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TransPennine Express (legally known as First TransPennine Express Limited)[1] is a British train operating company owned by FirstGroup operating the TransPennine Express franchise. It runs regular express regional railway, and intercity services between the major cities of Northern England as well as Scotland.

TransPennine Express
Class 185 at Manchester Piccadilly.jpg
185108 at Manchester Piccadilly on 1 April 2016
Franchise(s) TransPennine Express
1 April 2016 – 31 March 2023
Main route(s) North West England, Yorkshire and Humber, North East England, Scotland
Fleet size 61 units
Stations operated 19
National Rail abbreviation TP
Parent company FirstGroup

The franchise operates all its services to and through Manchester covering three main routes. The service provides rail links for major towns and cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Sheffield, Hull, Leeds, York, Scarborough, Middlesbrough and Newcastle.

TransPennine Express runs trains 24 hours a day, including through New Year's Eve night. Trains run between York, Leeds and Manchester Airport at least every three hours every night of the week.



The TransPennine Express brand was launched in the early 1990s by British Rail's Regional Railways sector.[2] It became part of Regional Railways North East and on 2 March 1997 was privatised with Northern Spirit and its successor, Arriva Trains Northern maintaining the brand.[3]

In 2000, the Strategic Rail Authority announced that it planned to reorganise the North West Regional Railways and Regional Railways North East franchises operated by First North Western and Arriva Trains Northern. A TransPennine Express franchise would be created for the long-distance regional services, the remaining services being operated by a new Northern franchise.[4]

In July 2003, the TransPennine franchise was awarded to a joint venture between FirstGroup and Keolis, and the services operated by Arriva Trains Northern and First North Western were transferred to First TransPennine Express on 1 February 2004.[5] On 11 November 2007, the services from Manchester to Edinburgh and Glasgow via the West Coast Main Line formerly operated by Virgin CrossCountry were transferred to First TransPennine Express.[6]

In August 2014, the Department for Transport announced FirstGroup, Keolis/Go-Ahead and Stagecoach had been shortlisted to bid for the next franchise.[7] In December 2015, FirstGroup was awarded the franchise with TransPennine Express taking over on 1 April 2016. The franchise will run until 31 March 2023 with an option to extend for two years.[8][9][10]

As part of a recasting of the franchise map by the Department for Transport, services from Manchester Airport to Blackpool North, Manchester Airport to Barrow in Furness and Oxenholme to Windermere were transferred to the Northern franchise on 1 April 2016.[11]


The TransPennine Express routes are subdivided into three sections:

Details of each route, including maps and timetables, are on the TransPennine Express official website (see External links, below). As of May 2018, the following services run regularly, Mondays to Saturdays (Sunday service is similar except where noted), with frequencies in trains per hour (tph):

North TransPennine
Route tph Calling at
Liverpool Lime Street to Newcastle 1 Newton-le-Willows, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Leeds, York, Northallerton, Darlington, Durham, Chester-le-Street (1tp2h)
Liverpool Lime Street to Scarborough 1 Lea Green, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Leeds, York, Malton, Seamer
Manchester Airport to Middlesbrough 1 Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds, York, Thirsk, Northallerton, Yarm, Thornaby
Manchester Airport to Newcastle 1 Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Leeds, York, Darlington (1tp2h), Durham
Manchester Piccadilly to Hull 1 Stalybridge, Mossley, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Batley, Leeds, Garforth , Selby, Brough
Manchester Piccadilly to Leeds 1 Stalybridge, Greenfield, Marsden, Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield, Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury, Batley, Morley, Cottingley (irregular)
South TransPennine
Route tph Calling at
Manchester Airport to Cleethorpes 1 Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport, Sheffield, Meadowhall, Doncaster, Scunthorpe, Barnetby, Habrough (1tp2h), Grimsby Town
Trains reverse at Manchester Piccadilly.
TransPennine North West
Route tph Calling at
Manchester Airport to Edinburgh Waverley / Glasgow Central 1 Manchester Piccadilly, Preston, Lancaster, Oxenholme Lake District (irregular), Penrith (irregular), Carlisle, Lockerbie (irregular)
1 train per 2 hours to Edinburgh Waverley calling at Haymarket
1 train per 2 hours to Glasgow Central calling at Motherwell
Oxenholme Lake District, Penrith and Lockerbie are generally served hourly but there are two-hour gaps between some services.
South TransPennine
3:02 Cleethorpes
2:49 Grimsby Town
2:27 Barnetby
2:12 Scunthorpe
Thorne South
Hatfield and Stainforth
Kirk Sandall
1:45 Doncaster
Rotherham Central
1:21 Meadowhall  
1:11 Sheffield  
0:30 Stockport
0:14 Manchester Piccadilly  
Mauldeth Road
East Didsbury  
Heald Green
0:00 Manchester Airport    
Times shown are best times
from Manchester Airport.
TransPennine North West & Scotland
Edinburgh Waverley
(  St Andrew Square)
3:20 Haymarket  
Glasgow Central
(  St Enoch)
3:15 Motherwell
3:06 Carstairs
2:27 Lockerbie
2:06 Carlisle
1:51 Penrith
1:28 Oxenholme Lake District
1:14 Lancaster
0:58 Preston
0:43 Wigan North Western
0:19 Manchester Oxford Road
0:16 Manchester Piccadilly  
0:08 East Didsbury  
0:05 Gatley
0:04 Heald Green
0:00 Manchester Airport    

Times shown are best times
from Manchester Airport.

Future servicesEdit

A 2tph service from Manchester-Newcastle are being phased in between December 2016 and December 2017, made up of the existing service from Liverpool and a reinstated service from Manchester Airport. Trains from Liverpool-Newcastle will extend to Edinburgh via the East Coast Main Line, giving 2tph from Leeds-Edinburgh together with an hourly CrossCountry service. Trains operating the Liverpool-Scarborough service will be rerouted via Manchester Victoria and Newton-le-Willows to provide a 30 minute fast from Liverpool-Manchester. It's also planned to operate a 6tph frequency from Manchester-Leeds, up from 5 today.[12]

Direct Liverpool to Glasgow services via the West Coast Main Line will be reintroduced from December 2018, and the number of services from Manchester Airport to Scotland will increase by 2019.[12]

Rolling stockEdit

TransPennine Express inherited a fleet of 51 three-car Class 185 Desiros, 10 four-car electric Class 350 Desiros, and four two-car Class 170 Turbostars from First TransPennine Express, the last remnants of First TPE's once nine strong fleet of these units. After 8 July 2016, the four remaining Class 170s left for Chiltern Railways to be converted to Class 168s. Once new rolling stock is delivered, 22 of the Class 185 units will be returned to Eversholt Rail Group with 29 units (87 vehicles) retained,[13] while all of the Class 350 EMUs will be replaced when the Class 397 enters service in 2019.[14] The 350 EMUs will be cascaded to West Midlands Trains when the Class 397 enters service.

On 30 December 2017, TransPennine Express fulfilled a compulsory franchise commitment to run a locomotive-hauled service on its network before the end of 2017. The set worked a return service between Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly hauled by Direct Rail Services locomotives no. 68030 and 68003. The set which was part of the former Virgin Trains and Greater Anglia 'Pretendolino' rake has been under overhaul at Laira Depot undertaken by sister company Great Western Railway. Five 'pretendolino' carriages and an ex-Greater Anglia carriage remain at Laira Depot awaiting use with TransPennine Express.[citation needed]

Current fleetEdit

Class Image Type Top speed Number Carriages Routes operated Built
 mph   km/h 
Locomotive hauled stock
68 Loco 100 160 2 North TransPennine services 2016–2017
Mark 3   Coach 125 200 4 1975–1982
Diesel multiple units
185 Desiro   DMU 100 160 51 3 All TransPennine routes
4 are loaned to Northern on a daily basis[15][16]
Electric multiple units
350/4 Desiro   EMU 110 175 10 4 Manchester AirportEdinburgh/Glasgow 2013–2014

Future fleetEdit

A total of 44 brand new five-car trains will be delivered to TransPennine Express.[8]

Class Brand Image Type Top speed Number Carriages Routes operated Built In service
 mph   km/h 
Locomotive hauled stock
68 Nova 3 Loco 100[17] 160 14[18] North TransPennine services 2016–17 2018–19[19]
Mark 5A[20] Coach 125 200 52[21][not in citation given] 2017–
DTSO 14[22]
Electric multiple units
397 Civity[23] Nova 2   EMU 125 200 12 5
  • Manchester Airport to Glasgow Central/Edinburgh Waverley
  • Liverpool Lime Street to Glasgow Central/Edinburgh Waverley
2017– 2018–19[19]
Bi-mode multiple units
802/2 AT300
Nova 1   BMMU 125 200 19 5 North TransPennine services 2017– 2019[24]

Past fleetEdit

Former units operated by TransPennine Express include:

Class Image Type Top speed Number Carriages Notes Built Left Fleet
 mph   km/h 
170/3 Turbostar   DMU 100 160 4 2 Transferred to Chiltern Railways 2000 2016

Managed stationsEdit

TransPennine Express services run over a large area of northern England and southern Scotland. Many of the largest stations they serve are managed by other train operating companies or Network Rail.

TransPennine Express manages the following 19 stations:[11][27]

Some stations from the former First TransPennine Express franchise were transferred to Northern. These include Arnside, Barrow-in-Furness, Birchwood, Burneside, Carnforth, Grange-over-Sands, Kendal, Staveley, Ulverston, Warrington Central and Windermere.[11]


Siemens maintains the Class 185 and 350 fleets at Ardwick depot in Manchester with a smaller facility in York. Scottish stabling points for both stock include Corkerhill C.S.M.D. (Glasgow) and Craigentinny T.&R.S.M.D. (Edinburgh). Hitachi will maintain the AT300 fleet at Doncaster Carr and Craigentinny.[28] The new EMUs and loco-hauled sets will be maintained by Alstom, on behalf of TransPennine Express, at Longsight (Manchester), Edge Hill (Liverpool) and Polmadie (Glasgow).[19]

TransPennine Express have depots for its train crews at Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Airport (Guards), Leeds, York, Newcastle, Scarborough, Hull, Cleethorpes, Sheffield, Preston and Glasgow Central.


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 9111801 First TransPennine Express Limited
  2. ^ "Collections Online - Objects". 
  3. ^ "Northern Spirit is brand new name for Regional Railways North East" Rail issue 332 3 June 1998 page 7
  4. ^ The Trans-Pennine Express rail franchise Archived 20 October 2004 at the Wayback Machine.. Yorkshire & The Humber Transport Activist's Roundtable Briefing Note October 2001.
  5. ^ "SRA Announce Preferred Bidder For TransPennine Express Franchise" (PDF) (Press release). Strategic Rail Authority. 28 July 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 August 2009. 
  6. ^ New Cross Country Franchise Consultation Document Department for Transport June 2006
  7. ^ Shortlist for Northern and TransPennine operators revealed Department for Transport 19 August 2014
  8. ^ a b "FirstGroup awarded TransPennine Express franchise". Rail Technology Magazine. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  9. ^ "Arriva and First chosen for Northern and TransPennine franchises". International Railway Journal. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  10. ^ "FirstGroup plc welcomes award of TransPennine Express rail franchise". 9 December 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2016. 
  11. ^ a b c Stakeholder Briefing Document and Consultation Response Department for Transport 27 February 2015
  12. ^ a b "New TransPennine Express franchise launches - First TransPennine Express". First TransPennine Express Trains. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  13. ^ "TPE New franchise presentation for TfGM". 
  14. ^ Briginshaw, David (23 May 2016). "CAF to supply trains to TransPennine Express". International Rail Journal. Retrieved 16 February 2016. 
  15. ^ TransPennine Express invitation to tender
  16. ^ Northern Rail 31st SA - Remapped services Track Access Rights
  17. ^ "Class 68 Specification". Rail Magazine. October 2014. 
  18. ^ New-build DRS Class 68s to operate TPE’s Mk 5 rakes - Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  19. ^ a b c "More new trains for the North and Scotland". First Transpennine Express. 20 May 2016. 
  20. ^ Clinnick, Richard (8 June 2016). "TPE orders new EMUs and carriages in £230m deal". Rail. Bauer Media (802): 8–9. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "First view of TransPennine livery on a Class 68 loco". The Railway Magazine. The Railway Magazine. Retrieved 29 January 2018. 
  23. ^ Haigh, Philip. "Is it time for the railway to standardise on fewer types of trains, to cut costs?". Rail Magazine. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  24. ^ a b News (31 March 2016). "New bi-mode trains for TransPennine Express". 
  25. ^ Hitachi scoops 95-car TPE train deal Rail 1 April 2016
  26. ^ Hitachi awarded Transpennine Express multiple unit contract
  27. ^ "Safe and sound train stations". First Transpennine Express. October 2011. 
  28. ^ Hitachi awarded TransPennine Express multiple unit contract Railway Gazette International 31 March 2016

External linksEdit

Preceded by
First TransPennine Express
TransPennine Express franchise
(First and Keolis joint venture)
Operator of TransPennine Express franchise
2016 - 2023
Succeeded by