TransPennine Express

TransPennine Express (TPE), legally First TransPennine Express Limited,[1] is a British train operating company owned by FirstGroup that operates the TransPennine Express franchise. It runs regional and inter-city rail services between the major cities and towns of Northern England and Scotland.

TransPennine Express
TransPennineExpress.svg
802201 and 802218 at Northallerton.jpg
Two Class 802 units passing at Northallerton in June 2020
Overview
Franchise(s)TransPennine Express
1 April 2016 – 31 March 2023
Main route(s)North West England, Yorkshire and the Humber, North East England, Scotland
Fleet size
Stations operated19
Parent companyFirstGroup
Reporting markTP
PredecessorFirst TransPennine Express
Other
Websitewww.tpexpress.co.uk Edit this at Wikidata
System map
TransPennine Express.svg

The franchise operates almost 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. TPE run trains 24 hours a day, including through New Year's Eve night. TPE trains run between York, Leeds and Manchester Airport at least every three hours every night of the week. The franchise operates across the West Coast Main Line, Huddersfield Line, East Coast Main Line and part of the Tees Valley line.

The majority of TPE's rolling stock was procured during the late 2010s under Project Nova. These consist of the Nova 1 (Class 802) BMU trainsets, the Nova 2 Class 397 CAF Civity EMUs, and the Nova 3 Mark 5A fixed-formation carriages paired with Class 68 diesel locomotives.[2] These have replaced older rolling stock, such as the Bombardier Turbostar 170/3s and Siemens Desiro 350/4s, as well as some of their Siemens Desiro 185s, although these are still used on some routes. TPE has facilitated an operational shift towards more inter-city style services, although the commuter market remains important.

HistoryEdit

 
Passenger journeys on the Transpennine franchise from 2010–11 to 2018–19, showing a gradual rise except for a drop in 2016 after some services transferred to Northern.[3]

The TransPennine Express brand was launched in the early 1990s by British Rail's Regional Railways sector.[4] It became part of Regional Railways North East and, on 2 March 1997, was privatised along with the majority of British Rail. Its first private sector operator, Northern Spirit, as well as its successor, Arriva Trains Northern, opted to maintain the brand.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7] On 11 November 2007, the services from Manchester to Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central via the West Coast Main Line formerly operated by Virgin CrossCountry were transferred to First TransPennine Express.[8]

In August 2014, the Department for Transport announced FirstGroup, Keolis/Go-Ahead and Stagecoach had been shortlisted to bid for the next franchise.[9] During December 2015, FirstGroup was awarded the franchise of TransPennine Express. The effective date of the new franchise was 1 April 2016 and will run until 31 March 2023, with an option to extend for two years.[10][11][12] The company remains First TransPennine Express, but has branded the services as TransPennine Express.

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 Lake District to Windermere were transferred to the Northern franchise on 1 April 2016.[13]

TransPennine Express was one of several train operators impacted by the 2022 United Kingdom railway strike, which was the first national rail strike in the UK for three decades.[14] Its workers were amongst those who participated in industrial action due to a dispute over pay and working conditions.[15]

ServicesEdit

The TransPennine Express routes are subdivided into three operations:

As of December 2022, the following services operate off-peak, 7 days a week:[17]

North Route
Route tph Calling at
Liverpool Lime Street to Newcastle 1
Liverpool Lime Street to Hull 1
Manchester Airport to Saltburn 1
Manchester Piccadilly to Newcastle 12
Manchester Piccadilly to Scarborough 12
York to Scarborough 12
Manchester Piccadilly to Huddersfield 1
Huddersfield to Leeds 1
Newcastle to Edinburgh Waverley 5tpd
South Route
Route tph Calling at
Liverpool Lime Street to Cleethorpes 1
Anglo-Scottish Route
Route tph Calling at
Manchester Airport to Glasgow Central 12
Manchester Airport to Edinburgh Waverley 12
Liverpool Lime Street to Glasgow Central 2tpd St Helens Central, Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster Oxenholme Lake District, Carlisle, Lockerbie, Motherwell (1tpd)
  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
TransPennine Express
North Route
 
3:53
Edinburgh Waverley (  St Andrew Sq.)
 
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.
TransPennine Express
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.
TransPennine Express
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 stockEdit

When TransPennine Express began operation, it inherited a fleet of four Class 170 and 51 Class 185 DMUs as well as ten Class 350/4 EMUs from First TransPennine Express. The Class 170s were transferred to Chiltern Railways, where they were converted to Class 168s.[18] Originally it was planned after all the new trains in the Nova fleet entered service, 22 of the 51 Class 185 DMUs would be returned to Eversholt Rail Group.[19] However these have remained with the franchise and to allow services to be strengthened and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.[20] Further cascades of rolling stock occurred over time; shortly following the introduction of the Class 397 sets during 2020, all ten of the Class 350 EMUs were transferred to West Midlands Trains.[21]

Project NovaEdit

Upon its instatement, TransPennine Express (TPE) services were particularly heavily trafficked; prior to 2018, the operator reportedly operated the busiest trains in the country, and it was common for some passengers to be unable to be seated during rush hour.[2] Reportedly, the franchise also aimed to reorientation its operations towards inter-city services over its inter-urban routes, although it shall continue to transport large numbers of commuters regardless. As a means of addressing these factors, TPE launched Project Nova, under which the vast majority of their existing rolling stock would be replaced by new-build trainsets with greater capacity. During 2016, TPE signed contracts valued at £500 million with Spanish rolling stock manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) to produce the majority of its Nova rolling stock.[21][2] The Nova fleet is divided into three distinct categories; the Nova 1 being (Class 802) BMU sets derived from the Hitachi A-train family, the Nova 2 trainsets being CAF-built Class 397 Civity EMUs, and the Nova 3 sets consisting of locomotive-hauled CAF-built Mark 5A coaches.[2]

The Nova 1 fleet had originally been ordered by TPE's predecessor as part of plans to bolster route capacity by 80%; having contracted with Hitachi Rail Europe for the latter to supply 19 five-car bi-mode trainsets.[2] According to Robin Davis, TPE's Head of New Trains, a major rationale behind the Nova 1 fleet was its bi-mode capability, noting that electrification ambitions often had much uncertainty, while a bi-mode fleet eliminated the operational risk to such uncertainty. Davis also noted that, in the event of largescale electrification being funded and implemented, the Class 802s could have some of their engines removed to reduce roughly 15% of their weight and thus raise their efficiency.[2] Furthermore, Leo Goodwin, TPE's managing director, has observed that while the Class 802s will have an initial maximum speed of 125 mph, they have the capability of being modified for operating at 140 mph if infrastructure upgrades were to permit such speeds at a future date.[2]

The Nova 2 trainsets were CAF-built Class 397 EMUs, the design being a member of the preexisting Civity range.[2] Davis observed the Class 397 procurement to be a natural fit in light of TPE's desire to rapidly increase capacity and CAF's reputation for speedily producing limited batches of trains. While the Class 397 is capable of attaining a maximum speed of 125 mph, it shall be limited to a service speed of 100 mph.[2]

The Nova 3 trainsets use Mark 5A carriages, locomotive-hauled and designed for its inter-city routes.[2] The choice to procure carriages was unusual for the UK market; it is reportedly the first procurement of such rolling stock since the Mark 4 sets for the InterCity 225 during the late 1980s. Davis claims that the expense of constructing DMUs suitable for inter-city services was prohibitive in comparison, and notes that it is to be operated as a fixed-formation push-pull train, not relying on run-arounds as historically performed by locomotive-hauled sets.[2] From the onset, it was planned for these to be hauled by a small fleet of Class 68 locomotives, requiring minor control-oriented modifications by Stadler to do so. According to franchise documents filed with the Department for Transport (DfT), considerations have been made to alternatively hauling the Nova 3 carriages with Class 88 bi-mode locomotives, which are closely related to the Class 68; however, this would be dependent on relatively ambitious, and thus far unfunded, suggestions for widespread electrification in the region being fulfilled.[2]

On 24 August 2019, the first new trains of the Nova fleet entered revenue service; these were the Nova 3 sets, comprising a Class 68 locomotive and a rake of Mark 5A coaches.[22] On 28 September 2019, the Nova 1 (Class 802) sets followed,[23] while operations of the Nova 2 trainsets (Class 397) commenced on 30 November 2019.[24] TPE officially launched the Nova fleet on 22 November at Liverpool Lime Street station.[25]

Current fleetEdit

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, South Route 2005–2006
Bi-mode multiple units
Hitachi AT300 802/2 Nova 1   BMU 124 200[26] 19 5
  • Liverpool Lime Street – Newcastle
  • Manchester Airport – Newcastle
  • Edinburgh-Newcastle
  • Edinburgh-Manchester Airport
2017–2019
 
Electric multiple units
CAF Civity 397 Nova 2   EMU 125 200 12 5 Anglo-Scottish Route 2017–2019[27]
 
Locomotive hauled stock
Stadler UKLight Class 68 UKLight   Diesel locomotive 100[28] 160 14[29] 5
  • Liverpool Lime Street – Scarborough via Manchester Victoria
  • Manchester Airport – Redcar Central via Manchester Victoria
2016–2017
CAF Mark 5A Nova 3   Coach 125 200 52 2017–2018
  Driving Trailer 14[30]
 

Past fleetEdit

Former units operated by TransPennine Express include:

Family Class Image Type  mph   km/h  Number Carriages Routes operated Built Left fleet
Bombardier Turbostar 170/3   DMU 100 160 4[31] 2 Manchester Piccadilly / Airport-Cleethorpes / Hull / York 2000 2016
Siemens Desiro 350/4   EMU 110 177 10 4 Anglo-Scottish Route 2013–2014 2019–2020

Future fleetEdit

In 2022, FirstGroup released a provision seeking expressions of interest for suppliers to build a new fleet of at least 15 bi-mode locomotives. These will replace the TPE Class 68s and the GWR Class 57s.[32]

Managed stationsEdit

 
An example of TransPennine Express signage at Scarborough

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

TransPennine Express manages the following 19 stations:[13][33]

Some stations from the former franchise operator First TransPennine Express were transferred to Northern. These include Arnside, Barrow-in-Furness, Birchwood, Burneside, Carnforth, Grange-over-Sands, Kendal, Staveley, Ulverston, Warrington Central and Windermere.[13]

Depots and servicingEdit

Siemens maintains the Class 185 fleet at Ardwick depot in Manchester with a smaller facility in York. Scottish stabling points for both stock include Polmadie TRSMD (Glasgow) and Craigentinny T.&R.S.M.D. (Edinburgh). Hitachi maintains the Class 802 fleet at Doncaster Carr and Craigentinny.[34] 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).[27] During 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TPE invested £1.7 million into highly stringent rolling stock cleaning practices; these reportedly represented a 70% upsurge on pre-COVID-19 hygiene practices.[35]

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

CriticismEdit

The TransPennine Express service is often criticised. A satirical article in 2022 called it the "ironically named TransPennine Express. You'd hate to take the non-Express service. It might be quicker to walk."[36]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "FIRST TRANSPENNINE EXPRESS LIMITED – Overview (free company information from Companies House)". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Clinnick, Richard (26 August 2019). "TPE's new trains". railmagazine.com.
  3. ^ "Passenger journeys by train operating company – Table 12.12 | ORR Data Portal".
  4. ^ "Collections Online – Objects". collectionsonline.nmsi.ac.uk.
  5. ^ "Northern Spirit is brand new name for Regional Railways North East". Rail. No. 332. 3 June 1998. p. 7.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ "New Cross Country Franchise Consultation Document" (PDF). Department for Transport. June 2006.
  9. ^ "Shortlist for Northern and TransPennine operators revealed". Department for Transport. 19 August 2014.
  10. ^ "FirstGroup awarded TransPennine Express franchise". Rail Technology Magazine. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Arriva and First chosen for Northern and TransPennine franchises". International Railway Journal. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  12. ^ "FirstGroup plc welcomes award of TransPennine Express rail franchise". firstgroupplc.com. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  13. ^ a b c "Stakeholder Briefing Document and Consultation Response" (PDF). Department for Transport. 27 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Rail strike: RMT union votes for national action". BBC News. 24 May 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  15. ^ "The dates of the train, Tube and bus strikes this week, and how services will be affected". inews.co.uk. 20 June 2022. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  16. ^ "TransPennine Express Route Map (Geographic)" (PDF). Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  17. ^ "Timetables". www.tpexpress.co.uk. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  18. ^ 170s bow out with TPE Today's Railways UK issue issue 177 September 2016 page 68
  19. ^ "TfGMC – Item 05b TPE – New Franchise presentation". www.transportforgreatermanchestercommittee.gov.uk.
  20. ^ 68s to Cleethorpes from May Modern Railways issue 880 January 2022 page 21
  21. ^ a b Briginshaw, David (23 May 2016). "CAF to supply trains to TransPennine Express". International Rail Journal. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  22. ^ "TPE Nova 3 enters service | Modern Railways". Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  23. ^ "First Nova 1 trainset enters revenue service with TPE". Railway Gazette International. 3 September 2019. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  24. ^ "Nova 2 enters service at last". Railway Gazette International. 2 December 2019. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  25. ^ "TransPennine Express launches new £500m fleet". 22 November 2019. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  26. ^ "Speed limiters for Hitachi fleets". Traction & Stock. The Railway Magazine. Vol. 168, no. 1457. August 2022. p. 92.
  27. ^ a b "More new trains for the North and Scotland". First Transpennine Express. 20 May 2016.
  28. ^ "Class 68 Specification". Rail Magazine. October 2014.
  29. ^ New-build DRS Class 68s to operate TPE's Mk 5 rakes – PressReader.com. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  30. ^ "First view of TransPennine livery on a Class 68 loco". The Railway Magazine. The Railway Magazine. 28 October 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  31. ^ DfT (22 December 2015). "TPE Franchise Agreement" (PDF). Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  32. ^ "Suppliers sought for new Bi-Mode locomotives for TransPennine Express and Great Western Railway". RailAdvent. 21 January 2022.
  33. ^ "Safe and sound train stations". First Transpennine Express. October 2011.
  34. ^ "Hitachi awarded TransPennine Express multiple unit contract". Railway Gazette International. 31 March 2016.
  35. ^ Cowen, Ailsa (15 October 2020). "£1.7m invested by TransPennine Express into further cleaning measures". railtechnologymagazine.com.
  36. ^ Crace, John (1 December 2022). "Urgent question on railways chaos sends the Tories running for the hills". The Guardian.

External linksEdit

Preceded by Operator of TransPennine Express franchise
2016–2023
Succeeded by
incumbent