Rail services in Greater Manchester

A new direction for rail in the North of England is now firmly on track, promising improved train services to boost the northern economy, connect businesses and get people to work.

On 1 April 2016, two new rail franchises were introduced to operate train services in Greater Manchester and the North of England. Arriva Rail North is operating the Northern Franchise and First Group is running TransPennine Express services.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has worked with its regional counterparts and the Department for Transport (DfT) to ensure that the franchises offer a truly transformational package. This will mean more frequent services with more seats for our passengers. Newer trains with substantially increased capacity will also be introduced as the unpopular Pacer units are phased out by 2020.

Rail commuters into Manchester will benefit from an almost 30% increase in capacity on Northern services in the morning peak and a 56% increase in the number of seats on TransPennine Express trains. More than 500 new-build carriages will be delivered, stations will be improved, there will be free WiFi on services, and new standards for customer service have been set.

Crucially, key decisions about rail services in the North of England are being made at a regional level. A new franchising body based in Leeds – a partnership between Rail North and the DfT – has been created to oversee and administer the franchise contracts in our region.

The best possible foundations have been laid for the North of England’s future rail network. The new franchises will deliver significant economic benefits for the region, supporting business, tourism and job growth and contributing to the prosperity of the North of England through better connections and faster journeys.

Find out more about local services at www.arrivarailnorth.org  and www.tpexpress.co.uk.