TransPennine Trains Ltd, trading as TransPennine Express,[1] is a train operator in the United Kingdom that has operated the TransPennine Express franchise area services since 28 May 2023. It runs regional and inter-city rail services between the major cities and towns of Northern England and Scotland. The company, which is government-owned, was established following poor performance by the previous operator, also called TransPennine Express. It has carried over the rolling stock, passenger services, and branding.

TransPennine Express
Overview
Franchise(s)TransPennine Express
28 May 2023 – present
Main route(s)
Parent companyDfT OLR Holdings
Reporting markTP
PredecessorTransPennine Express (2016–2023)
Other
Websitewww.tpexpress.co.uk Edit this at Wikidata

History edit

During the early 2020s, the incumbent operator of the TransPennine Express franchise, FirstGroup's TransPennine Express, suffered severe disruption of its services, which was largely attributable to events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2022–2023 United Kingdom railway strikes.[2][3] On 11 May 2023, following numerous cancellations and service disruptions, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that First Group's contract to operate the franchise would not be renewed and, as a result, TPE would cease operations on 28 May 2023.[4][5] In its place, operations were taken over by operator of last resort (OLR) TransPennine Trains.[6][7]

The performance of TransPennine Trains has been criticised, being amongst the least punctual train operators during 2023 and having a cancellation rate that exceeded one in eight trains during summer 2023.[8] In October 2023, the operator announced that it would be temporarily cutting services from 320 services per day to 300, reducing off-peak trains between the cities of Leeds and Manchester, with the goal of improving both punctuality and reliability. TransPennine Trains' managing director, Chris Jackson, stated that this move allowed for greater driver training and helped to stabilise the timetable, and that the operator would reintroduce the full timetable by December 2024 at the latest.[9][10] Shortly thereafter, the company released a new timetable comparison tool to aid customers in interpreting the service levels and changes enacted.[11]

During early December 2023, TransPennine Trains' services were disrupted by industrial action as the train drivers belonging to the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) trade union implemented a ban on overtime and a series of rolling strikes.[12] That same month, the operator reinstated direct train services between Castleford and York for the first time in 50 years; this service change was facilitated by recent infrastructure improvement work undertaken as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU).[13][14]

Services edit

TransPennine Trains took over all services operated by its predecessor, TransPennine Express, on 28 May 2023.[15][16]

The TransPennine Express routes are subdivided into three operations:

As of December 2023, the following services operate off-peak, seven days a week:[18]

Route Freq. Calling at
North Route
Liverpool Lime Street to Newcastle 1tph
Manchester Piccadilly to Hull 1tph
Manchester Airport to Saltburn 1tph
York to Scarborough[19] 1tph
Manchester Piccadilly to Huddersfield 1tph
Newcastle to Edinburgh Waverley 7tpd
South Route
Liverpool Lime Street to Cleethorpes 1tph
Anglo-Scottish Route
Manchester Airport to Glasgow Central 1tp2h
Manchester Airport to Edinburgh Waverley 1tp2h
Liverpool Lime Street to Glasgow Central 2tpd
  1. ^ a b Served to pick up only northbound and set down only southbound
  2. ^ Served to pick up only southbound and set down only northbound

Peak hours edit

Following the December 2023 timetable change the following changes are made to services during peak hours:

  • Additional hourly services are added between Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds[18] and some Manchester Piccadilly to Huddersfield services are extended to Leeds. These services have varying stopping patterns ranging from stopping at all stations to only stopping at Huddersfield. These services allow for more express services between Manchester and Leeds as well as ensuring 2tph to stations between Manchester and Leeds during peak times

Routes edit

North Route
 
3:53
Edinburgh Waverley (  St Andrew Sq.)
 
3:38
East Linton
 
3:30
Dunbar
 
3:15
Reston
 
3:10
Berwick-upon-Tweed
 
2:50
Alnmouth
 
2:34
Morpeth
 
2:29
Cramlington
 
 
2:14
Newcastle  
 
 
2:07
Chester-le-Street
 
 
2:00
Durham
 
 
1:47
Darlington
 
 
 
2:45
Saltburn
 
 
 
2:35
Redcar Central
 
 
 
2:21
Middlesbrough
 
 
 
2:13
Thornaby
 
 
 
2:02
Yarm
 
 
 
1:37
Northallerton
 
 
 
1:34
Thirsk
 
 
 
2:03
Scarborough
 
 
 
1:53
Seamer
 
 
 
1:36
Malton
 
 
1:12
York
 
 
 
1:54
Hull Paragon
 
 
 
1:36
Brough
 
 
 
1:30
Gilberdyke
 
 
 
1:24
Howden
 
 
 
1:18
Selby
 
 
 
1:09
South Milford
 
 
 
 
1:08
Garforth
 
 
 
 
 
0:48
Leeds
 
 
 
 
1:04
Cottingley
 
 
 
 
1:01
Morley
 
 
 
 
0:47
Batley
 
 
 
 
 
0:40
Dewsbury
 
 
 
 
0:46
Ravensthorpe
 
 
 
 
0:43
Mirfield
 
 
 
 
0:38
Deighton
 
 
 
0:29
Huddersfield
 
 
 
 
0:28
Slaithwaite
 
 
 
 
0:27
Marsden
 
 
 
 
0:19
Greenfield
 
 
 
 
0:17
Mossley
 
 
 
 
 
0:13
Stalybridge
 
 
 
0:00
Manchester Victoria  
 
 
 
 
0:02
Manchester Oxford Road
 
 
 
0:00
Manchester Piccadilly  
 
 
 
0:06
East Didsbury  
 
 
 
0:08
Gatley
 
 
0:14
Manchester Airport    
 
 
0:16
Newton-le-Willows
 
 
0:20
Lea Green
 
0:38
Liverpool Lime Street  
Times shown are best times from
Manchester Piccadilly/Manchester Victoria.

South Route
 
3:02
Cleethorpes
 
2:49
Grimsby Town
 
2:33
Habrough
 
2:27
Barnetby
 
2:12
Scunthorpe
 
2:13
Althorpe
 
2:08
Crowle
 
1:59
Thorne South
 
1:55
Hatfield and Stainforth
 
1:50
Kirk Sandall
 
1:45
Doncaster
 
1:30
Rotherham Central  
 
1:21
Meadowhall  
 
1:11
Sheffield  
 
1:10
Dore and Totley
 
0:56
Stockport
 
0:42
Manchester Piccadilly  
 
0:38
Urmston
 
0:35
Irlam
 
0:33
Birchwood
 
0:24
Warrington Central
 
0:23
Warrington West
 
0:10
Liverpool South Parkway  
 
0:00
Liverpool Lime Street  
Times shown are best times from
Liverpool Lime Street.

Anglo-Scottish Route
 
3:19
Edinburgh Waverley (  St Andrew Sq.)
 
3:14
Haymarket  
 
 
 
3:29
Glasgow Central (  St Enoch)
 
 
 
3:13
Motherwell
 
 
 
3:06
Carstairs
 
 
 
 
 
2:15
Lockerbie
 
 
1:55
Carlisle
 
 
1:46
Penrith
 
 
1:23
Oxenholme Lake District
 
 
1:09
Lancaster
 
 
0:51
Preston
 
 
0:31
Wigan North Western
 
 
0:15
St Helens Central
 
 
0:00
Liverpool Lime Street  
 
0:22
Bolton
 
0:18
Manchester Oxford Road
 
0:14
Manchester Piccadilly  
 
0:00
Manchester Airport    
Times shown are best times from
Liverpool Lime Street/Manchester Airport.

Rolling stock edit

Upon commencing operations, TransPennine Express inherited the fleet of the previous franchisee. Various minor refurbishment programmes were quickly enacted. The oldest trains in the fleet, the Class 185 multiple-units, were subject to an interior deep clean, which included the replacement of all carpets. Furthermore, all of the seats were recovered and improvements to the onboard toilet facilities were made.[21] By late 2023, TransPennine Express had also formulated its new trains programme, a longer-term initiative in which the operator stated its intention to introduce new technologies to support decarbonisation, the acceleration of efforts to cascade and eventually entirely remove diesel trains from its fleet, and enact a new long-term depot and maintenance strategy.[22]

During September 2023, following a radical review by the DfT, it was announced that TransPennine Express's Nova 3 train sets, comprising Class 68 diesel locomotives hauling rakes of Mark 5A carriages, had been scheduled for withdrawal.[23] This rolling stock was relatively new, yet had been beset by multiple challenges including technical issues, driver training, a downturn in passengers due to Covid-19, and noise complaints from neighbours of the Scarborough maintenance facility, which resulted in a persistantly low utilisation rate being achieved. The DfT believes that the withdrawal of the Nova 3 sets can be adequately offset by maximising the utilisation of other trains, such as 19 Class 802 bi-mode train sets and the Class 185 DMUs.[23] Chris Jackson, managing director of TransPennine Express, has advocated for the need to simplify the operator's fleet, resource planning, and overall business strategy.[24]

Current fleet edit

Family Class Image Type Top speed Number Carriages Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Diesel multiple units
Siemens Desiro 185   DHMU 100 160 51 3 North Route
  • Manchester Airport – Saltburn
  • Manchester Piccadilly – York
  • Manchester Piccadilly – Huddersfield
  • Manchester Piccadilly – Leeds
  • Manchester Piccadilly, Victoria or Liverpool – Hull
  • York – Scarborough

South Route

  • Liverpool Lime Street – Cleethorpes
  • Manchester Airport – Cleethorpes
2005–06
Bi-mode multiple units
Hitachi AT300 802 Nova 1   BMU 125[25] 200[25] 19 5 North Route
  • Liverpool Lime Street – Newcastle
  • Newcastle – Edinburgh
  • York – Scarborough

Anglo-Scottish Route

  • Manchester Airport – Edinburgh via Preston
2017–19
Electric multiple units
CAF Civity 397 Nova 2   EMU 125 200 12 5 Anglo-Scottish Route
  • Manchester Airport, Liverpool Lime Street – Glasgow, Edinburgh
2017–19[26]

Past fleet edit

Locomotive hauled stock
Family Class Image Type Top Speed Number Carriages Routes Operated Built Withdrawn
mph km/h
Stadler UKLight 68   Diesel locomotive 100[27] 160 14[28] 5 North Route

(Until 2023)

  • Manchester Piccadilly – Scarborough
  • York – Scarborough

(Until July 2023)

  • Liverpool Lime Street – Cleethorpes
2016–17 2023[29]
CAF Mark 5A Nova 3   Coach 125 200 52 2017–18
  Driving Trailer 14[30]

References edit

  1. ^ "TransPennine Express transfers to government operator". TransPennine Express. Retrieved 30 May 2023.
  2. ^ "Rail strike: RMT union votes for national action". BBC News. 24 May 2022. Archived from the original on 24 May 2022. Retrieved 23 December 2023.
  3. ^ "National Rail Contract TransPennine Express" (PDF). Department for Transport. 19 May 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 March 2023. Retrieved 23 December 2023.
  4. ^ "TransPennine Express loses contract over poor service". BBC News. 11 May 2023. Archived from the original on 11 May 2023. Retrieved 23 December 2023.
  5. ^ Topham, Gwyn (11 May 2023). "TransPennine Express nationalised for catalogue of failings and poor service". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 11 May 2023. Retrieved 23 December 2023.
  6. ^ "TRANSPENNINE EXPRESS TO TRANSFER TO GOVERNMENT OPERATOR". TransPennine Express. 11 May 2023. Archived from the original on 11 May 2023. Retrieved 23 December 2023.
  7. ^ "Transpennine Express to be brought into operator of last resort". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 11 May 2023. Retrieved 24 December 2023.
  8. ^ Topham, Gwyn (7 December 2023). "TransPennine Express cancelled more than one in eight trains over summer". The Guardian.
  9. ^ "TransPennine Express announces service cuts to boost punctuality". BBC News. 19 October 2023.
  10. ^ Calder, Simon (10 December 2023). "Manchester trains to Leeds and London cut 'to improve reliability'". The Independent.
  11. ^ White, Chloe (28 November 2023). "TransPennine Express release a new Timetable Comparison Tool to support customers with December's Timetable Change". Rail Advent.
  12. ^ Topham, Gwyn (1 December 2023). "Nine days of rail disruption begins as Aslef industrial action gets under way". The Guardian.
  13. ^ Clarke, Leanne (11 December 2023). "Castleford back on line as TransPennine reinstates links to York after 50 years". Wakefield Express.
  14. ^ "Castleford to York direct trains to run on route again after 50 years". BBC News. 11 December 2023.
  15. ^ "TransPennine Express services to be nationalised from this weekend". York Press. 25 May 2023. Retrieved 28 May 2023.
  16. ^ "TransPennine Express comes under government control". BBC News. 28 May 2023. Retrieved 29 May 2023.
  17. ^ "TransPennine Express Route Map (Geographic)" (PDF). Manchester: TransPennine Express. Retrieved 28 May 2023.
  18. ^ a b c d "Timetables". Manchester: TransPennine Express. Retrieved 16 December 2023.
  19. ^ Doe, Barry (13 December 2023). "All change at midenight for the latest NRT". Rail. No. 998. Peterborough: Bauer. p. 35. ISSN 0953-4563.
  20. ^ Stone, Mike (January 2024). "The new December timetable". Today's Railways. No. 263. Sheffield: Platform 5. p. 35. ISSN 1475-9713.
  21. ^ "TransPennine Express lays out plans to improve services". railuk.com. 19 October 2023.
  22. ^ Wilcock, Rich (19 October 2023). "TransPennine Express releases blueprint for improving service and fleet upgrade". railtechnologymagazine.com.
  23. ^ a b "UK TransPennine Express to withdraw nearly new "Nova 3" train sets". railtech.com. 5 September 2023.
  24. ^ "Fully staffed' TransPennine Express 'needs to become simpler'". Railway Gazette International. 19 July 2023.
  25. ^ a b "Speed limiters for Hitachi fleets". Traction & Stock. The Railway Magazine. Vol. 168, no. 1457. August 2022. p. 92.
  26. ^ "More new trains for the North and Scotland". First Transpennine Express. 20 May 2016. Archived from the original on 26 May 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2023.
  27. ^ "Class 68 Specification". Rail Magazine. October 2014.
  28. ^ "New-build DRS Class 68s to operate TPE's Mk 5 rakes". Retrieved 28 May 2023 – via PressReader.
  29. ^ "TPE says farewell to Class 68s". Rail Magazine. No. 999. 28 December 2023. p. 8.
  30. ^ "First view of TransPennine livery on a Class 68 loco". The Railway Magazine. 28 October 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2023.
Preceded by Operator of
TransPennine Express contract

2023 –
Succeeded by
Incumbent