A MILESTONE has been reached for Wigan rail users as the first of a brand new fleet of First TransPennine Express (FTPE) electric trains rolled into North Western station.
Departing Manchester on its maiden voyage up to Glasgow, the new Siemens-built Class 350/4 delivered an increase in capacity of more than 80 per cent on the route between Manchester Airport, Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central, via Wigan, Preston and Carlisle.
The new trains are built to be capable of reaching speeds of 110mph, are much quieter and can accelerate significantly faster than the previous diesel trains. Their arrival signifies the successful completion of Network Rail’s phase one delivery of its £400m North West electrification programme and FTPE delivering a £60m investment in new rolling stock.
Boasting an additional carbon footprint reduction of around 35 per cent compared to diesel engines, passengers can benefit from one train per hour between Manchester and Scotland, with 15 services each way, every day, which will provide a 36 per cent increase in frequency, once the timetable changes in May come into place. There will also be an additional 25 per cent luggage space on board the new four-car electric trains.
When FTPE took over responsibility for Manchester to Scotland services in 2007 only 15 services operated a day. From May 2014 there will be 30.