TransPennine Express

This article is about the train operating company operated from April 2016. For previous franchise operator, see First TransPennine Express.
TransPennine Express

185108 at Manchester Piccadilly on 1 April 2016
Franchise(s): TransPennine Express
1 April 2016 – 31 March 2023
Main route(s): North West England, Yorkshire and Humber, North East England, Scotland
Fleet size: 61 units
Stations operated: 19
National Rail abbreviation: TP
Parent company: FirstGroup

TransPennine Express (legally known as First TransPennine Express Limited) [1] is a British train operating company owned by FirstGroup operating the TransPennine Express franchise. It runs regular express regional railway services between the major cities of Northern England as well as Scotland.

The franchise operates all its services to and through Manchester covering three main routes. The service provides rail links for major towns and cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Sheffield, Hull, Leeds, York, Scarborough, Middlesbrough and Newcastle.

TransPennine Express is one of the few UK train operating companies running 24 hours a day, including through New Year's Eve night. Trains run between York, Leeds and Manchester Airport at least every three hours every night of the week.


The TransPennine Express brand was launched in the early 1990s by British Rail's Regional Railways sector.[2] It became part of Regional Railways North East and on 2 March 1997 was privatised with Northern Spirit and its successor, Arriva Trains Northern maintaining the brand.[3]

In 2000, the Strategic Rail Authority announced that it planned to reorganise the North West Regional Railways and Regional Railways North East franchises operated by First North Western and Arriva Trains Northern. A TransPennine Express franchise would be created for the long-distance regional services, the remaining services being operated by a new Northern franchise.[4]

In July 2003, the TransPennine franchise was awarded to a joint venture between FirstGroup and Keolis, and the services operated by Arriva Trains Northern and First North Western were transferred to First TransPennine Express on 1 February 2004.[5] On 11 November 2007, the services from Manchester to Edinburgh and Glasgow via the West Coast Main Line formerly operated by Virgin CrossCountry were transferred to First TransPennine Express.[6]

In August 2014, the Department for Transport announced FirstGroup, Keolis/Go-Ahead and Stagecoach had been shortlisted to bid for the next franchise.[7] In December 2015, FirstGroup was awarded the franchise with TransPennine Express taking over on 1 April 2016. The franchise will run until 31 March 2023 with an option to extend for two years.[8][9][10]

As part of a recasting of the franchise map by the Department for Transport, services from Manchester Airport to Blackpool North, Manchester Airport to Barrow in Furness and Oxenholme to Windermere were transferred to the Northern franchise on 1 April 2016.[11]


The TransPennine Express routes are subdivided into three sections:

Details of each route, including maps and timetables, are on the TransPennine Express official website (see External links, below). As of June 2016, the following services run regularly, Mondays to Saturdays (Sunday service is similar except where noted), with frequencies in trains per hour (tph):

North TransPennine
Route tph Calling at
Liverpool Lime Street to Newcastle via Manchester Victoria 1 Manchester Victoria, Huddersfield, Leeds, York, Northallerton, Darlington, Durham, Chester-le-Street (every 2 hours)
Manchester Airport to Middlesbrough via Manchester Piccadilly 1 Manchester Piccadilly, Huddersfield, Leeds, York, Thirsk, Northallerton, Yarm, Thornaby
Trains reverse at Manchester Piccadilly.
Sunday service reduced to 1 train every 2 hours.
Manchester Airport to York via Manchester Piccadilly 1 Manchester Piccadilly, Huddersfield, Leeds
Trains reverse at Manchester Piccadilly.
Sunday service reduced to 1 train every 2 hours.
Liverpool Lime Street to Scarborough via Manchester Piccadilly 1 Liverpool South Parkway, Warrington Central, Birchwood, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly, Stalybridge, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds, Garforth, York, Malton, Seamer
Manchester Piccadilly to Hull 1 Stalybridge, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Leeds, Selby, Brough
South TransPennine
Route tph Calling at
Manchester Airport to Cleethorpes via Manchester Piccadilly 1 Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport, Sheffield, Meadowhall, Doncaster, Scunthorpe, Barnetby, Grimsby Town
Trains reverse at Manchester Piccadilly.
TransPennine North West
Route tph Calling at
Manchester Airport to Edinburgh Waverley / Glasgow Central via Manchester Piccadilly 1 Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Oxford Road, Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster, Oxenholme Lake District (irregular), Penrith (irregular), Carlisle, Lockerbie (irregular)
1 train per 2 hours to Edinburgh Waverley calling at Haymarket
1 train per 2 hours to Glasgow Central only
Oxenholme Lake District, Penrith and Lockerbie are generally served hourly but there are two-hour gaps between some services.
North TransPennine
2:50 Newcastle Central Tyne and Wear Metro
2:36 Chester-le-Street
2:30 Durham
2:13 Darlington
2:38 Middlesbrough
2:28 Thornaby
2:14 Yarm
1:58 Northallerton
1:49 Thirsk
2:18 Scarborough
2:07 Seamer
1:50 Malton
1:23 York
1:54 Hull
1:36 Brough
1:30 Gilberdyke
1:24 Howden
1:18 Selby
1:09 South Milford
1:08 Garforth
1:04 Cross Gates
0:57 Leeds
0:40 Dewsbury
0:30 Huddersfield
0:13 Stalybridge
0:00 Manchester Piccadilly Manchester Metrolink
0:00 Manchester Victoria Manchester Metrolink
0:14 Manchester Airport Airport interchange Manchester Metrolink
0:02 Manchester Oxford Road
0:08 Irlam
0:16 Birchwood
0:21 Warrington Central
0:27 Widnes
0:38 Liverpool South Parkway Merseyrail Airport interchange
0:34 Liverpool Lime Street Merseyrail

Times shown are best times
from Manchester Piccadilly
or Manchester Victoria.

South TransPennine

3:02 Cleethorpes
2:49 Grimsby Town
2:27 Barnetby
2:12 Scunthorpe
Thorne South
Hatfield and Stainforth
Kirk Sandall
1:45 Doncaster
Rotherham Central
1:21 Meadowhall Supertram (Sheffield)
1:11 Sheffield Supertram (Sheffield)
0:30 Stockport
0:14 Manchester Piccadilly Manchester Metrolink
Mauldeth Road
East Didsbury Manchester Metrolink
Heald Green
0:00 Manchester Airport Airport interchange Manchester Metrolink
Times shown are best times
from Manchester Airport.

TransPennine North West & Scotland

Edinburgh Waverley
(Edinburgh Trams St Andrew Square)
3:20 Haymarket Edinburgh Trams
Glasgow Central
(Glasgow Subway St Enoch)
3:15 Motherwell
3:06 Carstairs
2:27 Lockerbie
2:06 Carlisle
1:51 Penrith
1:28 Oxenholme Lake District
1:14 Lancaster
0:58 Preston
0:43 Wigan North Western
0:19 Manchester Oxford Road
0:16 Manchester Piccadilly Manchester Metrolink
0:08 East Didsbury Manchester Metrolink
0:05 Gatley
0:04 Heald Green
0:00 Manchester Airport Airport interchange Manchester Metrolink

Times shown are best times
from Manchester Airport.

Future services

A twice-hourly service between Manchester and Newcastle will be phased in between December 2016 and December 2017, made up of the existing service from Liverpool and a reinstated service from Manchester Airport. Trains between Liverpool and Newcastle will be extended to Edinburgh via the East Coast Main Line, giving a twice-hourly service between Leeds and Edinburgh together with an hourly CrossCountry service. Trains between Liverpool and Scarborough will be rerouted via Manchester Victoria and Newton-le-Willows to provide a half-hourly fast service between Liverpool and Manchester. It is also planned to operate a six train per hour frequency between Manchester and Leeds, up from five today.

Direct Liverpool to Glasgow services via the West Coast Main Line will be reintroduced from December 2018, and the number of services from Manchester Airport to Scotland will increase.[12]

Rolling stock

TransPennine Express inherited a fleet of 51 three-car Class 185 Desiros, 10 four-car electric Class 350 Desiros, and four two-car Class 170 Turbostars from First TransPennine Express. After 8 July 2016, the four remaining Class 170 left for Chiltern Railways to be converted to Class 168 sets. Once new rolling stock is delivered, 22 of the Class 185 units will be returned to Eversholt Rail Group with 29 units (87 vehicles) retained.[13]

Current fleet

Class Image Type Top speed Number Carriages Routes operated Built
 mph   km/h 
185 Desiro DMU 100 160 51 3 All TransPennine routes
4 are loaned to Northern on a daily basis[14][15]
350/4 Desiro EMU 110 180 10 4 Manchester AirportEdinburgh/Glasgow 201314

Future fleet

A total of 44 brand new five-car trains will be delivered to TransPennine Express.[16]

Class Image Type Top speed Number Carriages Routes operated In service
 mph   km/h 
68 Loco 100[17] 161 13 N/A North TransPennine services 201819[18]
Mark 5A[19] Coach 125 201 52[20] 5
Driving Trailer 14[21]
EMU 125 201 12 5 Liverpool/Manchester Airport-Scotland 201819[18]

Bi-Mode MU 125 201 19 5 North TransPennine services 2019[23]

Past fleet

Former units operated by TransPennine Express include:

 Class   Image   Type   Number   Notes   Built   Withdrawn 
170/3 Turbostar DMU 9 Transferred to Chiltern Railways 2000 2016

Managed stations

TransPennine Express services run over a large area of northern England and southern Scotland. Many of the largest stations they serve are managed by other train operating companies or Network Rail.

TransPennine Express manages the following 19 stations:[11][26]

Some stations from the former First TransPennine Express franchise were transferred to Northern. These include Arnside, Barrow-in-Furness, Birchwood, Burneside, Carnforth, Grange-over-Sands, Kendal, Staveley, Ulverston, Warrington Central and Windermere.[11]


Siemens maintains the Class 185 and 350 fleets at Ardwick depot in Manchester with a smaller facility in York. Hitachi will maintain the AT300 fleet at Doncaster Carr and Craigentinny.[27] The new EMUs and loco-hauled sets will be maintained by Alstom, on behalf of TransPennine Express, at Longsight (Manchester), Edge Hill (Liverpool) and Polmadie (Glasgow).[18]


  1. Companies House extract company no 9111801 First TransPennine Express Limited
  2. Collections Online - Objects
  3. "Northern Spirit is brand new name for Regional Railways North East" Rail issue 332 3 June 1998 page 7
  4. The Trans-Pennine Express rail franchise Archived 20 October 2004 at the Wayback Machine.. Yorkshire & The Humber Transport Activist's Roundtable Briefing Note October 2001.
  5. "SRA Announce Preferred Bidder For TransPennine Express Franchise" (PDF) (Press release). Strategic Rail Authority. 28 July 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2003.
  6. New Cross Country Franchise Consultation Document Department for Transport June 2006
  7. Shortlist for Northern and TransPennine operators revealed Department for Transport 19 August 2014
  8. "FirstGroup awarded TransPennine Express franchise". Rail Technology Magazine. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  9. "Arriva and First chosen for Northern and TransPennine franchises". International Railway Journal. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  10. "FirstGroup plc welcomes award of TransPennine Express rail franchise". 9 December 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  11. 1 2 3 Stakeholder Briefing Document and Consultation Response Department for Transport 27 February 2015
  12. "New TransPennine Express franchise launches - First TransPennine Express". First TransPennine Express Trains. Retrieved 2016-04-02.
  13. "TPE New franchise presentation for TfGM".
  14. TransPennine Express invitation to tender
  15. Northern Rail 31st SA - Remapped services Track Access Rights
  16. "FirstGroup awarded TransPennine Express franchise". Rail Technology Magazine. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  17. "Class 68 Specification". Rail Magazine. October 2014.
  18. 1 2 3 "More new trains for the North and Scotland". First Transpennine Express. 20 May 2016.
  19. Clinnick, Richard (8 June 2016). "TPE orders new EMUs and carriages in £230m deal". Rail. Bauer Media (802): 8–9.
  22. Haigh, Philip. "Is it time for the railway to standardise on fewer types of trains, to cut costs?". Rail Magazine. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  23. 1 2 New bi-mode trains for TransPennine Express | Global Rail News
  24. Hitachi scoops 95-car TPE train deal Rail 1 April 2016
  25. Hitachi awarded Transpennine Express multiple unit contract
  26. "Safe and sound train stations". First Transpennine Express. October 2011.
  27. Hitachi awarded TransPennine Express multiple unit contract Railway Gazette International 31 March 2016

External links

Media related to TransPennine Express at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
First TransPennine Express
TransPennine Express franchise
(First and Keolis joint venture)
Operator of TransPennine Express franchise
2016 - 2023
Succeeded by
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