THE European transport leader’s ambitious plans are what clinched the company the rail franchise.

Bidding against current franchise holders Sercio and Abellio, the Arriva group went ‘far beyond’ expectations to deliver a difference to passengers in the north.

The company have promised a £1bn investment program that will dramatically reshape rail transport in the north of England.

The substantial investment will speed up journey times between major cities, whilst increasing capacity across the network.

Ambitious plans: Arriva's promises and commitments to the new franchise.
Ambitious plans: Arriva’s promises and commitments to the new franchise

Around £400m of the investment will be spent on new rolling stock, ensuring that the fleet of unpopular Pacer railbuses will be withdrawn by 2019.

The 281 carriages set to be introduced into the franchise will consist of 43 electric units consisting of three to four cars.

Replacing the Pacer units will be 55 new diesel trains of two to three cars.

In addition to the new stock investment made by Arriva, further diesel units will be handed to the franchise by ScotRail and Great Western after electrification on these routes.

Further promises include the opportunity for at least 20 engineer apprenticeships to be formed as part of the franchise, whilst 10 student work experience placements will also be on offer.

Station staff will also be provided with smart devices to assist passengers in a bid to make ticketing schemes clearer, whilst any zero hour contracts are planned to be withdrawn.

Chris Burchell, Managing Director of Arriva’s UK Trains division, said: “We are proud to be given the opportunity to transform rail travel for passengers in the North of England and to work closely with our partners to connect towns, cities and communities like never before.

“We will be investing more than £1billion to deliver a step-change in quality for customers and dramatically improving services, stations, information and ticketing.

“Our aim is to be the communities’ local railway and to leave a positive lasting legacy for the North of England.”

Arriva will take over the franchise officially on April 1 2016.

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