TRANSPENNINE EXPRESS has delivered 200 of its committed obligations in its franchise so far, according to its managing director Leo Goodwin.

Reflecting on the first year of the franchise at a stakeholder briefing, Mr Goodwin said the transformation of the business remains ‘on track’, with a further 100 committed obligations to be delivered in the second year. Two new train fleets are already in manufacture at CAF (12x5-car Class 397 EMUs and 13x5-car rakes of Mk 5A carriages) and production of the 19-strong Hitachi fleet of Class 802 bi-modes is expected to start shortly. TPE’s first new trains, the Mk 5A sets, which will be hauled by Class 68 locos, are due to enter service between Liverpool and Scarborough and Manchester Airport and Middlesbrough in the middle of 2018. Mr Goodwin also noted that the first Class 185 DMU to be refurbished as part of a £32 million programme was due to be released into traffic in June.

While national punctuality has fallen slightly, Mr Goodwin pointed out that TPE has seen an improvement. Similarly, whilst over the UK as a whole passenger journeys only grew by around 0.7%, TPE saw a 7% growth in the same period.

Mr Goodwin concluded: ‘We will continue to work with Network Rail to make our timetable more resilient as we move towards a Right Time Railway. We have just launched our Wi-Fi and on-board entertainment provision – Wi-Fi is a basic human right these days.’ TPE’s new TV advertising campaign was also due to launch in June.

Service expansion: TPE drivers are learning the north end of the East Coast main line in preparation for extension of Liverpool to Newcastle trains to Edinburgh in December 2019. This is No 185146 passing Ulgham Lane (pronounced locally as Uffam), north of Morpeth, Northumberland, on 17 May 2017 while on a York to Edinburgh route learning run.
Bill Welsh