Westhoughton’s rail users will be relieved to hear that new trains with more seats are to be introduced – but they have a bit of a wait.
The current Pacer trains which run through Westhoughton and Daisy Hill railway stations are to be banned under the Disability Discrimination Act because they are inaccessible for some users.
Arriva, which has just been awarded the new rail franchise, has promised to replace the trains and increase capacity.
But rail users will be dismayed to learn that they will have to wait three years before the replacements are completed.
Westhoughton councillor David Wilkinson said: “Many Westhoughton residents have told me that the improvements can’t come soon enough.”
The £1 billion of investment will include:
- 281 new carriages
- 2,000 more trains each week – an increase of 12 per cent across the Northern network by 2019
- Longer trains will increase capacity by 37 per cent at peak times
- New seating and waiting areas and more access to information at stations
- New advanced and off-peak fares with ‘easier ticketing options’
- New trains will have free WiFi
Arriva will operate the franchise under a refreshed Northern brand and working closely with transport partners Rail North, will deliver the services to help support the Government’s plans to revitalise the North’s economy.
On 1 April 2016 over 5,500 Northern employees will join Arriva. They will share in Arriva’s experience in providing train services in seven countries, coupled with a track record of innovation that will deliver a transformation in the travelling experience for customers.
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.”
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