THE FIRST TransPennine Express Class 185 DMU entered the Siemens workshop at York in January at the start of the fleet refurbishment programme. The set is expected to return to service during the spring with the interior having been completely refurbished to ‘an inter-city level of style and comfort’

Meanwhile, TPE reports that the reintroduction of a limited number of direct trains between Newcastle and Manchester Airport in December has proved to be very popular with customers. The company says that this demonstrates the demand that will be met once the full introduction of an hourly service between Newcastle to Manchester Airport has been delivered, complementing the existing hourly service between Newcastle and Liverpool Lime Street.

Spruced up: artist’s impression of new retail units at Hull Paragon station.

Two of TPE’s stations are to see significant refurbishment. Work to transform Hall Paragon station as part of a £1.4 million investment began on 6 February. The old Pumpkin café will be converted into new customer toilets and a glass-fronted waiting room will be built, extending out from the front of the existing building. Both facilities will be completed in spring 2017. Improvements to the ticket office will also be made in the spring, including the removal of the counter screens, making it easier for customers to talk to staff and improving accessibility. This will be followed by the construction of four new high-quality retail units.

Network Rail’s £2.7 million refurbishment of Middlesbrough station will begin this spring and will see the station roof and stonework repaired in a 13-month project. This will complement work led by Middlesbrough Council to commission a masterplan study for Middlesbrough station that will focus on transport connectivity and the regeneration of the area surrounding the station. Tony Miles