First North Western - A

First North Western - A

First North Western was a train operating company in England owned by FirstGroup that operated the North West Regional Railways franchise from March 1997 until December 2004.

First North Western History

In the lead up to the privatisation of British Rail, the North Western section of Regional Railways was established. For a brief period from 1989, this section was operated under the short-lived Network NorthWest brand name, before becoming North West Regional Railways. The franchise was awarded by the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising to Great Western Holdings, with operations commencing on 2 March 1997 under the North Western Trains brand.

On 27 October 1997, a new livery of dark blue with a gold star was unveiled. In March 1998, First bought out the other shareholders in Great Western Holdings. The business was rebranded from North Western Trains to First North Western in November 1998 with First's corporate blue, pink and white livery adopted.

First North Western Services

First North Western operated a mix of urban and rural passenger services in North West England and North Wales, radiating out from Manchester to Birmingham, Chester, Holyhead, Liverpool, Blackpool North, Windermere and Sheffield.

In May 1998, North Western Trains commenced services from Manchester Airport and Rochdale to London Euston. The Manchester Airport service ceased in May 1999 and the Rochdale service in May 2000.

From May 2003, services from Manchester ceased operating south of Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe.

First North Western Overview

First North Western Franchise(s): North West Regional Railways
2 March 1997 – 11 December 2004

First North Western Main Region(s): North West England
North Wales

First North Western Other Region(s): London

First North Western Fleet Size: 184
First North Western Stations Called At: 247
First North Western Parent Company: FirstGroup
First North Western Reporting Mark: NW
First North Western Predecessor: Regional Railways
First North Western Successors:
First TransPennine Express
Northern Rail


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