Arriva Trains Northern - A

Arriva Trains Northern - A

Arriva Trains Northern was a train operating company in England owned by Arriva that operated the Regional Railways North East franchise from March 1997 until December 2004. Arriva resumed operating Northern train services again on 1 April 2016 under the Northern brand but ceased again on 29 February 2020.

Arriva Trains Northern History

As part of the privatisation of British Rail, the Regional Railways North East franchise was awarded by the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising to MTL after it won the contest from a field of Connex, FirstBus, Grand Central, a management/Via-GTI consortium, National Express, Prism Rail and Stagecoach. The franchise commenced on 2 March 1997.

In May 1998, the franchise was rebranded as Northern Spirit with a livery of turquoise with a lime green stylised italic N across the midsection introduced.

At the same time, the long distance regional services connecting Sunderland, Newcastle, Scarborough and Hull with Manchester, Liverpool and Blackpool were sub-branded under the TransPennine Express banner with rolling stock painted in a base colour of maroon with a gold stylised italic N across the midsection. These services would later become a franchise in their own right from 2004, namely the Transpennine franchise, which is currently operated by TransPennine Express.

On 18 February 2000, MTL was purchased by Arriva, and on 27 April 2001 the franchise was rebranded as Arriva Trains Northern. The Arriva corporate turquoise and stone livery was introduced on refurbished 153352 in July 2001.

Arriva Trains Northern Services

Arriva Trains Northern operated a mix of long distance regional, local urban and rural passenger services in the North of England and Yorkshire and the Humber extending across the Pennines.

The network extended from Carlisle and Chathill in the north to Sunderland, Scarborough, Hull and Cleethorpes on the east coast down to Sheffield and across to Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool and Morecambe on the West Coast.

A daily Leeds to Glasgow Central via the Settle & Carlisle and West Coast Main Lines service was introduced in September 1999, the first time such a service had operated since 1982.

Arriva Trains Northern Problems

A long-running dispute with the RMT union lead to a prolonged period of industrial action. As a result, in 2001, the Strategic Rail Authority imposed a £2 million fine. Throughout its life, the franchise suffered a shortage of drivers and rolling stock which led to many cancellations on a daily basis. An emergency timetable was later brought in which cancelled many services on a permanent basis rather than random as before.

Arriva Trains Northern Overview

Arriva Trains Northern Franchise(s): Regional Railways North East
2 March 1997 – 11 December 2004

Arriva Trains Northern Main Region(s): North East

Arriva Trains Northern Other Region(s): North West
North Midlands

Arriva Trains Northern Fleet Size: 169 until February 2004
141 after February 2004

Arriva Trains Northern Parent Company: Arriva
Arriva Trains Northern Reporting Mark: AN (NS when Northern Spirit)
Arriva Trains Northern Predecessor: Regional Railways
Arriva Trains Northern Successors:
First TransPennine Express
Northern Rail


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