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Business & Economy

North East set to benefit from new £500 million TransPennine Express fleet

TransPennine Express has unveiled three new fleets of cutting-edge trains, which the company claims will soon be the “most advanced anywhere on the UK network”.

Built by Hitachi and CAF, the new 44-train fleet will operate on routes between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh, and represents £500 million worth of investment by the rail firm.

The new fleet will provide almost double the number of seats provided on previous trains to help ease overcrowding at peak times, with some of the new models offering as many as 161 extra seats per service.

The cutting-edge new fleet also boasts a range of mod-cons, including high quality seating, more luggage space, plug sockets and USB points at every seat, free on-board Wi-Fi in both standard and first class, and the entertainment system Exstream, featuring TV shows, news and films.

There are three different models in the new fleets. Nova 1 will serve Liverpool to Newcastle and Edinburgh to Manchester Airport and Newcastle, Nova 2 will travel between Manchester and Liverpool to Glasgow and Edinburgh via Preston, and Nova 3 will run between Liverpool, Manchester Airport, Scarborough and Middlesbrough.

A start date for a new direct service from Liverpool to Glasgow is also to be announced by the firm over the coming weeks.

The new trains were unveiled at an event at Liverpool Lime Street station last Friday, attended by stakeholders and business representatives from across the region.

Managing director of TransPennine Express, Leo Goodwin, said: “Our vision for Nova was to represent the brightest future for rail in the north and we are so pleased to today make this vision a reality for customers, colleagues and businesses who make the TransPennine Express network such a crucial part of our infrastructure here in Liverpool and across the north.”

TransPennine Express said that the new fleet has been named Nova because it “reflects the positive changes and explosion of energy that will truly transform rail travel for customers”.

Mr Goodwin added: “Our vision at TPE is to take the north further and these new trains offer more seats, improved connectivity and a higher standard of comfort.”

Andrew Barr, CEO of Hitachi Rail Group, said: “The new Nova 1 fleet will nearly double the number of seats available to passengers — up to a whopping 161 extra per train.

“These modern intercity trains — built incorporating bullet train technology — will make journeys across the north smoother and more reliable.”