Latest Rail News


FTPE to retain four Class 170s – but five will still go to Chiltern

First TransPennine Express (FTPE) is to keep hold of four of its Chiltern Railways-bound Class 170s until February 2016, rather than losing all nine. 

In what has been termed a ‘complex solution’ to maintain and increase rail capacity in the north, FTPE said it has worked hard with the DfT and Northern Rail to provide a solution to the loss of nine Class 170s, while protecting the current capacity levels. 

The company’s Class 170s currently operate on services between Manchester and Hull, and Manchester and Cleethorpes, but from 17 May 2015 five will be leased to Chiltern Railways with FTPE retaining four of the current fleet, under an agreement with Porterbrook. 

The retained 170s will continue to operate on services between Manchester, South Yorkshire and the Lincolnshire coast. However, FTPE added more of its services will be operated by three-car Class 185s rather than the current Class 170s – providing roughly the same level of capacity. 

All services between Manchester, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Humberside, the Yorkshire Coast and the North East will be operated by Class 185 trains with either three or six carriages as opposed to some currently being operated with Class 170 trains. 

For those travelling to Manchester and Hull (via Leeds), the operator says passengers “will experience no disadvantage from the loss of the Class 170s”. 

“From May 2015 FTPE will no longer be operating Class 170 trains on the route. We have protected the timetable and the current capacity levels and all services will be operated by Class 185 trains with either three or six carriages,” said FTPE, adding: “Class 185s are reliable, safe and comfortable trains with 181 seats, a first class provision and two toilets on board.” 

But whilst frequency will be maintained, FTPE will not be able to operate two direct services between Manchester Airport and Cleethorpes. Customers for the 15.55 between Manchester Airport and Cleethorpes and the 16.26 Cleethorpes to Manchester Airport will now need to change at Doncaster. 

From May, some services between Manchester Airport and Blackpool North will be operated by four-car Class 156s, as opposed to three-car Class 185s. These will be branded as Northern Rail but will be operated by FTPE staff. 

Additionally, FTPE will continue to operate electric four carriage trains between Manchester and Scotland through Monday to Thursday. On Fridays, FTPE currently supplements this service with the use of diesel three-car Class 185s. But the company said: “We are still assessing how services on this route will be affected from May 2015 but we will endeavour to provide a solution that accounts for fleet deployment but replicates current provision.” 

Nick Donovan, managing director of FTPE, said: “A great deal of background work has been undertaken by ourselves, Northern Rail and the DfT that seeks to ensure capacity and frequency of FTPE services across our network is maintained for the timetable change in May 2015. 

“I am delighted that we have been able to work together and develop a plan that aims to protect rail services for the huge majority of customers in the north of England and, indeed, deliver some additional capacity at a time when demand across our network is higher than ever.” 

(Image: c. James Taylor)

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


John   09/01/2015 at 12:50

The Class 170's aren't great, let's be honest. They're noisy, cramped and vibrate. We suffer wit hthe wretched things on the XC Trains routes from Nottingham to Cardiff and from Birmingham to Stanstead Airport where there is a desperate shortage of capacity - XC Trains make excuses on this but as times to 2 coach units are packed to standing from Birmingham to Leicester with season ticket holders getting more and more peeved over this awful service.

Kevj   16/01/2015 at 07:53

The comment that Class 185s are comfortable is a joke ! ..These invariably over crowded commuter trains are not fit for purpose on major intercity routes ...especially to Edinburgh ,Glasgow and Newcastle . I would recommend anyone travelling to these places to change at Preston for a pendolino or York for an East Coast or Xcountry train . Why do we have to put up with such inadequate rolling stock because we're up north !

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >