Northern (train operating company)

This article is about the current Northern train operating company. For the former train operating company, see Northern Rail (Serco-Abellio).

A Northern Class 158 at Manchester Victoria Station
Franchise(s): Northern
1 April 2016 – 31 March 2025
Main Region(s): North West
North East
Yorkshire and the Humber
Other Region(s): East Midlands
Fleet size: 337 (4 units leased from TransPennine Express)
Stations called at: 526
Stations operated: 475
Parent company: Arriva UK Trains

Northern, the trading name of Arriva Rail North[1] is the primary train operator in Northern England. A subsidiary of Arriva UK Trains, it began operating the Northern franchise on 1 April 2016.

Northern operates more stations than any other train operating company in the United Kingdom.


In August 2014, the Department for Transport announced that Abellio, Arriva and Govia had been shortlisted to bid for the next Northern franchise.[2][3]

In May 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority launched what The Times called an '...unprecedented investigation into the transport department's decision to award the Northern Rail network to Arriva.'[4] This was because the parent company Deutsche Bahn also operated the CrossCountry franchise and owned many bus companies in the Northern trains operating area in in which 'a significant overlap occurs without competition from other service providers.'[5]


Northern took over all the services operated by Northern Rail (also branded Northern) on 1 April 2016[6] and on the same date, services between Manchester Airport and Blackpool North, Manchester Airport and Barrow in Furness and Oxenholme to Windermere from First TransPennine Express.[7]

Northern took over responsibility for all the stations managed by Northern Rail, as well as Arnside, Barrow-in-Furness, Birchwood, Burneside, Carnforth, Grange-over-Sands, Kendal, Staveley, Ulverston, Warrington Central and Windermere from First TransPennine Express.[7] Northern will staff some currently unstaffed stations. The first stations to be staffed will be Baildon and Ben Rhydding,[8] both in West Yorkshire.

Northern has committed to introducing free Wi-Fi on trains, and new ticketing options including the ability for customers to print their own tickets.[9] Arriva will provide new services across the North of England.[10]

In October 2017, the Cleethorpes to Barton-on-Humber service will transfer to East Midlands Trains. The transfer will include Barrow Haven, Barton upon Humber, Goxhill, Great Coates, Grimsby Docks, Habrough, Healing, New Clee, New Holland, Stallingborough, Thornton Abbey and Ulceby stations.[7]

On 1 July 2016, the business was divided into four regions, each headed up by a regional director:[11]

Northern Connect

Northern Connect logo
The logo for future Northern Connect express services

From December 2019, Northern will operate a network of twelve Northern Connect interurban express services, eleven of these will be operated by brand new Class 195 diesel multiple units and Class 331 electric multiple units, whilst the Middlesbrough to Carlisle via Newcastle route will be operated by refurbished Class 158 units.

Places that will be served by Northern Connect routes include Bradford, Chester, Halifax, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Newcastle, Preston, Sheffield and York. The routes transferred from the TransPennine franchise will also be part of the Northern Connect network.

Rolling stock

Northern inherited the rolling stock operated by Northern Rail, namely Class 142, 144, 150, 153, 155, 156 and 158 diesel multiple units and Class 319, 321, 322 and 333 electric multiple units. To operate services transferred from the TransPennine Express franchise, 185s are sublet from that franchise to Northern.

Class 37/4 locomotives and Mark 2 carriages are hired from Direct Rail Services until 2017 for Cumbrian Coast Line services.[7]

Diesel trains

Class Image Type Top speed Carriages Number Routes Built
mph km/h
37 Loco 80 130 N/A 2 Cumbrian Coast Line (Monday to Saturday only)[12]

(Resources for the Loco-hauled services are provided by DRS with Northern providing conductors)[13]

Mark 2 Coach 6 19725
DBSO 2 1979
142 Pacer DMU 75 120 2 79 Local and commuter services across the North 19857
144 Pacer DMU 75 120 2 13 Local and commuter services in Yorkshire 19867
3 10
150/1 & 150/2
DMU 75 120 2 58 Local services across the North 19857
Super Sprinter
DMU 75 120 1 18 Local and commuter services across the North 19878
Super Sprinter
DMU 75 120 2 7 Local and commuter services across Yorkshire 19878
Super Sprinter
DMU 75 120 2 42 Local, commuter and regional services across the North 19879
158/0 & 158/9
Express Sprinter
DMU 90 140 2 37 Regional express and commuter services in West Yorkshire
Northern Connect services in the North East (from 2018)
3 8
180 Adelante DMU 125 200 5 1 Bradford Interchange to Leeds (one journey per day)
(One unit is subleased from Grand Central Railway)
185 Desiro DMU 100 161 3 4 Manchester Airport to Blackpool North/Barrow in Furness
Oxenholme to Windermere
(Four units are subleased from TransPennine Express)[14][15]

Electric trains

Class Image Type Top speed Carriages Number Routes Built
mph km/h
319/3 EMU 100 161 4 20 Electrified commuter services in Greater Manchester and Merseyside
Electrified commuter services from Blackpool (from May 2018)[16]
321/9 EMU 100 161 4 3 Electrified commuter services in West Yorkshire 1991
322 EMU 100 161 4 5 Electrified commuter services in West Yorkshire 1990
323 EMU 90 140 3 17 Electrified commuter services in Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Derbyshire 19923
333 EMU 100 161 4 16 Electrified commuter services in West Yorkshire 2000

Future fleet

Northern will take delivery of 98 Class 195 and Class 331 trains built in Spain by CAF between 2018 and 2020.[17] They will be a mix of two and three car diesel multiple units and three and four car electric multiple units all based on the Civity UK platform. The units will primarily be deployed on Northern Connect regional express services.[18][19]

A total of 51 diesel powered units will be cascaded to Northern from the Abellio ScotRail, London Midland and Great Western Railway train operating companies after the Edinburgh to Glasgow and Great Western Main Line electrification projects are completed.[20][21] Twelve Class 319s will be cascaded from Govia Thameslink Railway to operate electrified services in the North West[22] allowing Class 142 and Class 144 units to be replaced as well as the Class 37 hauled Mark 2 carriages. The Class 323 units will be returned to leasing company Porterbrook at the end of 2018 when their leases expire.[23]

Between July 2016 and December 2017 Northern will operate a peak morning working between Bradford and Leeds using a Class 180 set hired from Grand Central Railway releasing other DMUs to cover the reduction in the number of units available to hire from TransPennine Express.[24]

An additional 18 two carriage DMUs are due to join the fleet by December 2022.[23]

Class Image Type Top speed Number Routes Built
mph km/h
150/0 & 150/1
DMU 75 120 20 Commuter services (from 2017)

Routes including Huddersfield to Sheffield and Leeds to Goole (from April 2019)[23]

Super Sprinter
DMU 75 120 5 Commuter services (from 2018) 1987
Express Sprinter
DMU 90 140 8 Services to be confirmed (from 2018) 19902
170/4 Turbostar DMU 100 161 16 Leeds to Southport via Manchester and Leeds to York via Harrogate (from 2018) 20035
195/0 & 195/1
DMU 100 161 55 Northern Connect services 20189
319/0, 319/2
& 319/4
EMU 100 161 12 Electrified commuter services (from 2017)[nb 1][23] 19878
331/0 & 331/1
EMU 100 161 43 Electrified commuter services in Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire
Electrified Northern Connect services in the North West
TBC DMU 100 161 18 DMUs equivalent in performance and quality to 2-car Class 170 units[23]


Northern's fleet is maintained at Allerton, Heaton, Newton Heath and Neville Hill depots.

Train Crew Depots are located at; Leeds, York, Newcastle, Darlington (Driver only), Middlesbrough (guard only), Carlisle, Workington, Blackpool North, Liverpool Lime Street, Wigan Wallgate, Manchester Victoria, Manchester Piccadilly, Buxton, Sheffield, Skipton, Huddersfield, Harrogate, Hull Paragon, Barrow-in-Furness and Doncaster.


  1. 5 are only to be leased until February 2020


  1. Companies House extract company no 4337712 Arriva Rail North Limited
  2. Shortlist for Northern and TransPennine operators revealed Department for Transport 19 August 2014
  3. Transformation of rail in the north Northern 27 February 2015
  4. Lea, Robert (21 May 2016). "Arriva faces northern exposure amid franchise victory enquiry". The Times (71916). p. 51.
  5. Clinnick, Richard (17 May 2015). "Arriva faces possible investigation over competition concerns". Rail. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  6. Transformation of rail travel in the north Department for Transport 27 February 2015
  7. 1 2 3 4 Stakeholder Briefing Document and Consultation Response Department for Transport 27 February 2015
  8. "Proud to be Northern - April 2016".
  9. "Arriva chosen to run and expand Northern franchise from next year". Rail Technology Magazine. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  10. "Massive boost to rail services brings Northern Powerhouse to life".
  11. "Northern launches new business regions - Northern".
  12. "Loco-hauled services to return to the Cumbrian coast". Railway Herald. 8 January 2015.
  13. "Bigger Trains and Changes Ahead For Cumbria's Coastal Rail Route" (Press release). Northern Rail. 18 May 2015.
  14. Northern Rail 31st SA - Remapped services Track Access Rights
  15. TransPennine Express invitation to tender
  16. "Electrification in the North - Network Rail".
  17. "Arriva signs £490m rolling stock contract to replace Northern's Pacers". Rail Technology Magazine. 22 January 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  18. Barrow, Keith (22 January 2016). "CAF to supply 98 trains for Britain's Northern franchise". International Railway Journal. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  19. Barrow, Keith (11 December 2015). "Arriva confirms Northern rolling stock plans". International Railway Journal. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  20. "Scotrail franchise agreement" (PDF). Transport Scotland. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  21. "Franchise Agreement - Great Western" (PDF). 22 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  22. "Northern Franchise Improvements". Department for Transport. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  23. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Northern Franchise Agreement" (PDF). Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  24. "Network Rail - Page not found" (PDF).
  25. "Regional Passenger Trains | Angel Trains". Retrieved 13 August 2016.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Arriva Rail North.
Preceded by
Northern Rail (Serco-Abellio)
Northern franchise
Operator of Northern franchise
2016 - 2025
Succeeded by
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/28/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.