Northern bosses have promised a wide range of new initiatives to come into effect in 2019 and the first signs of this can be seen with the introduction of a new fleet of trains. The new fleet will be added to routes in Cumbria for the first time and the total of 98 trains, that are made up of both diesel and electric will be slowly integrated on the Furness Line between Barrow and Lancaster. They will also be added to the Lakes Line which links Oxenholme and Windermere.
At the meeting of South Lakeland District Council’s overview and scrutiny committee, the news of the new fleet was announced and this means that South Cumbria will be the first location to receive new diesel trains. As it stands, driver testing, as well as train testing, are already being carried out.
At the meeting, councillors found out that the introduction of this new stock of trains comes as part of a number of initiative from Northern. The aim is to offer an enhanced service that will entice passengers to begin using the service again. This is welcome news following the admission by Chris Jackson, the Regional Director, that more needed to be done in order to the confidence that the public has in the service.
At the hearing, Mr Jackson explained that the company had pulled together its operation in order to prove that they are now serious about improving the service, starting with the introduction of new trains in Cumbria. For some time, discussions about trains have been made but nothing has come to fruition but now it is happening. With 98 trains on order, the first routes are going to benefit from a more regular and reliable service.
As this is big news and as a way of getting it noticed by passengers, a number of marketing campaigns will be launched prior to Easter, while officials have made a promise that there will be 11 trains that go directly to Manchester Airport from Barrow and Windermere every day. To add to this news, Northern officials have also stated that day-return tickets for commuters and residents will come at a reduced price while cheaper advanced purchase fares that are designed to capture the attention of the leisure market.