THE new fleet of bi-mode ‘Nova 1’ Class 802 units for TransPennine Express has been unveiled in a ceremony at Liverpool Lime Street.
A trial run had already been carried out on 28 September, when one of the Hitachi-built sets worked a return journey with passengers on board between Newcastle and Liverpool Lime Street.
Guests at the Lime Street ceremony included stakeholders and politicians from the North of England.
There will be three Nova fleets in due course, built partly by Hitachi and partly by CAF, and financed by Beacon Rail Leasing, Eversholt Rail Group and Angel Trains. Nova 1 is serving Liverpool to Newcastle and Edinburgh to Manchester Airport and Newcastle, Nova 2 will be on the route between Manchester and Liverpool to Glasgow and Edinburgh via Preston, and locomotive-hauled Nova 3 sets will link Liverpool, Manchester Airport, Scarborough and Middlesbrough. The first Nova 3, with Mk5a vehicles, entered service in August, having been delayed by technical problems.
The interiors are of a high standard, with good seating, more luggage space, 230V sockets and USB charging points and free wi-fi throughout. An entertainment system will provide TV programmes, news and films.
TPE managing director Leo Goodwin 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 increase in capacity of 80 per cent 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.’
Each new train features high quality seating and interiors with more luggage space, plug and USB charging points, free on-board wi-fi in both standard and first class and the entertainment system Exstream featuring the latest TV shows, news and films.
Hitachi Rail Group CEO Andrew Barr said: ‘The new Nova 1 fleet will nearly double the number of seats available to passengers – up to a whopping 161 extra per train. These modern intercity trains – built incorporating bullet train technology – will make journeys across the North smoother and more reliable. Delivering the Hitachi fleet on time will allow passengers to have an early Christmas present, with trains that are proven to boost passenger satisfaction.‘
CAF UK director Richard Garner added: ‘CAF is extremely proud to be part of a hugely successful team approach between our company, TPE, Eversholt Rail and Beacon Rail Leasing which sees the Nova 2 and Nova 3 entering passenger service.’