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Updated: Northern Rail electric Class 319 passenger services begin today

Update 05/03/2014

The first Class 319 services began this morning at 06:16 when train 319363 departed Liverpool Lime Street for Manchester Airport.

Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “This first electric train to travel between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Airport signifies the completion of the latest stage of a much bigger electrification programme in the north west.

“When the north west electrification upgrades and network improvements are completed in 2019 they will deliver significant, long term benefits to passengers across the north of England.”

Alex Hynes, managing director for Northern said: “What an exciting time for our customers in the north west! Being able to deliver these electric services to them is the culmination of years of planning and will bring more seats, more space and improved journeys for our customers.”

Original Story - 04/03/15

RTM has learned that the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has officially approved the newly installed overhead lines on the route from Manchester to Liverpool, via Newton-le-Willows, for use, allowing Northern Rail to begin passenger services using the refurbished electric Class 319s.

Rob Warnes, planning and programmes director at Northern, told RTM’s Sam McCaffrey last week that the delayed introduction of electric services was hoped for this week.

On 23 February a 'Mobile Electrical Network Testing, Observation and Recording' (MENTOR) test had been run: a diesel locomotive hauling a carriage with a pantograph, to prove that it is safe for electric trains to run on the line. After that was successful, two Class 319s went out under test conditions, with everything looking good.

Warnes said that there was one more test scheduled for 24 February, and pending the success of that, and ORR approval, which has now been given, Northern planned to run its first electric Class 319 immediately.

The first service is expected to start from Liverpool and terminate at Manchester Airport. RTM understands that eight services a day will be operated by the 319s in either direction until the May timetable change, when more 319s will be introduced.

Related articles:

Northern’s Class 319s take to the rails - report from Allerton Depot

Northern to run 319s Liverpool-Manchester Victoria by May

First Class 319s arrive in Liverpool for driver training

Completion of Manchester to Liverpool electrification delayed

Rolling stock cascades

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Nonsuchmike   06/03/2015 at 13:28

And not before time. As a welsh exile living in Surrey it is a matter of some embarrassment that the north, Scotland and Wales have for too long been subjected to the ignominy of second class travel, whilst we have enjoyed frequent and diverse electric travel throughout our region. Will the next electrified line be the dualled one to Wrexham from Liverpool via the Halton Curve? No. Only by lobbying for extra lines (rails on the ground as opposed to extra trains per day) across the Pennines, Midlands and Wales can there be anything like the transfer of people away from the over congested road onto rail for commuting as well as leisure activities. Why can't our politicians, NWR and the TOCs see this? Had we a joined up plan where all these agencies actually worked together for the fare-paying passenger good instead of fighting their own narrow corners, we might yet obtain a superior service which suits oh so many of the public's needs at a tolerable price - and that within the next ten years.

Chrisb   02/04/2015 at 08:44

And why can't we have more North Wales Coast [Arriva Trains Wales] trains going through to Manchester Airport to avoid transshipping luggage at an already busy Piccadilly?

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