Arriva Rail was awarded the Northern franchise covering the majority of local services while FirstGroup will continue to run Transpennine Express services connecting Yorkshire to the North-West and Newcastle.

The new companies will take over the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises in April 2016. Here is what they are promising:

Arriva Rail North - Northern franchise

  • Phasing out of Pacer trains
  • More than 2,000 extra services a week
  • Space for more than 14,000 extra passengers into Leeds and Sheffield during the morning rush hour
  • More services connecting Bradford to Manchester and Leeds, and new direct links from Bradford to Wakefield, Sheffield, Nottingham, Liverpool and Manchester Airport
  • Extra services between Harrogate and Leeds; Halifax and Manchester, and Leeds to Lancaster via Skipton
  • Direct links from Bridlington and Beverley to Leeds
  • Extra staff at more than 30 stations

FirstGroup - TransPennine Express

  • 4,000 more seats on Leeds and Sheffield services during the morning rush hour
  • Longer, brand new trains on services between Scarborough, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool
  • Extra services between Leeds and Hull, including at weekends
  • More services from Newcastle to York, Leeds and Manchester
  • £1.4 million investment in Hull station

Railfuture had worked with northern Rail User Groups including Friends of the Settle and Carlisle Line, Lancaster and Skipton Rail User Group, Huddersfield Penistone Sheffield Rail Users Association to brief all the bidders for the Northern and TPE franchises on the benefits that passengers needed from rail services in the North of England.

Today’s announcement was welcomed by all the branches of Railfuture in the North of England as very good news for northern rail users after enduring eleven years of a no growth franchise which actually saw passenger numbers rise by nearly 50%.

While we look to the future we must also recognise that over the last 11 years Serco and Abellio have worked extremely hard to turn a steady state franchise into a railway that defied expectations by attracting 40 million more customer journeys, creating 1,000 new jobs and collectively investing over £130 million to improve services and facilities.

Railfuture response to DfT consultation on the future of the Northern and TPE franchises

Railfuture Northern Powerhouse campaign