Thursday 31st March- The new TransPennine Express (TPE) franchise, operated by FirstGroup, is a step closer to delivering improvements in capacity, reliability and comfort having been given the go-ahead by government to complete a new rolling stock contract with Hitachi Rail Europe to supply 95 brand new, state of the art train carriages.
The contract, for the fleet of AT300 ‘Inter City’ trains is the first to be finalised by TransPennine Express, which will operate the franchise from April. The deal, which has been financed by Angel Trains, will lead to the procurement of 19 five-car Hitachi AT300 bi-mode trains, capable of operating on both electric power and diesel power.
The AT300 trains have been designed with the customer in mind and will completely remodel the experience of train travel in the North. They will be amongst the most advanced Inter City trains in the UK, running at speeds of 125 miles per hour. The modern interior and spacious seating will offer significant improvements in comfort, while free, fast and unlimited Wi-Fi will provide extra entertainment options on every train and allow customers to stream movies and TV on mobile devices. On board catering facilities will allow for hot and cold food options.
Each of the new trains will provide an extra 161 seats compared to the average class 185 train and will offer excellent reliability and efficiency as well as advanced customer information systems.
Hitachi Rail Europe was successful in securing the contract following a comprehensive procurement process. The new trains will be introduced to the network from December 2019.
Hitachi will also provide full service provision, including all maintenance, cleaning and stabling, at its Doncaster Carr and Craigentinny (Edinburgh) maintenance centres, while overnight stabling and servicing will be undertaken at the Edge Hill, Heaton and York depots.
TransPennine Express Managing Director designate Leo Goodwin said:
“The signing of this contract is the first major step for the new franchise. These brand new state of the art Hitachi trains will lead to significant improvements in seating, capacity and provide a more reliable and efficient service. These trains will be able to run at speeds of 125 miles per hour but they also have the capability of running at 140 miles per hour if the network allows for it in the future. These speeds will reduce journey times across our network, bringing our great towns and cities in the North closer together. The overall comfort and experience will also be enhanced with more entertainment options, free Wi-Fi, better catering and real-time information systems. Hitachi is a reliable train manufacturer with a great reputation. We are very pleased to be working with the Hitachi to build these intercity trains which will help to better connect the North and Scotland.”
Karen Boswell, Managing Director of Hitachi Rail Europe said of the deal announcement;
"Hitachi is thrilled to be delivering a fleet of new Inter City trains for TransPennine Express, connecting cities and people with greater speed, comfort and capacity across the Northern Powerhouse region.
“Building on our contracts to deliver new IEP trains for the East Coast and Great Western Main Lines, commuter trains for Scotland, Inter City trains from London to Devon and Cornwall, as well as our existing HS1 ‘Javelin’ services operating from London and Kent, Hitachi is on track to transform rail travel for millions of fare-paying customers throughout the UK.”
The new TPE franchise will deliver a total of 44 new state of the art trains. A deal for the procurement of the remaining 25 new trains is expected to be finalised soon. The first of these trains will be delivered in Spring 2018.
TransPennine Express will lease the carriages from Angel Trains which financed and will own the new trains.
Malcolm Brown, Chief Executive Officer for Angel Trains, said:
“We are delighted to be procuring, financing and leasing these new bi-mode trains that will transform intercity travel in the North. Passengers will be able to travel seamlessly across the TransPennine network, regardless of whether the route is electrified or unelectrified, on reliable and comfortable new trains offering modern amenities, including Wi-Fi. We are committed to providing value and meeting passengers’ needs both now and in the future, and this new fleet is further demonstration of that commitment.
We have already invested over £3.8 billion in the UK rail industry and, working with our partners in the industry, we look forward to continuing to make further significant investments in rolling stock in future.”
The fleet of AT300 trains for the North will be closely related to the Class 800 bi-mode trains designed for the Department for Transport’s InterCity Express Programme (IEP), but will utilise higher engine operating power to cope with the gradients in the region. They will run as electric trains on the electrified network, and are equipped with bigger fuel tanks and brake resistors to cope with the challenging terrain.
TPE will also retain around half of its current Class 185 trains with them all undergoing a £20million+ refurbishment programme. The refurbishment will include improvements throughout first and standard class, improved catering, the installation of modern customer information systems, free Wi-Fi and entertainment servers.
Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Rail North, which will co-manage the delivery of the TPE franchise under the terms of a ground-breaking devolution agreement, said;
“This brand new inter-city rolling stock is a major step to transforming services across these routes, linking together the major economic centres of the North. It’s great to see that passengers will benefit from more seats and more modern trains on longer journeys”
Notes to Editor
- The carriages will become 19 five car bi-mode AT300 trains.
- AT300 Inter City trains will be capable of operating on both electric power and diesel power, providing TPE with resilience and flexibility.
- These trains will be able to run seamlessly across electrified and unelectrified routes.
- In times of disruption on electrified routes, these trains can switch to its diesel engines or be diverted around the disruption on non-electrified routes.
Other features of the Hitachi Bi-mode trains:
- capable of running at 125 miles per hour
- modern interior with spacious seating and improved comfort
- five carriages in length
- Wi-Fi and entertainment servers to allow customers to stream movies and TV shows on mobile devices
- better reliability and efficiency
- advanced customer information systems
- air conditioning
- power sockets at every seat
- extra space for luggage
About the new TransPennine Express Franchise:
TransPennine Express, operated solely by FirstGroup, will take full ownership of the intercity rail franchise from Friday, April 1. The franchise provides rail services between the major towns and cities of the North and Scotland including Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Edinburgh, Newcastle, York and Glasgow.
The new franchise, which was awarded by the Department for Transport in December, will last for at least seven years, and in that time will oversee a £500 million investment into services in the North and Scotland. The new franchise will deliver more than 13 million extra seats every year and introduce new direct services between Scotland and England.
About Angel Trains
Angel Trains is one of Britain’s leading train leasing companies and has been an owner and lessor of rolling stock since 1994. The company leases to all 19 franchised operators and two open access operators in the UK. Angel Trains is passionate about financing and delivering high quality, modern assets to its customers and is committed to working with the Government, the Rail Delivery Group ("RDG") and other stakeholders to provide innovative funding solutions to modernise and improve the UK's train fleet. Angel Trains has invested £3.8 billion in new rolling stock and refurbishment programmes since 1994 and is one of the largest private investors in the industry.
About Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd.
Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Europe, Ltd. and is headquartered in London, UK.
Hitachi Rail Europe is a total railway system supplier offering rolling stock, traction equipment, signalling, traffic management systems, and maintenance depots.
Hitachi draws on many years of experience as a leading supplier of high-speed trains such as the Shinkansen (bullet train) for the Japanese and international markets. In Europe, Hitachi Rail Europe’s first rolling stock contract was to deliver a fleet of 29 Class 395 trains, the first domestic high-speed train in the UK, which are maintained at Hitachi’s state of the art depot in Ashford, Kent. As part of the British Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme, Hitachi Rail Europe will replace the UK’s ageing fleet of Intercity trains, and will establish a new rolling stock manufacturing facility in the UK for this purpose. The trains will be maintained and services in a number of new maintenance
depots along the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line.
For more information about the company, please visit: www.Hitachirail-eu.com .