Northern Rail - A

Northern Rail - A

Northern Rail, branded as Northern, was an English train operating company owned by Serco-Abellio that operated the Northern Rail franchise from 2004 until 2016. It was the primary passenger train operator in Northern England, and operated the most stations of any train operating company in the United Kingdom. Northern Rail was replaced on 1 April 2016 by Arriva Rail North.

Northern Rail History

In 2000 the Strategic Rail Authority announced that it planned to reorganise the North West Regional Railways and Regional Railways North East franchises operated by First North Western and Arriva Trains Northern. A TransPennine Express franchise would be created for the long-distance regional services, with the remaining services to be operated by a new Northern Rail franchise.

On 1 July 2004 the Strategic Rail Authority awarded the franchise to Serco-NedRailways, beating FirstGroup. The franchise was awarded for six years and nine months, with a two-year extension subject to performance targets being achieved.

Serco-NedRailways' bid had assumed that some Class 142 Pacer trains would be released imminently when Manchester Metrolink services started between Manchester and Oldham. Due to a substantial delay in extending the Metrolink, it became clear that this was not going to be the case. As a result, the contract signing was delayed, and the services operated by First North Western and Arriva Trains Northern did not transfer to Northern until 12 December 2004.

In May 2010 the Department for Transport confirmed that Northern had met the performance targets, and the franchise was extended for two years until September 2013. In May 2012 the Department for Transport granted Northern a six-month extension until 31 March 2014. In March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the franchise would be further extended to February 2016.

In August 2014, the Department for Transport announced Abellio, Arriva and Govia had been shortlisted to bid for the next franchise.

On 9 December 2015, it was announced that Arriva trading as Arriva Rail North had been awarded a new franchise to run from 1 April 2016 through to March 2025.

Before Abellio and Serco's Northern Rail franchise came to an end, unit 158906 received a refurbishment on one of its carriages which included free Wi-Fi, destination displays showing the expected time of arrival, and USB ports at each table.

Northern Rail Services

Northern Rail Additional Services

In December 2008 Northern Rail introduced an express service from Leeds to Nottingham calling at Wakefield Kirkgate, Barnsley, Meadowhall, Sheffield, Dronfield, Chesterfield, Alfreton and Langley Mill using a Class 158 unit. The 10:17 service from Sheffield on Sundays continues to Carlisle creating a direct train service between Sheffield and Carlisle for the first time since the demise of British Rail. The service returns from Carlisle at 15:10.

In May 2015 Northern Rail announced the re-introduction of a direct service between Blackburn and Manchester Victoria via Burnley following the reopening of the Todmorden Curve. The service operates hourly, seven days a week.

Former Services

Services on the route from Thorpes Bridge Junction, Newton Heath to Rochdale East Junction via Oldham, known as the Oldham Loop Line, ceased on 3 October 2009. The line was subsequently converted for Manchester Metrolink operation and reopened as a Metrolink route in 2012.

Northern Electrics was a brand offering electrified rail from Liverpool to Manchester.

Northern Rail Overview

Northern Rail Franchise(s): Northern Rail
12 December 2004 – 31 March 2016

Northern Rail Main Region(s): North West, North East,
Yorkshire and the Humber

Northern Rail Other Region(s): East Midlands and Staffordshire
Northern Rail Fleet Size: 333
Northern Rail Stations Called At: 526
Northern Rail Stations Operated: 464
Northern Rail Parent Company: Serco-Abellio
Northern Rail Reporting Mark: NT
Northern Rail Predecessor:
Arriva Trains Northern
First North Western

Northern Rail Successor: Arriva Rail North


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