Northern Trains has teamed up with Porterbrook Leasing to develop a new rolling stock concept.
The variant of the Class 319 electric train is able to operate over electrified and non-electrified routes, spreading the benefits of electrification to more rail users.
The project is supported by Rail North, representing local authorities in the north of England.
Zena Dent, projects and technical director for Porterbrook, said: “The highly innovative Class 319 Flex will be a flexible and highly efficient unit that will provide operators with a ‘go anywhere’ train, something which is not currently available with any other rolling stock solution.”
David Hoggarth, Rail North director, said: “We are very pleased to work together with rail industry partners to support the development of this innovative rolling stock solution that will contribute to the transformation of rail services currently underway in the north of England, helping to support economic growth.”
And Rob Warnes, performance and planning director for Northern, said: “We are really proud to be involved in this pioneering development. Bi-mode trains will bring the benefits of railway modernisation, to more customers, more quickly. This technology opens up new opportunities to spread the benefits of electrification to non-electrified routes, delivering more capacity and bringing exciting innovation to the North’s railways”
Concept design work is now complete and work has started with Wabtec/Brush on the detailed design phase of the project.
The first units will be in passenger service with Northern by spring 2018 and from then on will be available to a wide range of operators who will be able to make full use of electrically powered rolling stock.