New blow for rail operator Northern as fault halts training on new flagship trains

As Northern Rail prepares to release its May timetable change next week, the rail operator has been hit by a new blow.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 1:36 pm
Updated Friday, 15th March 2019, 1:38 pm
One of the new CAF built trains being tested on UK tracks late last year

The company, which avoided a fine this week by the Office of Rail Regulation over last May’s timetable chaos, has revealed that there is a problem with its flagship new build trains.

It is investing £580m in a stable of 98 new electric and diesel trains with 281 carriages.

Testing started on UK tracks late last year but now it has been revealed that all training has been halted after a fault had been found linked to coupling bars.

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Northern bosses visited train manufacturer CAF in Spain with representatives from train owner Eversholt Rail to see the build of the new diesel and electric trains which will help improve services for Lancashire communters

The trains and carriages are being built by manufacturer CAF at its factories in Irun and Zaragoza, Spain and will be owned by Eversholt Rail.

A spokesman for Northern said: “Over recent weeks, we have been putting our brand new trains through their testing programme before bringing them into service for customers during 2019.

“We have also been training our drivers on the new trains. During the testing, we identified a small mechanical design issue that requires a fix before we resume the testing and driver training. We are already working on the solution and will be back on track with our testing and training soon.

“During 2019, our customers will see new and refurbished trains across our network. These trains - along with improvements in stations and services - will provide a much better experience for our customers.”

He added that the set-back should not have any affect on the May timetable due for release next week.

There will be 43 electric and 55 diesels all with free Wifi and power sockets plus digital information screens for passengers.