Transport

Altrincham train travel set for boost as Northern reveals it will replace entire 30-year-old fleet by Christmas

By David Prior at

Rail operator Northern is to replace its entire 30-year-old fleet with new 100mph trains.

The out-dated and much-maligned Pacers – used on the Manchester to Chester via Altrincham line – were originally designed to have a working life of around 10 years, but are still used on many lines in Northern towns and cities.

The government required companies bidding to take over the Northern franchise – awarded to Arriva Rail North in 2015 – to replace the trains by 2020.

Inside the new Northern trains

The new 98-strong fleet will come into service by Christmas and are capable of travelling at 100mph.

They will also be fully accessible and have wi-fi and plug sockets.

David Brown, Managing Director at Northern, said: “This is a landmark moment for Northern and for rail travel in the north of England.

The new Northern trains will be used on the Altrincham line

“We are introducing 98 new electric and diesel trains which will significantly improve journeys and the travel experience for our customers across the region. As well as looking like 21st Century trains, our new state-of-the-art units will be capable of travelling at 100mph, will have wifi, plug sockets at every seat, will be air conditioned and fully accessible.”

Altrincham and Sale West MP Sir Graham Brady welcomed the news.

He said: “This is good news and should improve journeys for local people. Train tickets are not cheap. I am glad that my constituents will have a better standard of service and benefit from this much-needed upgrade.”

One of the current out-dated Northern trains, and below, one of the new models