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Northern & TransPennine Express rail franchises announced

The winning bidders for the new Northern and TransPennine Express are Arriva Rail North Ltd and First TransPennine Express Ltd.

Cllr Peter Box Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority said: “Good transport underpins the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s ambitions of business and economic growth and job creation and we need to see quicker, easier and more pleasant journeys for commuters to meet the huge growth in jobs forecast for our cities and towns and better transport links across the north of England.

“The announcement of these two new franchises is an important step in the services and investment for that transport network in place.”

Cllr Keith Wakefield, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “With services used for over 120m journeys each year, these two franchises are hugely important to the north of England’s people, businesses and the economy.

“The investment proposed will bring new, faster trains, reducing overcrowding at peak times and serving more places more often in the evenings and on Sundays from which West Yorkshire and its neighbouring authorities are set to benefit.

“Passengers will also benefit from staff at more stations, free Wi-Fi on trains, better customer information on-board and at stations, support for West Yorkshire’s MCard tickets and automatic compensation for season ticket holders when things go wrong. And, of course, we’ll see the end of Pacer units by 2020.

“I look forward to working with Arriva Rail North, First Trans Pennine Express and Rail North to turn these proposals into reality.”
  

Additional trains and quicker journeys

The Northern franchise will start from April 2016 and will run for nine years with a possible one-year extension. The TransPennine franchise will start at the same time and will run for seven years with a possible two-year extension.

Benefits to West Yorkshire passengers include a 52% increase in the number of seats on the TransPennine Express trains serving Leeds during the morning peak, thanks to longer trains and more frequent services. There will also be a 40% increase in the number of passengers that can be carried on Northern trains.

Bradford passengers will benefit from a new direct link to Wakefield, Sheffield, Chesterfield and Nottingham as part of the Northern Connect network, with at least 10 services per day in each direction operated by brand-new diesel trains. There will also be an additional train per hour between Bradford Interchange and Leeds and later trains to Bradford from Leeds.

Halifax passengers will see an additional service every hour to Manchester, Bradford and Leeds and a link to Manchester Airport, while in the Colne Valley Slaithwaite and Marsden will have direct, hourly services to Leeds.

In addition to ticket office improvements, passengers in Huddersfield will benefit from increased capacity on commuter services to Leeds and Manchester and earlier morning services to and from Bradford.

Brand-new electric trains will be introduced on services from Leeds to Skipton and Ilkley, with more carriages on the busiest services and two extra evening trains from Monday to Saturday. There will be an increase to seven trains per day to Lancaster via Skipton, with an extra train on Sundays and an extra train departing for Settle & Carlisle between 1600 and 1900, and two extra services on Sundays.

Northern services to Doncaster will operate using more modern trains and there will be an hourly service on Sundays.

There will also be quicker journeys, on new trains from Leeds to Sheffield and Nottingham via Wakefield Westgate and new, direct Leeds to Lincoln service via Wakefield Kirkgate and Sheffield.Passengers using trains between Leeds, Moorthorpe and Sheffield will see services double in frequency to hourly

Increased capacity and frequency will mean four trains per hour to Harrogate between 0700 and 1900, in combination with Virgin East Coast, plus enhanced evening services.
The additional Northern services to Harrogate will be around 5 minutes faster. There will also be later evening services to Cattal, Hammerton, Poppleton and York and increased frequency on Sundays to Harrogate and Knaresborough.

Current Northern stopping services between Leeds and Huddersfield and Huddersfield and Manchester Victoria will transfer to TransPennine Express providing a sixth Leeds, Huddersfield, Manchester service with faster, modern trains per hour. There will also be a significantly enhanced evening service and double the current hourly frequency on Sundays.
 

New, direct links

Brand new trains will also be used for new direct links to Liverpool, Chester, Warrington and Manchester Airport, with an hourly service to each using as part of the Northern Connect network.


The Wakefield ‘Five Towns’ –will see the frequency of trains from Knottingley and Pontefract to Leeds doubled and a new link to Leeds from Featherstone, and Streethouse. Sunday services increase to one train per hour.

York passengers will benefit from faster intercity TransPennine Express trains to Liverpool and Manchester, and an increase in frequency to Newcastle to seven trains per hour. Plus there will be extra hourly services to Edinburgh, Selby and Hull and Scarborough.

Over 500 new-build carriages, including 125mph intercity bi-mode trains that run on both diesel and electric, will be introduced across both franchises. And by 2020, all trains will have free Wi-Fi, media servers with on-demand entertainment and real-time passenger information screens.
 

Station improvements

Stations will be improved, with over £30m of investment, including ticket vending machines and 45 stations that are currently unstaffed stations will be staffed for at least part of the day. Hebden Bridge, Wakefield Kirkgate, Sowerby Bridge, Todmorden, New Pudsey, Halifax and Bradford Interchange will all become Northern Connect stations, staffed 0600 to 2200 daily, with catering facilities and free Wi-Fi.


The companies have also committed themselves to automatic compensation for delays for registered season and advance purchase ticket holders, improved customer service.

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