TransPennine Express launches new Nova Fleet of trains to significantly increase capacity for customers across the North of England and Scotland

FirstGroup franchise TransPennine Express has launched its new ‘Nova’ fleet of trains at events at York station today (Monday 25 November) and Liverpool Lime Street Station (Friday 22 November).

Stakeholders and dignitaries from across the north were present at the event as the Nova trains were unveiled to the public, accompanied by entertainment from a local brass band and speeches from those involved in the £500m project.

Leo Goodwin, Managing Director of TransPennine Express, outlined the benefit the new fleet will bring to the north. He said: “Our vision was for Nova to represent the brightest future for rail in the north and we are so pleased to today make this vision a reality for customers, colleagues and businesses who make the TransPennine Express network such a crucial part of our infrastructure here in Liverpool and across the north.”

The new 44-train fleet was built by CAF and Hitachi and financed by Beacon Rail Leasing, Eversholt Rail Group and Angel Trains. Each train offers between 286-342 seats and five carriages. Nova 1 serves Liverpool to Newcastle and Edinburgh to Manchester Airport and Newcastle, Nova 2 travels between Manchester and Liverpool to Glasgow and Edinburgh via Preston, and Nova 3 moves between Liverpool, Manchester Airport, Scarborough and Middlesbrough.

Leo Goodwin added: “The name Nova reflects the positive changes that will truly transform rail travel for our customers, with an enhancement to customers experience on board and an increase in capacity of 80% on all routes.  Our vision at TPE is to take the north further and these new trains offer more seats, improved connectivity and a higher standard of comfort.”

Each new train features high quality seating and interiors with more luggage space, plug and USB charging points, free on-board wi-fi in both standard and first class and the entertainment system Exstream featuring the latest TV shows, news and films.

FirstGroup is investing in new rolling stock to improve our customers’ journeys across all its train companies – Hull Trains, Great Western Railway and South Western Railway. By 2020, 90% of First Rail customers will be travelling on a train less than five years old.

This is part of the railway’s plan to improve customer services by unparalleled levels of investment. Across the industry, 8,000 new carriages are committed to being introduced by the mid 2020s. For more information, visit www.bigplanbigchanges.co.uk.

Cllr Liam Robinson, Transport Portfolio Holder at the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said: “It’s great to see the new fleet of Nova trains being launched today in Liverpool, increasing capacity and providing a much welcomed better travelling experience for city region rail users.

“We’re pleased that these trains will not only operate on the existing TPE routes out of Lime Street, but also on the new direct Liverpool to Glasgow service, which will offer improved connectivity for our city region.”

Andrew Barr, Hitachi Rail’s Group CEO, said: “The new Nova 1 fleet will nearly double the number of seats available to passengers – up to a whopping 161 extra per train. These modern intercity trains – built incorporating bullet train technology – will make journeys across the North smoother and more reliable.

“Delivering the Hitachi fleet on time will allow passengers to have an early Christmas present, with trains that are proven to boost passenger satisfaction.”1

Richard Garner, CAF UK Director, said: “CAF is extremely proud to be part of a hugely successful team approach between our company, TPE, Eversholt Rail and Beacon Rail Leasing which sees the Nova 2 and Nova 3 entering passenger service. These high quality, high performance trains will provide TPE customers across the North of England and Scotland with a transformed onboard experience, making a real difference to this important and busy rail network.”

Mary Kenny, CEO at Eversholt Rail, said: “We are delighted to see our newest fleet of trains introduced to passengers in the North.   This is the culmination of a lot of hard work from the teams at TransPennine Express, CAF and Eversholt Rail over the past three and a half years and we are excited to enter the next phase to bring these trains into passenger service. Our Nova 2 fleet will help to turn TPE’s ‘Take the North Further’ vision into reality.”

Kevin Tribley, CEO at Angel Trains, said: “The introduction of the Nova 1 fleet is a significant milestone which will see the Northern Powerhouse connected with new top-of-the-range trains. By investing in and developing trains that improve passenger experience between major cities across the North, we’re taking strides towards creating the railway of the future that modern Britain deserves. We are incredibly proud of our team and would like to thank our partners Hitachi and TransPennine Express for all their hard work in making this project a success.”

Facts and figures about TPE’s new Nova fleet:

Nova 1

  • Will operate between Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh
  •  342 seats (providing an extra 161 seats compared to our existing trains) – 318 standard, 24 first class
  • Real time passenger information system in every coach
  • Five toilets on-board, including a universal access toilet
  • Storage for up to four bicycles
  • Electronic seat reservations system. Green (seat free), yellow (seat partially reserved) and red (seat fully reserved)
  •  Wi-Fi and media servers on-board with power sockets at every pair of seats
  • Maintained by Hitachi
  • Our 19 five-carriage trains are being built by Hitachi and financed by Angel Trains
  • These are bi-mode trains, meaning they can be operate using diesel or electric power

Nova 2

  • Will operate between Manchester Airport and Liverpool to Glasgow and Edinburgh via Preston
  • 12 five-carriage electric trains
  • 286 seats (providing an extra 105 seats compared to our existing trains) – 264 standard, 22 first class
  • 60 per cent of seats arranged in a bay around a table. All standard class seats will align perfectly with the windows
  • Real time passenger information system in every coach
  • Four toilets on-board, three standard and one universal access toilet
  • Storage for up to four bicycles
  • Electronic seat reservations system. Green (seat free), yellow (seat partially reserved) and red (seat fully reserved)
  • Wi-Fi and media servers on-board with power sockets at every pair of seats
  • Maintained by Alstom
  • Our 12 five carriage electric trains are being built by Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) and financed by Eversholt Rail

Nova 3

  • Will operate between – Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York, Scarborough and Middlesbrough
  • 13 sets of five-car carriages hauled by Class 68 locomotives
  • 287 seats (providing an extra 106 seats compared to our existing trains) – 257 standard, 30 first class
  • Real-time passenger information system in every coach
  • Four toilets on-board, three standard and one universal access toilet
  • Storage for up to four bicycles
  • Electronic seat reservations system. Green (seat free), yellow (seat partially reserved) and red (seat fully reserved)
  • Wi-Fi and media servers on-board with power sockets at every pair of seats
  • Maintained by Alstom
  • Our 13 five carriage Mark 5a coaches are being built by Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) and financed by Beacon Rail
  • The coaches will be pulled by Class 68 locomotives owned by Beacon Rail and leased from Direct Rail Services