First TransPennine Express is a train operating company in the United Kingdom. It is a joint operation between First Group (55%) and Keolis (45%.) It operates regular services in the north including services linking the west and east coasts of England across the Pennines.The franchise will run for eight years with an optional extension of five years.
The original service and brand name TransPennine Express was launched in late 1998 by Northern Spirit, and maintained by its successor, Arriva Trains Northern. On 1 February 2004, the service became a separate franchise, also incorporating the Manchester Airport to Cumbria and Lakelines (Oxenholme to Windermere) routes from First North Western but minus the Bradford to Blackpool service. TransPennine Express later took over the Manchester Airport to Blackpool service.
First TransPennine Express is one of the few train operating companies in the United Kingdom running 24 hours a day, including through New Year's Eve night. For example, trains run between York and Manchester Airport at least every three hours every night of the week, and usually every hour between Leeds and Manchester.
First TransPennine Express services are split into three routes:
The core route between Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds sees four trains per hour between the two cities. This is made up of an hourly Liverpool Lime Street to Scarborough service, an hourly Manchester Airport to Newcastle service, an hourly Manchester Airport to Middlesbrough service and an hourly Manchester Piccadilly to Hull service. The Huddersfield to Leeds section is the most busy section on any TransPennine Express service.
The Manchester to Liverpool sector is supplemented by East Midlands Trains' hourly service from Norwich and a Northern Rail hourly Liverpool to Manchester Airport express service (which runs via Newton-le-Willows rather than Warrington), thus giving three fast services between Manchester and Liverpool per hour. Similarly, the service between Leeds and Newcastle is boosted by an hourly CrossCountry service; York to Newcastle is also supplemented by National Express East Coast’s and CrossCountry services.
It can be faster for passengers wishing to travel to Durham or Newcastle to board a Middlesbrough or Scarborough bound train and to change at York as both National Express East Coast and CrossCountry run faster trains (125mph vs 100mph) and skip many smaller stations. It can also be quicker for passengers from Manchester Airport or Manchester Piccadilly wanting Durham or Newcastle to travel to Sheffield and then pick up a CrossCountry service to their intended destination.
Under Arriva Trains Northern and Northern Spirit, the Newcastle service used to continue to Sunderland. Trains between Newcastle and Sunderland are now provided by Northern Rail. Likewise, the Bradford to Blackpool route is still available, but is provided by Northern Rail and journeys continue to York. When First and Keolis first took over the service they extended the Manchester to Hull service to Bridlington, which they now no longer do.
In December 2007 TransPennine Express axed the two hourly service between Manchester Airport and Windermere. Windermere trains now start and terminate at Preston or are joined to another service between Manchester Airport and Preston, though the latter is less common. There is still, however, an hourly service between Oxenholme and Windermere and a two hourly service between Manchester Airport and Barrow-in-Furness.
TransPennine Express also took over the route between Manchester Airport and Edinburgh/Glasgow (formerly operated by Virgin CrossCountry). These trains run in the time slot that the Windermere service used to have and call at more stations than the Virgin service to help compensate for the loss of the Windermere service. Because the Class 185s are smaller than the previous Voyagers and fewer trains run overall, trains are susceptible to overcrowding. The service takes around the same amount of time as the previous Virgin Trains service despite having slower trains, but only because of shorter stops at stations such as Preston.
Manchester Airport to Scotland services will cease to call at Salford Crescent due to increased constraints on the West Coast Mainline, but the station will be served by a new Northern Rail service between Hazel Grove and Bolton.
The franchise is operated with Class 185 and Class 170 diesel multiple units. When first created the franchise operated a mixed fleet of Class 158 (inherited from Arriva Trains Northern) and Class 175 (originally from First North Western, but sub-leased from Arriva Trains Wales).
In March 2006 new three-car Class 185 units, constructed in Germany by Siemens, began to enter service and took over most services. A new depot at Ardwick, about a mile east of Manchester Piccadilly was built as the base for the Class 185 fleet. A smaller depot, to provide stabling and lighter maintenance east of the Pennines, has been built at York and another at Cleethorpes. The Class 185 units were delivered in the First Group 'neon-style' livery. The "i" in the logo of Keolis is used as the 'i' in the TransPennine Express logo in addition to the FirstGroup 'flyling f' logo. The first eight units were sent over in First’s old livery, and were converted to the new one (see the photograph at the beginning of this article) using vinyl wraps. The arrival of the Class 185 allowed the Class 175 units to be returned to Arriva Trains Wales.
It was planned to operate all services with the new Class 185 units. However, weight restrictions on the Hull-Leeds line mean the Class 185 units are limited to 75mph (120km/h) east of Leeds. To solve this problem and create extra capacity across their network First TransPennine Express has started to take on a nine-strong fleet of lighter Class 170 Turbostar units formerly used by South West Trains (SWT) on their Waterloo–Salisbury–Exeter services. In return SWT has received eleven surplus Class 158 units from TransPennine Express which will be upgraded to the same standard as SWT's Class 159 units. TransPennine Express have also since received one additional 170 formerly used by Central Trains. The two-car Class 170 Turbostars are being used solely on Manchester-Hull services and have since been refurbished to include CCTV, plug sockets at table seats, replacement seat covers and an accessible toilet. They have also had 8 first class seats removed and had 13 standard class seats inserted in their place.
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Routes operated||Built|
|Class 170 Turbostar||Diesel Multiple Unit||100||160||9||Manchester Piccadilly - Hull route||2000|
|Class 185 Pennine||Diesel Multiple Unit||100||160||51||All TransPennine routes||2006|
|Class 158 Express Sprinter||diesel multiple unit||1989 - 1992||2006 - 2007||Moved to Central Trains, First Great Western, South West Trains and Northern Rail|
|Class 175 Coradia||diesel multiple unit||1999 - 2001||2006||Moved to Arriva Trains Wales|
The latest figures to be released by the ORR for the fourth quarter of the financial year 2007/8 were up 0.6% on last year at 91.8% (PPM) and also up 0.1% for MAA at 91.7%. These figures are slightly above the sector level for this quarter.
In December 2007 TransPennine Express took over the Manchester to Scotland service from Virgin Trains. They reduced the Manchester Airport to Windermere service in order to have enough units to run a two-hourly service between Manchester and Scotland, extending the Scottish service to Manchester Airport. It also meant that the Scottish services were being operated by Class 185 Pennine trains, rather than Class 220 Voyagers. The actual increase in journey time on Scottish services is minimal, as the length of stops at stations such as Preston and Lancaster has been reduced.
Despite the 185s being bigger than 2 car 158s, it is likely that 185s will be deemed unsuitable for Transpennine Express services in the next few years. This is because increased passenger numbers will likely mean 100-125mph 8 car units are needed by 2014.
First Transpennine Express launched the first of its Siemens class 185 Desiro dmus into passenger service last month in a blaze of publicity.(News)
Apr 01, 2006; [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Caption: FIRST Transpennine Express launched the first of its Siemens class 185 Desiro dmus into passenger...
Heaven on Earth; in Association with Transpennine Express Travel Jade Wright Relaxes in the Caribbean Paradise of Aruba
Dec 02, 2008; Byline: Jade Wright AH, Aruba! Fabled isle of sparkling blue sea and brilliant sunshine, of soft breezes and moonkissed...