TransPennine Express has hailed a “major milestone” for rail travel in the North and Scotland as it welcomed the first of its new Nova 1 trains last week.

Built by Hitachi Rail and financed by Angel Trains, the bullet-style Nova 1 offers more carriages and 342 seats – 161 more than TransPennine Express’ current stock. The company is due to receive 19 of the five-carriage trains, which will operate the route between Manchester, Leeds, York, Newcastle, Morpeth and Edinburgh.

TransPenning Express says it will phase the Nova 1 into service by the end of the year.

Testing of both the Nova 2 and Nova 3 fleets is ongoing, with three of the latter already accepted. However, the company says further faults have been identified, meaning the first of the Nova 3s will not enter service until the end of summer 2019.

While the operator has been working closely with manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles to resolve the issues, it says the delay has had an impact on staff training and it will need more time to complete this.

Major projects director Chris Nutton said: “The acceptance of the first Nova 1 train is a key step towards the introduction of more trains and more carriages for customers. Together with our partners, we are working hard to get each of our Nova fleets into service as soon as possible. By the end of this year, trains from all three fleets will be operating across the North and into Scotland, providing 13 million extra seats.”

Karen Boswell, MD of Hitachi Rail, commented: “This is another fantastic milestone which will soon see the Northern Powerhouse connected with modern, reliable trains. They will double the number of seats for TransPennine passengers on intercity services between major cities across the North.”

Each of the Nova trains feature free wifi in both First and Standard Class, plug sockets and USB charging points, improved information systems and access to complimentary Exstream entertainment.

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