Partnership making tracks in the north

Investment approaching a quarter of a billion pounds in passenger rail travel in the north of England and the creation of 100 new jobs was unveiled this week.


Investment approaching a quarter of a billion pounds in passenger rail travel in northern England and the creation of 100 new jobs was formally unveiled this week by the Douglas Alexander MP, Secretary of State for Transport.



The official opening of Siemens’ new £30 million train maintenance depot along with the introduction of the first of the £200 million fleet of 51 Siemens-built, 185 Pennine Class trains for First TransPennine Express, took place at the site of the new depot in Ardwick, Manchester.



The project is the result of a partnership between the government, fleet owner HSBC Rail, train manufacturer and maintainer Siemens Transportation Systems and service operator First TransPennine Express.



The Ardwick depot will be complemented later this year by another £10 million maintenance facility currently being built in York. These investments, along with the new trains, will help to transform the quality of service for passengers on the strategically important TransPennine routes.



Alexander said, “This is great news for passengers in the North of England and I welcome the investment to this region’s railway. The new technology should allow for trains to be maintained to a high standard and raise the quality of rail journeys.”



The Pennine Class 185 trains are being introduced progressively on to the First TransPennine Express network and have been carrying passengers on the HullManchester route since mid-March. All 51 trains are due to be in service by early 2007.



HSBC Rail (UK) is financing the provision of the new trains which will be leased to First TransPennine Express during the life of its eight-year franchise.