"A Voice for Durham Coast Rail Users"

With the start of the new franchise on 1st April, TransPennine Express Managing Director Leo Goodwin issued the following statement. Whilst TPE only links with the Durham Coast line this is indicative of progress to be made before the end of the decade.


Our vision for TransPennine Express is Taking the North further.    Our customers will immediately benefit from a range of improvements and from today we are introducing:

16-18 discounts – Half price travel for 16 to 18 year olds with 50% off our advance tickets

  • Jobseeker discounts – Half price travel for Jobseekers with 50% off our advance tickets
  • Catering – new and improved catering, available seven days a week
  • Delay Repay – compensation for any delay of 30 minutes or more to a journey

Other improvements will be implemented in the coming months and years.  The refurbishment of our Class 185 trains will start later this year, discounts for group travel will be introduced and we are also committed to improving our response to delays and cancellations, with an automatic delay repay system implemented within 12 months and Wi-Fi at all TPE stations from next year.  Stations will be improved, ticketing made simpler, services and tickets integrated with other modes of transport and a major employee customer service training programme with new jobs and apprenticeship positions introduced.

These improvements are just the beginning, delivered as part of an ambitious £500m investment programme.  At its heart are 220 new, high speed, carriages providing an additional 13m seats a year, reduced journey times and more luggage space.

I am pleased to advise you that we have signed a contract with Hitachi Rail Europe, one of a number of train procurement contracts we are currently negotiating, for 95 new Intercity AT300 carriages.  These carriages will make 19 five-car bi-mode trains featuring diesel and electric engines enabling the trains to use electric wires where available on the TransPennine Express network from 2019.

The majority of the carriages will be assembled at Hitachi’s Rail Vehicle Manufacturing Facility at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.  New trains for the North, made in the North.

Full servicing provision for these new trains, including heavy maintenance, cleaning and stabling, will take place at Hitachi Rail Europe’s maintenance facilities in Doncaster and Edinburgh, while overnight stabling and servicing will be undertaken at depots in Liverpool, Newcastle and York.

These trains will be able to move at speeds of 125mph, with capabilities of reaching 140mph if the network allows for it in the future.  These speeds will reduce journey times across our network, helping to deliver on our promise to improve connectivity between the major towns and cities of the North and Scotland.  I look forward to welcoming you aboard these new trains in the near future.

Our plans and vision for the North will be delivered over the next four years.  We will be working hard to achieve these major improvements to create an outstanding intercity rail service that will take the North further.