Northern Rail: Wikis


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Northern Rail
Northern rail logo.png
142041 Northern Rail Castleton East Jcn.jpg
Franchise(s): Northern
12 December 2004 – September 2013
Main Region(s): North West, North East,
Yorkshire and the Humber
Other Region(s): Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire
Fleet size: 281
Stations called at: 529
Stations operated: 462
Passenger km 2007/8: 1831.9 million
Route km operated: 2695.7
National Rail abbreviation: NT[1]
Parent company: Serco Group / Abellio
Web site:

Northern Rail (often referred to simply as Northern) is a train operating company that has operated local passenger services in the north of England since 2004. Northern Rail's owner, Serco-NedRailways, is a consortium formed of NedRailways (the British unit of Nederlandse Spoorwegen) and Serco, an international operator of public transport systems. When it won the Northern England franchise, the consortium had already secured the contract to operate north-west England's Merseyrail network in 2003.



Serco-NedRailways was announced as the 'preferred bidder' for the Northern franchise by the Strategic Rail Authority on 1 July 2004,[2] and signed the agreement to operate the franchise on 19 October. However, the new operators did not actually take over from the previous operators (First North Western and Arriva Trains Northern) until 12 December 2004. The reason for the delay was because Serco NedRailways assumed that some Class 142 Pacer trains would be freed up in the near future when Manchester Metrolink services started between Manchester and Oldham. Due to a substantial delay in extending the Metrolink, it was clear that this was not going to be the case.[3]

Northern run a mix of commuter routes, rural routes and some longer distance services around Cheshire, Co. Durham, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and Yorkshire. Northern’s services also extend to the north Midland counties of Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire. Some services are supported by Passenger Transport Executives. In December 2008 the operator started an express service from Leeds to Nottingham calling at Wakefield Kirkgate, Barnsley, Sheffield, Dronfield, Chesterfield, Alfreton, Langley Mill and Nottingham.

The franchise is planned to run for a maximum of eight years and nine months, with the final two years subject to performance targets being achieved.[2][4] The franchise does not require them to purchase or lease new trains.

Northern Rail won public transport operator of the year 2007 at the National Transport Awards and was praised by the judges for attracting 20% more passengers since 2004.[5]


In the period 15 October 2009 to 14 November Northern’s punctuality was 91.1% and reliability was 92.2%.[6] Northern's passengers charter targets are 91% for punctuality and 99% for reliability.

The franchise agreement commits to a 15% reduction in delays in the first five years and to a new 'incentive/penalty regime' and a more 'local focus on performance'.[7]

The latest official figures released by the ORR rate punctuality (PPM) at 93.7% and an MAA of 90.9% for the second quarter of the financial year 2009/10 and the 12 months up to 30 September 2009. [8]


Timetable Route
1 Chathill, Alnmouth and Morpeth to Newcastle and MetroCentre
2 Nunthorpe and Middlesbrough to Newcastle and MetroCentre (Durham Coast Line)
3 Newcastle, Bishop Auckland and Darlington to Saltburn (Tees Valley Line)
4 Sunderland and Newcastle to Carlisle (Tyne Valley Line)
5 Middlesbrough to Whitby (Esk Valley Line)
6 Carlisle to Barrow, Lancaster and Preston (Cumbrian Coast Line and Furness Line)
7 Leeds and Lancaster to Carlisle, Morecambe and Heysham Port (Settle to Carlisle and Leeds to Morecambe lines)
8 York to Blackpool North (Caldervale Line)
9 Colne to Preston and Blackpool South (East Lancashire Line)
10 Liverpool to Wigan, Preston and Blackpool North and Preston to Ormskirk (Liverpool to Wigan Line)
11 Bolton to Manchester Victoria and Manchester Airport
12 Manchester to Blackburn and Clitheroe (Ribble Valley Line)
13 Preston to Blackpool North and Blackpool South (The Blackpool Branch Lines)
14 Manchester Victoria and Manchester Airport to Southport and Kirkby (Southport Line and Kirkby Branch Line)
15 Liverpool to Manchester Airport and Warrington Bank Quay via Earlestown and Helsby to Ellesmere Port
16 Liverpool to Manchester Oxford Road and Warrington Central
17 Manchester to Chester via Altrincham (Mid-Cheshire Line)
18 Manchester to Crewe via Stockport or Manchester Airport
19 Manchester to Stoke-on-Trent via Macclesfield (Stafford-Manchester Line)
20 Manchester to Blackpool North and Buxton, and Hazel Grove to Preston (Buxton Line)
21 Manchester to Manchester Airport (local stopping service)
22 Manchester to New Mills Central and Rose Hill Marple
23 Manchester to Sheffield (The Hope Valley Line)
24 Manchester to Hadfield and Glossop
25 Manchester to Stalybridge and Huddersfield (Huddersfield Line)
26 Manchester to Rochdale via Castleton (previously Oldham Loop Line - service ceased operation on 3 October 2009)[9]
27 Manchester Victoria to Selby and Leeds and Leeds to Huddersfield
28 Hull to Scarborough (Yorkshire Coast Line)
29 York to Leeds via Harrogate (Harrogate Line)
30 Hull to York, Leeds, Doncaster & Sheffield and York to Sheffield via Pontefract Baghill
31 Barton-on-Humber to Cleethorpes (Barton Line)
32 Sheffield to Lincoln and Cleethorpes (Saturdays only)]
33 Nottingham to Sheffield and Leeds
WY Leeds to Skipton (Airedale Line)
WY/SY Leeds to Sheffield via Wakefield Kirkgate and Barnsley (Hallam Line)
WY/NY Leeds to York via Harrogate (Harrogate Line)
WY Leeds to Huddersfield via Dewsbury (Huddersfield Line)
WY Bradford Forster Square and Leeds to Ilkley (Wharfedale Line)
WY Leeds to Bradford Forster Square
WY Leeds and Wakefield to Knottingley (Pontefract Line)
WY/SY Leeds to Doncaster and Sheffield via Wakefield Westgate (Wakefield Line)
WY/SY Sheffield to Huddersfield via Penistone and Barnsley (Penistone Line)

Timetable booklets for routes marked WY are only produced by Metro, the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.

Northern Rail also run some parliamentary trains. These include:

  • Chester to Runcorn (weekly in one direction only. Does not run during the winter)
  • Ellesmere Port to Helsby (four journeys to and from Ellesmere Port, with two journeys extending to Warrington (one on Saturdays) and no services on Sundays)
  • Sheffield to York via Pontefract Baghill (two journeys per day)
  • Stockport to Stalybridge (weekly in one direction only)


The Traincare depots for Northern Rail are located in:

  • Hull Botanic Gardens (BG)
  • Blackpool North LMD (BP)
  • Barrow-in-Furness (BW)
  • Heaton (Newcastle upon Tyne) (HT)
  • Neville Hill (Leeds) (NL)
  • Newton Heath (Manchester) (NH)
  • Sheffield Station (SM)
  • Workington (WK) (overnight cleaning for Cumbrian Coast)

Additionally, Northern Rail also has a Depot Access Agreement (DAA) with West Coast Traincare to undertake Level 1 to 4 Maintenance at its Manchester Traincare Centre (Longsight LO) on the Northern Rail operated Class 323 EMU's and Servicing on its Class 142 and Class 15x DMU's.

An further DAA covers Servicing of its Class 142 and Class 15x DMU's at West Coast Traincare's Liverpool Traincare Centre (Edge Hill CS).

Rolling stock


Current fleet

Class Image Type Top speed Number Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Class 142 Pacer 142041 Northern Rail Castleton East Jcn.jpg Diesel multiple unit 75 120 68 Stopping Services Across Cheshire, Cumbria, north Derbyshire,Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Tees Valley, Tyne and Wear, Yorkshire 1985 - 1987
Class 144 Pacer 144002 at York.JPG Diesel multiple unit 75 120 23 Found on Metro services mostly in West Yorkshire,[10] also in South Yorkshire & North Yorkshire. Also found on the Leeds to Manchester Victoria stopper. 1986 - 1987
Class 150/1 Sprinter Northern-150145-01.jpg Diesel multiple unit 75 120 18 Found on local and longer distance services around Cheshire, Derbyshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, increasingly seen in South Yorkshire replacing services usually run by pacers. 1981 - 1984
Class 150/2 Sprinter 150277 Northern Rail Castleton East Jcn.jpg Diesel multiple unit 75 120 22 Found on local and longer distance services around Cheshire, Derbyshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire, increasingly seen in South Yorkshire replacing services usually run by pacers. 1983 - 1985
Class 153 Super Sprinter 153328 Doncaster.JPG Diesel multiple unit 75 120 18 Preston - Ormskirk, Leeds - Knottingley, Wakefield Kirkgate - Knottingley, Cumbrian Coast Line. Also seen coupled to other trains for additional capacity, increasingly (only occasionally still) seen in South Yorkshire replacing services usually run by pacers. 1987 - 1988
Class 155 Super Sprinter 155347 C Leeds.JPG Diesel multiple unit 75 120 7[11] Caldervale Line, Harrogate line 1987
Class 156 Super Sprinter Benkid77 156420, Buxton 1 080809.JPG Diesel multiple unit 75 120 46 Various longer distance services and increasingly on shorter services across Northern’s network. 1987 - 1989
Class 158 Express Sprinter Northern Rail Class 158 no 158796 Castleton East Jcn.jpg Diesel multiple unit 90 145 46 Express services including York - Blackpool North, Sheffield - Leeds via Barnsley, Sheffield -Bridlington/Scarborough, Leeds - Carlisle, Leeds-Bradford-Manchester Victoria, Nottingham - Leeds[12] 1989 - 1992
Class 158 Northern Rail Diagram.PNG
Class 180 Adelante Northern Rail 180108 Salford Crescent July09.jpg diesel multiple unit 125 200 3 Cascaded from First Great Western.
Blackpool North - Manchester Victoria[13] and Hazel Grove - Preston. Being sub-leased from East Coast.[14]
Class 321/9 321903 B Doncaster.JPG Electric multiple unit 100 160 3 Wakefield Line
Leeds - Doncaster[10]
Class 323 Class 323 NR Piccadilly (NR Livery).JPG Electric multiple unit 100 160 17 Electrified routes in and out of Manchester Piccadilly:

Manchester Piccadilly - Alderley Edge/Crewe/Glossop/Hadfield/Hazel Grove/Macclesfield/ Manchester Airport/Stoke-on-Trent

1989 - 1991
Class 333 333002 A Leeds.JPG Electric multiple unit 100 160 16 [15] Wharfedale Line
Leeds and Bradford - Shipley - Ilkley

Airedale Line
Leeds and Bradford - Shipley - Keighley - Skipton
Leeds-Bradford line[10]

Class 333 Northern Rail Diagram.PNG

Future fleet

In January 2008, as part of the Government's rolling stock plan, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that the fleet of Class 323 trains currently in operation on services in South and East Manchester would be transferred to London Midland where the rest of the Class 323 trains are based in order to form a uniform fleet. Northern were due to receive 24 new build or cascaded EMU vehicles to allow for this and provide additional capacity.[16] The original plan also stated that further DMU stock is due to be transferred to Northern from London Midland and London Overground. A presentation by the DfT, also in January 2008, indicated that this could include Class 150 units from London Midland.[17]

On December 22, 2008, the Department for Transport announced it had issued an invitation to tender for 200 new carriages to form diesel multiple units, some of which were intended for Northern Rail.[18] The Contract Notice specifies that those parties expressing in an interest must have the ability to design and manufacture DMUs which are 23 metres in length, capable of a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), formed of 2, 3, and/or 4 cars, capable of operation in multiple, and gangwayed throughout, both within units and units in multiple.[19] The order was postponed in July 2009, following the announcement of the electrification of Liverpool to Manchester via Newton-le-Willows. Northern will now get ex-Thameslink EMUs[20] (most likely British Rail Class 319s) to run Liverpool to Manchester services allowing the diesel units currently used on that service to be cascaded to other lines.

As part of a trial into the feasibility of the tram-train concept, Northern will operate newly built electric tram-train units between Rotherham and Sheffield after plans for a diesel tram-train trial between Huddersfield and Sheffield was deemed non-economically viable for a trial.[21]


  1. ^ "National Rail Timetable". Network Rail. 
  2. ^ a b "Serco-NedRailways Announced as Preferred Bidder for new Northern Rail Franchise" (PDF). Strategic Rail Authority. 2004-07-01. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  3. ^ "Mid Cheshire Rail Report No.61". Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association. Autumn 2004. 
  4. ^ "Mid Cheshire Rail Report No.62" (PDF). Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association. Christmas 2004. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  5. ^ Northern Rail (2007-08-16). "Northern Rail Wins Public Transport Operator of the Year". Press release. Retrieved 2008-05-31. "Northern Rail has been voted public transport operator of the year in the National Transport Awards 2007. The judges praised the company, which runs local and regional trains across the north of England, for its success in attracting 20% more passengers since it started in 2004." 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "New Northern Rail Franchise Signed" (PDF). Strategic Rail Authority. 2004-10-19. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  8. ^ "National Rail Trends Chapter 2" (PDF). ORR. 
  9. ^ "Oldham Loop rail line closure" (PDF). GMPTE information poster. Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive. September 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  10. ^ a b c "Yorkshire and Humber Route Utilisation Strategy Draft" (PDF). Network Rail. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  11. ^ "Metro and Northern introduce new look for Yorkshire trains". 2006-11-10. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  12. ^ "Northern launches first regular direct service between Nottingham and Leeds for 25 years". 2008-12-15. 
  13. ^ "New services and new trains for Manchester-Blackpool North". 2008-12-15. 
  14. ^ Today's Railways Issue 86
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Appendix B - Indicative Number of Additional Vehicles required by English TOCs by 2014". Rolling stock plan. Department for Transport. 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-05-31. 
  17. ^ "HLOS industry seminar talk". Department for Transport. 2008-01-31. pp. pg. 19. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  18. ^ "Invitation to tender issued for 200 new diesel train carriages". Department for Transport. 2008-12-22. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  19. ^ "2008/S 236-313671 Contract Notice". Official Journal of the European Union. 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  20. ^ Britain's Transport Infrastructure - Rail Electrification. Department for Transport. July 2009.
  21. ^

External links

Preceded by
Arriva Trains Northern
Regional Railways North East franchise
Operator of Northern franchise
2004 - present
Preceded by
First North Western
North West Regional Railways franchise


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