Northern has confirmed it has reached agreement with Porterbrook and the Department for Transport to retain its 17 Class 323 EMUs and to take on the 26 ‘323s’ being released by West Midlands Trains.
The operator was originally to withdraw the 17 units, but will retain them in place of Class 319s (also owned by Porterbrook). The newer sets have considerably better performance and are preferred by passengers and drivers.
With refurbishment not having been planned for these units Northern has now started a programme to upgrade the sets, with No 323234 the first to enter the overhaul programme in the second week of August. On completion of this work the sets will receive the new Northern livery before they return to service.