New franchise agreements were announced yesterday for the railways in the North of England and Scotland. The new franchises, which will run from April next year, will result in more than 500 new carriages and the removal of the old pacer trains, creating room for over 40,000 passengers at the busiest times.
The Northern Franchise has been awarded to Arriva Rail North and the Transpennine Express franchise will go to First TransPennine Express. The agreement will take the franchise out of subsidy for the first time with First paying the government around £400 million over the lifetime of the seven year franchise.
Specific improvements locally include longer and more frequent services into Manchester and Liverpool during the morning rush hour and newer longer trains serving Bolton. Right across the network there will be more trains, newer trains and free Wi-Fi internet access will be rolled out on trains and at stations.