Template:Use dmy dates Template:Infobox Rail company

First TransPennine Express[1] is a British train operating company owned by FirstGroup (55%) and Keolis (45%) operating the TransPennine Express franchise.[2]

First TransPennine Express runs regular passenger services in northern England, including services linking the west and east coasts across the Pennines. It operates a hub model radiating from Manchester and covering three main routes. The service provides rail links for major cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Sheffield, Hull, Leeds, York, Scarborough and Newcastle. Currently, all services call or terminate at Manchester Piccadilly.[3]

First TransPennine Express is one of the few UK train operating companies running 24 hours a day, including through New Year's Eve night. For example, trains run between York, Leeds and Manchester Airport at least every three hours every night of the week.


File:First TransPennine Express logo.png

The TransPennine Express brand was launched in late 1998 by Northern Spirit, and maintained by its successor, Arriva Trains Northern.

In 2000 the Strategic Rail Authority announced that it planned to reorganise the North West Regional Railways and Regional Railways North East franchises operated by First North Western and Arriva Trains Northern. A TransPennine Express franchise would be created for the long-distance regional services, the remaining services being operated by a new Northern franchise.[4]

In July 2003 the Strategic Rail Authority awarded the TransPennine franchise to FirstGroup/Keolis, and the services operated by Arriva Trains Northern and First North Western transferred to First TransPennine Express on 1 February 2004.[5]


Siemens maintains the Class 185 Desiro fleet at Ardwick depot in Manchester with a smaller facility in York. The Class 170 Turbostars are maintained by Bombardier at Crofton. TransPennine Express is headquartered at Bridgewater House in Manchester.


The franchise was due to end on 31 January 2012, but in August 2011 the Department for Transport awarded First TransPennine Express an extension until March 2015.[6] Included was a clause to allow this date to be brought forward to April 2014 to allow it to coincide with the end-date of the Northern Rail franchise. In March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the franchise would again be extended until 4 February 2016.[7]

The future continuation of the franchise was not certain. Local transport authorities and consultancies had proposed merging Trans-Pennine services into other franchises to increase efficiency on the rail network.[8] The Manchester Airport to Scotland service could be transferred to the InterCity West Coast franchise after the electrification of lines around Manchester by 2018. The south Trans-Pennine route between Manchester and Cleethorpes could be transferred to East Midlands Trains who already operate an hourly service on the Manchester to Sheffield section.[9]


North TransPennineEdit

The core route between Template:Stn and Leeds sees four trains per hour between the two cities. This is made up of an hourly Manchester Airport to Newcastle Central service, an hourly Manchester Airport to Middlesbrough service, an hourly Manchester Piccadilly to Hull service and an hourly Liverpool Lime Street to Scarborough service. The Huddersfield to Leeds section is the busiest section of the route.Template:Citation needed

The Manchester to Liverpool section is supplemented by East Midlands Trains' hourly service from Norwich and a Northern Rail hourly Manchester Airport to Liverpool express service (which runs via Newton-le-Willows rather than Warrington Central), thus giving three fast services per hour between Manchester and Liverpool. Similarly, the service between Leeds and Newcastle is augmented by an hourly CrossCountry service. Trains between York and Newcastle are also operated by East Coast.

Under Arriva Trains Northern, Newcastle services continued to Template:Stn. When First TransPennine Express first took over the franchise it extended the Manchester to Hull service to Bridlington, a decision later reversed.

In May 2014 an hourly express service between Liverpool Lime Street to Newcastle Central via Manchester Victoria and Leeds will be introduced.[10] This will be the first and only First TransPennine Express service not to call at Manchester Piccadilly.

South TransPennineEdit

An hourly service operates from Manchester Airport to Cleethorpes via Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport, Sheffield, Doncaster and Scunthorpe. The Manchester to Sheffield sector is supplemented by East Midlands Trains hourly Liverpool to Norwich service, giving a half-hourly service of fast trains between Manchester and Sheffield.

TransPennine North WestEdit

TransPennine North West runs from Manchester Airport to Blackpool North, Windermere, Barrow-in-Furness,Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley. It uses sections of the Styal Line, Manchester to Preston Line, West Coast Main Line, Furness Line and Windermere Branch Line. These services were formerly operated by First North Western.

With the completion of the first stage of the North West electrification programme, the Scottish services will be operated from 8 December 2013 by newly arrived Class 350 electric units and rerouted to stop at Wigan North Western before joining the West Coast Main Line. Stops at Bolton and Chorley will be withdrawn as a result.[11]

Template:North TransPennine Template:South TransPennine Template:TransPennine North West


Official performance figures released by Network Rail for period 7 of the financial year 2013/14 were down on the same period last year at 87.8% (PPM) and MAA up to 12 October 2013 stood at 90.5%.[12]

Rolling stockEdit

First TransPennine Express inherited a fleet of two- and three-car Class 158 Express Sprinter trains from Arriva Trains Northern. It also operated Class 175 Coradias on hire from Arriva Trains Wales.

A franchise commitment was the replacement of the entire fleet, so in 2005 First TransPennine ordered 56 (later cut back by the Strategic Rail Authority to 51) three-car Class 185 Desiros, the first of which entered service in March 2006.

Most of the Class 185s were delivered in FirstGroup's neon blue livery. The "i" in the logo of Keolis is used as the "i" in the TransPennine Express logo in addition to the First "flying f" logo. The first eight units were delivered in First's dark blue livery, and later reliveried with neon blue vinyls.

The Class 185 trains proved popular with off-peak travellers, although these satisfaction levels decrease for passengers undertaking long-distance journeys and at peak times.[13]

Despite the 185s being bigger than two-car 158s, 185s frequently leave passengers behind due to severe overcrowding at peak times.[14] Transport for Greater Manchester stated in 2007 that projected passenger numbers would probably mean that Template:Convert 8-car units would be needed by 2014.[15]

It was planned to operate all services with the new Class 185 Desiros. However, weight restrictions on the Micklefield to Hull line restrict the Class 185s to Template:Convert. To solve this and create extra capacity, First TransPennine Express leased eight Class 170 Turbostars from late 2006 that were surplus to South West Trains' requirements, and in November 2007 a ninth was transferred from Central Trains. The Class 185 Desiros operate across the network, the Class 170 Turbostars on services from Manchester to Cleethorpes, Hull and York.

From May 2014 services between Manchester and Scotland will be operated by 110 mph capable electric multiple units.[16] This will enable the diesel trains currently in use on the Manchester to Scotland services to be transferred to other TransPennine Express services.[17] The Manchester Airport to Blackpool route will also be electrified, allowing further diesel trains to be cascaded on to other TransPennine Express services. However, this will be after the end of the current TransPennine Express franchise.

In February 2012 the Department for Transport announced that 10 four-car electric Class 350 Desiros had been ordered to operate services from Manchester to Scotland via Wigan after electrification.[18][19] It was confirmed that all the existing rolling stock would remain with the franchise to boost capacity.

Current fleetEdit

Class Image Type Top speed Number Routes operated Built
 mph   km/h 
Class 170 Turbostar 120px DMU Template:Convert 9 Manchester Airport - Cleethorpes
Manchester Piccadilly - Hull
Manchester Airport - York
Class 185 Desiro 120px DMU Template:Convert 51 All TransPennine routes except Manchester Piccadilly-Hull 2005–2006
Class 350/4 Desiro EMU Template:Convert 10(not all in service) Manchester-Edinburgh/Glasgow 2013-

Past fleetEdit

Class Image Type Built Withdrawn Notes Number
Class 158 Express Sprinter 120px DMU 1989-1992 2006-2007 Transferred to Central Trains, First Great Western, Northern Rail and South West Trains Initially 28 + an additional 2 sub-leased from First North Western. Later 28 + an additional 4 sub-leased from Central Trains. 2 units also briefly sub-leased from First ScotRail
Class 175 Coradia 120px DMU 1999–2001 2007 Were subleased from Arriva Trains Wales.

After the introduction of the Class 185, they returned to Arriva Trains Wales

27 shared between First TransPennine Express and Arriva Trains Wales

Managed stationsEdit

First TransPennine Express' services run over a large area of northern England and southern Scotland. Many of the largest stations they serve are managed by a different TOC or, in five cases, Network Rail.

First Trans Pennine manage the following 30 stations:[20]




  1. Companies House extract company no 4113923 First/Keolis TransPennine Limited
  2. Keolis in the UK Keolis
  3. First TransPennine Express route map FirstGroup
  4. The Trans-Pennine Express rail franchise. Yorkshire & The Humber Transport Activist's Roundtable Briefing Note October 2001.
  5. Template:Cite press release
  6. Template:Cite press release
  7. "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers" Secretary of State for Transport statement 26 March 2013
  8. Script error
  9. Script error
  10. "Trans Pennine speed-up planned" Modern Railways October 2013 page 14
  11. Script error
  12. Script error
  13. Template:Cite press release
  14. Script error
  15. Script errorTemplate:Dead link
  16. West Coast Main Line route utilisation strategy, Network Rail.
  17. Script error
  18. Template:Cite press release
  19. Template:Cite press release
  20. Script error

External linksEdit

Template:Commons category

Template:S-start Template:S-bef Template:S-ttl Template:S-inc |- Template:S-bef Template:End
Template:Current UK TOCs Template:FirstGroup

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