‘68s’ to haul new-build carriages from 2018
TransPennine Express has confirmed that Spanish firm CAF is to build new 125mph EMUs and loco-hauled carriages which will enter service during 2018 and 2019.
The operator has already ordered 19 five-car Hitachi AT300 bi-mode trains, and this has been followed by the purchase of 12 five-car Civity EMUs and 13 five-car sets of inter-city carriages. Both fleets will be leased until the end of the franchise in 2023.
The EMUs, financed by Eversholt Rail, will operate on Anglo-Scottish services on the West Coast main line between Manchester/Liverpool and Glasgow/Edinburgh. They will replace the Class 350 EMUs currently operating these services, which TPE is leasing until 2019, and the operator says the new units will provide a 40% increase in capacity compared to the ‘350s’.
The carriages, financed by Beacon Rail Leasing, will be hauled by Class 68 locomotives, which are also owned by Beacon and will be leased from Direct Rail Services. TPE says the choice of locomotive-hauled carriages has been made because these can be designed and manufactured ‘more quickly compared to equivalent electric or diesel trains’. They will be introduced from spring 2018.
CAF will build the trains at its Beasain factory in the Basque region of northern Spain. The manufacturer will provide technical support and spares for both fleets, with maintenance undertaken by Alstom at is facilities at Longsight (Manchester), Edge Hill (Liverpool) and Polmadie (Glasgow).