TransPennine Express launches new Nova fleet at three-in-one ceremony

Three Nova trains side by side at Liverpool Lime Street. (L-R) Nova 3, Nova 2, Nova 1.

TransPennine Express (TPE) has launched three new train fleets at once in a ceremony at Liverpool Lime Street station.

The new Nova fleet of trains represents a £500m investment that will significantly increase capacity for customers across the North of England and Scotland

The new 44-train fleet was built by CAF and Hitachi and financed by Beacon Rail Leasing, Eversholt Rail Group and Angel Trains. Each train offers between 286-342 seats and five carriages.

And the band played…

Nova 1 will serve Liverpool to Newcastle and Edinburgh to Manchester Airport and Newcastle. A fleet of 19 of these Class 802/2 trains is being built by Hitachi, each with 342 seats – 318 standard and 24 first class. There is a real-time passenger information system in every coach as well as a toilet in each, one of them offering universal access. There is also storage for four bicycles. Bi-mode trains, meaning they can operate using diesel or electric power. They are being financed by Angel Trains and will be maintained by manufacturer Hitachi.

Nova 2 will travel on the routes from Manchester and Liverpool to Glasgow and Edinburgh via Preston. CAF is building 12 of these five-carriage Class 397 all-electric trains, financed by Eversholt Rail. They will have 286 seats – 264 standard and 22 first class, with 60 per cent of seats being arranged in a bay around a table. All standard class seats will align perfectly with the windows. Once again there will be a real time passenger information system in every coach and this time four toilets, of which one will be universal access. Four bikes can be accommodated, there will be an electronic reservation system and Wi-Fi throughout. Maintenance will be carried out by Alstom.

Seen from the other end, the Class 68 hauling the Nova 3 is easily distinguished. (L-R) Nova 1, Nova 2, Nova 3.

Nova 3, unlike the other two, is a locomotive-hauled train. It will operate the service between Liverpool, Manchester Airport, Scarborough and Middlesbrough. 13 sets of five-car carriages, built by CAF, will be hauled by Class 68 locomotives on lease from Direct Rail Services and owned by Beacon Rail, which also financed purchase of the carriages. There is a driver’s cab at the other end from the locomotive, otherwise facilities are similar to the other two new trains – 287 seats, 257 standard and 30 first class, along with three standard and one accessible toilet and space for four bicycles. The sets will be maintained by Alstom.

Leo Goodwin, TransPennine Express

Attending the launch, Leo Goodwin, managing director of TransPennine Express, outlined the benefit the new fleet will bring to the north. He said: “Our vision was for Nova to represent the brightest future for rail in the north and we are so pleased to today make this vision a reality for customers, colleagues and businesses who make the TransPennine Express network such a crucial part of our infrastructure here in Liverpool and across the north.

“The name Nova reflects the positive changes that will truly transform rail travel for our customers, with an enhancement to customers experience on board and an increase in capacity of 80% on all routes.  Our vision at TPE is to take the north further and these new trains offer more seats, improved connectivity and a higher standard of comfort.”

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