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North Yorkshire Welcomes Rail Franchise Improvements

transpennine train

Published by the Yorkshire Coast Radio News Team at 3:40pm 9th December 2015.

North Yorkshire County Council has today welcomed the award of the Northern and Transpennine franchises which will transform rail services across the county.

 

The new franchises will mean new, faster, high quality train services, enabling more frequent journeys and a more modern and higher quality passenger experience for North Yorkshire’s citizens.

 

The county council‘s key transport priority is to improve East - West connectivity and the council has been working hard over the last few years in partnership with Rail North  - which represents the 29 local transport authorities across the north of England – to develop a transformational specification for the franchises which have been awarded today.

 

The winning bidders for the new franchises, which start in April 2016, are Arriva Rail North Ltd for the Northern and First TransPennine Express Ltd for theTransPennine Express franchise. The Northern franchise will run for nine years with a possible one year extension, and the TransPennine franchise for seven years with a possible two year extension.

 

The York – Harrogate – Leeds line is the county council’s highest priority and the improvements including doubling of frequency between Harrogate and Leeds and more trains in the evening and on Sundays announced today are  particularly welcome.

 

The council encouraged the bidders to provide improvements in frequency between Scarborough and York and are delighted they have listened and this again has come to fruition with the increased frequency announced today – again meeting our East/West priority.  Improvements to the Esk Valley services are also welcome and the council looks forward to working with Arriva Rail North to further increase services along the Esk Valley in the coming years..

 

“This contract award is good news for North Yorkshire and is the result of a lot of hard work by local authorities and Rail North on behalf of our citizens” said County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Rail and Director of Rail North.

 

“We have had an influential role in ensuring that the requirements of this contract meet our local needs – to deal with increased demand and to recognise the economic impact of moving people efficiently around the county to work and to education.

 

 “We have a great team in North Yorkshire who have taken a leadership role on rail matters, working on behalf of our residents – and in this new Northern Powerhouse, we have ensured that these new contracts have delivered improvements for North Yorkshire. Transport infrastructure is key to the success of North Yorkshire’s economic development and we particularly welcome the improvements to stations, the replacement of outdated pacer trains and over 500 new carriages and timetables, with an increase in the number of trains, particularly for the Harrogate line, Scarborough to York, services around Selby,  the Esk Valley, Yorkshire Coast, Leeds- Lancaster - Morecambe and Settle & Carlisle.”

 

 

What it means for North Yorkshire:

 

Scarborough rail passengers will benefit from:

 

  • 14 extra trains, 13 on Sundays (operated by Northern) each way between Scarborough and York (making the service half hourly throughout most of the day). No timescale yet.
  • All rolling stock should be new or brought up to modern standards and will include
  • Free wifi
  • Improved customer service including on train real time passenger information screens
  • On TPE services they will be brought up to “Inter City” Standards with increased seating and passenger facilities
  • Improvements to ticketing and use of smart technology

 

Stations

  • Malton will get new secure cycle parking spaces, bus passenger information screens.
  • Free WIFI at all TPE stations by July 2018

 

Yorkshire Coast (Scarborough – Hull) rail passengers will benefit from:

  • A full hourly service between Hull and Scarborough (at least 5 more trains per day)
  • Sundays - There will be a full hourly service between Hull and Scarborough, providing 12 trains per day each way (6 more than today). First trains will be earlier, last trains will be later.

 

Selby rail passengers will benefit from:

  • A new, daily, direct hourly Northern service between Bridlington, Beverley, Hull, Selby and Leeds;
  • Increased frequency to provide an hourly Northern service between Hull and York;
  • Improved Transpennine frequency
  • All rolling stock should be new or brought up to modern standards and will include
  • Free wifi
  • Improved customer service including on train real time passenger information screens
  • On TPE services they will be brought up to “Inter City” Standards with increased seating and passenger facilities
  • Click & Collect “services and delivery lockers, refurbished space for use by the community, bus passenger information screens and new secure cycle parking spaces to be introduced at Selby station;

 

Harrogate rail passengers will benefit from:

  • 4 trains an hour between Harrogate and Leeds (not all stopping at all stations – will give at least a 5 minute journey time improvement) and Arriva will work with VTEC to co-ordinate with the direct London service to be introduced in 2019) an increase from the current 35 trains a day to 56 trains a day.
  • Evening services improved including a later journey from Leeds, Harrogate and Knaresborough to Cattal, Hammerton, Poppleton and York.
  • 2 trains an hour on Sundays between Knaresborough - Harrogate and Leeds
  • 1/2 extra trains between Leeds and York on Sundays
  • All rolling stock should be new or brought up to modern standards and will include
  • Free wifi
  • Improved customer service including on train real time passenger information screens
  • Improvements to ticketing and use of smart technology

Stations:

  • Pannal and Starbeck will be staffed 0700 -1100 (no facilities at these locations so not sure what will need to be built).
  • Knaresborough and Hornbeam Park will be staffed 0700 – 1900

 

Esk Valley rail passengers will benefit from:

  • Whitby will receive an additional morning service to Middlesbrough, arriving into Middlesbrough by 0830 and potentially a later evening service back from Middlesbrough
  • Sunday services will run all year round between Middlesbrough and Whitby
  • Should see improvements to rolling stock used on the lines.

 

Settle & Carlisle line rail passengers will benefit from:

  • An extra departure from Leeds between 1600 and 1900 and two extra Sunday services with through services from York and Nottingham.

 

Leeds – Skipton – Bentham  - Lancaster – Morecambe:

  • There will be seven trains per day in each direction between Leeds and Lancaster, up from 4 trains westbound and 5 trains eastbound today.
  • One arrival at Leeds will be no later than 08:45, and one departure from Leeds will be between 17:00 and 17:59, to suit commuters. One train will depart from Leeds in the evening (no earlier than 19:15, compared with a last train at 16:45 today)
  • Lancaster will similarly have an arrival between 08:00 and 09:00, and a departure between 17:00 and 17:59
  • Cononley station will be staffed between 0700 and 1100

 

Northallerton and Thirsk will benefit from:

 

  • New secure cycle parking spaces and bus passenger information screens at stations
  • All rolling stock should be new or brought up to modern standards and will include
  • Free wifi
  • Improved customer service including on train real time passenger information screens
  • On TPE services they will be brought up to “Inter City” Standards with increased seating and passenger facilities
  • Improvements to ticketing and use of smart technology

 

 

Key improvements for the North:

 

•           Over 500 new-build carriages, including 125mph intercity bi-mode trains (that run on both diesel and electric) will be introduced across both franchises;

 

•           As much as 37% extra morning peak capacity on Northern into Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle & Sheffield by 2019 (or over 31,000 extra seats);

 

•           As much as 66% extra morning peak capacity on TransPennine Express into the big cities by 2019 (an extra 9,000 seats);

 

•           More train services will run in the week, including on Sundays;

 

•           Pacer units will be withdrawn by 2020;

.

•           Stations will be improved, with over £30m of investment, including ticket vending machines. 45 currently unstaffed stations will be staffed for at least part of the day;

 

•           New ‘Northern Connect’ services will be introduced, using new rolling stock, reflecting the needs of passengers travelling longer distances;

 

•           Increased support and funding for Community Rail;

 

•           Free wi-fi, media servers with on-demand entertainment and real-time passenger information screens will be introduced on all trains by 2020;

 

•          Automatic compensation for delays for registered season and advance purchase ticket holders;

 

•           Improved customer service and challenging targets for customer satisfaction;

 

•           The new train operators will cooperate with local smart ticketing schemes, simplify fares, and improve the door-to-door journey experience for passengers.

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