TransPennine Express will mothball fleet of almost new trains
TransPennine Express will mothball a fleet of 13 almost new trains as part of drastic plans to cut services from December and improve its dreadful punctuality record.
The company's boss said the moves were aimed at simplifying its operations and 'deliver improved punctuality and reliability'. The train firm was nationalised in May after months of poor performance.
The train company only began using its Spain-built Nova 3 trains in August 2019 but bosses have now confirmed they will be withdrawn because they don't have enough drivers trained to operate them.
It means the remaining services across the north of England and the south of Scotland will be operated by older trains, including the Nova 2 and Nova 1.
A spokeswoman for TPE confirmed: "We have a significant backlog of driving training days which leads to operational issues when planning the Nova 3s. By removing the Nova 3 fleet we will significantly reduce the number of those outstanding training days, which will help us to achieve our goal of providing a stable and improved performance."
The spokeswoman insisted customers were 'at the heart of our decision making and we believe that the removal of the Nova 3 fleet from service from December 2023 will be a step forward towards returning TPE to a stable and resilient operator'.
She confirmed no decision had yet been made on what to do with its Nova 3 fleet but she pointed out the lease which secured them expires on May 28.
Chris Jackson, interim managing director at TPE, said: "As part of our plans for the December 2023 timetable we will seek to remove the Nova 3 fleet (Class 68 loco and Mk5a carriages), instead using Class 185s and Class 802s on services to and from Scarborough.
"This decision is part of our plans to restore reliability and confidence for passengers by simplifying the business and putting customers at the heart of our decision-making process. We have undertaken a detailed review of operations and this review has identified issues with the operation and stabling of the Nova 3 fleet.(Image: Copyright Unknown)
"We believe that the removal of the Nova 3 fleet from service from December 2023 will be a step forward towards returning TPE to a stable and resilient operator.”
The train company also confirmed 'some temporary amendments' to its timetable between the north west and north east of England 'to deliver improved punctuality and reliability' from December 2023.
Mr Jackson said: "December 2023 provides us with a great opportunity to restore reliability and stability to our services.
"We have spent several months compiling the new timetable and have worked hard to develop a version that will give everyone greater confidence in TPE.
"We understand the part we play in the local communities and our aim has been to give our customers a rail service they can rely on to get them where they need to be.(Image: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)
"To do this, there will be some temporary amendments to the timetable between the north west and north east of England to deliver improved punctuality and reliability for customers from December 2023.
"This is a step forward in addressing some of the issues that have impacted on our reliability and ultimately delivering a more stable and resilient service for customers.
"We will, of course, keep this under constant review, and aim to return services as part of the December 2024 timetable change or sooner if possible."
Prior to nationalisation TPE ranked highest of all train operators in terms of cancellations, by some distance. Data from regulator Office of Rail and Road revealed that it cancelled almost a quarter of its services between January 8 and February this year, an average of around 37 every day.