Posted on March 27, 2013 · Posted in North East

On 12th March 2013 the North East Area hosted a talk by Chris Nutton, Programme Director, Change Activities, First TransPennine in Leeds.

Chris gave a highly detailed talk covering the subject of how TransPennine Express would meet the challenges of growth in rail user-ship over the next 3 to 5 years. Franchise was still to run until 2015 but it was prudent to look ahead.

Route was clearly demonstrating the rapid increase in rail use. 13 m passenger journeys were made in 2003/4 and it is forecast that 26 m will be made in the next financial year 2013/4. The North West to Scotland route has seen the passenger numbers triple, and Manchester –Leeds corridor has increased 52% since 2005. Added to this there had been significant improvements on performance and in passenger satisfaction.

The ongoing electrification of the North West routes will enable a rolling stock cascade to improve services on the core TransPennine route, increasing frequency and capacity. Added to that journey time reduction would be possible further increasing the capacity on the route.

Key to this would be the electrification over Chat Moss allowing the Manchester to Glasgow service to be electrically worked using new 350 class trains. The class 185 diesel trains would then be cascaded on to the Liverpool to York trunk, allowing an additional hourly Liverpool to Newcastle service, with significant reductions in journey times arising from infrastructure improvements.

This programme had required an extensive consultation process with stakeholders, user groups and other affected parties.

The investment to achieve this has included 10 new electric class 350 four car trains, a new depot at Ardwick. And improved stabling and servicing facilities at Craigentinny and Corkerhill (£60m). There will also be over 150 new jobs created.

A positive and forward looking improvement in the increase capacity needed for the modern railway.

A full and lively Q & A session followed.