FTPE Class 170s to move over to Chiltern in 2015

First TransPennine Express’ (FTPE) fleet of nine Class 170 Turbostar trains are to be cascaded to another operator at the end of the current franchise.

Leasing company Porterbrook has offered the Class 170 Turbostar units to Chiltern Railways when its contract with FTPE expires with the end of the franchise on April 1, 2015.

MPs have since raised concerns about capacity after FirstGroup confirmed that it is in talks with the Department for Transport (DfT) to extend the current term to February 2016 – the predicted start date of the new long-term franchise.

However the impact of losing the Class 170s could be offset by the introduction of 10 new four-car Class 350/4 Desiro trainsets from Siemens – the first of which arrived in Ardwick, Manchester, in December 2013 – freeing up some of the Class 185 diesel trains to operate on non-electrified sections of the network.

In a letter to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, chairman of the Commons Transport Committee Louise Ellman MP was critical of the DfT’s handling of the transfer, writing: “The TransPennine Express is a vital artery for the north of England. Services are already overcrowded and it makes no sense whatsoever to reduce the size of the company’s fleet.”

She added: “Given the current strong demand for rolling stock there is a risk that the trains cannot adequately be replaced, which could lead to reductions in service levels and a worse service for passengers.”

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