 160 new locations.
  • • Value for money and choice: Creating easier ticketing options, including advanced and off-peak fares -
  •   encouraging leisure journeys and reducing peak overcrowding.
  • • Northern employees: 45 currently unstaffed stations will be staffed and there will be extended opening
  •   hours at 54 locations.

Alex Hynes, Managing Director of Northern, said:

“Today is the day we begin to deliver our plans for the exciting next phase of Northern and each and every one of the team is focussed and determined to deliver for customers. Investment is exactly what customers wanted and we are looking forward to achieving major improvements before the end of the decade.”