Latest Rail News

02.04.14

Class 319 cascade to Northern from December

Two four-car Class 319s will be transferred from First Capital Connect to operate Northern services between Liverpool and Manchester on the newly electrified line via Newton le Willows from December 2014, with 10 more to follow throughout 2015.

The cascade deal struck between Northern, the Department for Transport, and fleet owner Porterbrook has also freed up a diesel train to “strengthen” services to Bolton from December 2014, the DfT said, with services running on the Todmorden Curve for the first time in more than 40 years

The Class 319s, built in the late 1980s by BREL at York, will deliver an extra 3,000 seats for passengers in the north-west during the peak.

Alex Hynes, managing director of Northern Rail, said: “This is fantastic news for our customers. These electric trains will bring much needed extra capacity, more reliable and sustainable journeys.

“This is the first step to unlocking more capacity for customers across the north of England.  We’re committed to continuing our work with our partners to campaign for more trains, better trains and electric trains for our customers.”

Rail minister Stephen Hammond added that the electric trains will mean “cleaner, quicker and more reliable journeys” for thousands more passengers between Manchester and Liverpool, “driving forward the economies of these two great cities”.

The deal will also provide extra capacity to Bolton. This latest announcements follows the recent Direct Award franchise extension, which means Northern Rail will continue operating services in the north of England until February 2016.

Discussing the options in a blogpost in February, Mid Cheshire Rail Users’ Association (MCRUA) chair John Oates said: “Craig Harrop, Northern’s Client and Stakeholder Manager West very helpfully produced a summary of Northern’s Rolling Stock Position for a recent meeting of the Transport Committee at the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.

“In developing the business case for the Northern Triangle electrification programme, the DfT identified that the Class 319 sets which were to be released by the Thameslink programme could possibly provide a value-for-money source of rolling stock. It was noted at this point that in their current state these units could not meet the sectional running times that can be achieved by the 323s so either a new timetable or significant re-engineering, with a traction upgrade, would be required to enable them to match the Class 323 acceleration curve if they were to be considered for use in South Manchester.”

He said the carriages will not be refurbished before coming into use on Northern services.

There were rumours that the 319s could be used in three-car configuration but the DfT’s announcement specifies four-car.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Kev Jay   05/04/2014 at 09:43

Well We must be so grateful that the DfT are letting us have these dirty old trains to improve things oop north ! Once again we get worn out cast offs from down south....does nobody care about us up here ...obviously not ! What are our MPs ,local authorities,train companies doing about it ??....I despair!

Mikeb   05/04/2014 at 16:12

Rumour has it that the Class 319s will not be refurbished, as they are only meant as a stop-gap. The Bombardier Class 387s, which are going to Thameslink will then move north as soon as all Siemens Class 700s are delivered. We shall see!

Matthew Read   03/12/2014 at 22:34

The 319s aren't dirty old hand me down cast offs. You people should see the condition of our BRAND NEW Electrostars and Desiros the condition of the stas is terrible compared to the 319s one can't more trains be as clean as them.

Matthew Read   03/12/2014 at 22:36

The 319s aren't dirty old hand me down cast offs. You people should see the condition of our BRAND NEW Electrostars and Desiros the condition of the seats is terrible compared to the 319s why can't more trains be as clean as them.

Michael Heydon   05/12/2014 at 15:20

there is no getting away from the fact that class 319 are old cast offs from down south. they are over 25 years old. there again should I be surprised. no. northern rail are the dumping ground for all old stock and we, the customers/passengers have no choice but to put up with it. at least they will be quick and, I hope comfortable, not like the clapped out class 142's that we, on the southport line, have to endure.--- but we still pay top prices to travel on every one else's cast offs. how about giving London commuters some 142's and us northerners some spanking brand new trains. yes, I know, that is one silly stupid dream.

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