Extra time for region’s trains to turn around
UNDER-FIRE RAIL operator TransPennine Express is to build an extra 30 minutes “turnaround” time into its services to help them run on time after its passengers were forced to endure months of delays and disruption.
The firm will give its trains 40 minutes, rather than 10, when they get to the end of the line to build more slack into the schedule and mean they can leave on time even if they arrive late.
Operations director Paul Watson admitted the operator had not left enough time for this to happen prior this summer, exacerbating existing delays on the line and having a knock-on effect for other trains. Two extra trains will be introduced, bringing TransPennine’s total to 63, to make up for extra time needed to turn them around.
The change is one of a number of measures to be introduced by the rail industry in December to bring stability to the rail network following the chaos caused by the disastrous introduction of the May 20 timetable. According to a report seen by
other proposals include the operator’s ‘stopping service’ between Manchester and Leeds being split into two, spacing out the stops and putting more space between the trains. It reveals that the proportion of trains running on time over the course of a week for Northern had recovered to around 85 per cent by September 9, a similar performance to five months earlier. TransPennine, however, saw its performance for September still well below what it was in April.
The rail industry’s plans were heavily criticised at a meeting of Transport for the North, where the improvements since May were described as “not good enough”. Greater Manchester metro mayor Andy Burnham told bosses from Network Rail, TransPennine and Northern that their presentation was “around the question ‘why did the timetable not work?’” He said: “Why is it still not working now, that is the key question. I will keep asking that key question until I have that assurance and I don’t feel I have an assurance yet.”
Leo Goodwin, managing director at TransPennine, said there would be “real change in December”. THE FIRST of a fleet of £500m new trains being introduced in the North has completed its trial run.
Northern is aiming to roll out 98 state-of-the-art trains onto its services by the end of the year as part of a major rolling stock upgrade.
And yesterday, one of the new diesel trains made its debut trial run on the UK network, travelling from Liverpool on the St Helen’s branch and running on the West Coast Mainline between Warrington and Carnforth.
Ben Ackroyd, Northern’s engineering director, said: “The first of the new trains arrived in the UK in June and we’ve received a further three since then. It’s very rewarding to see our new trains programme reach such an important milestone. The start of UK track testing really brings the project to life after months of design and construction work.”
The trains were built by CAF and are now owned by Eversholt Rail.
They are currently going through their first round of dynamic testing on the UK rail network.
It will continue into the autumn as Northern gets ready to launch the first new train into service by the end of the year.
They will feature free wifi for passengers, air conditioning, at-seat power and new seat reservation systems.
The first of Northern’s new fleet makes its debut run on the track, on the West Coast Mainline from Warrington to Carnforth.