Extra train carriages on Leeds services

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Rail passengers using Leeds station were promised extra carriages on services connecting the city to the North West today.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced that there will be a minimum of three carriages on all transpennine services connecting Leeds and other West Yorkshire stations with Liverpool and Manchester.

At the moment some trains operated by First TransPennine Express only have two carriages.

Mr McLoughlin said: ““Rail services across the north are vital for passengers and for the economy. By helping people access work and leisure more easily, we are securing long-term economic growth across the region.

“That is why we have worked hard with Northern and TransPennine Express to ensure we expand services and enhance passenger journeys.”

There was controversy last year when it emerged that nine trains are due to be transferred from the already stretched transpennine franchise to Chiltern Railways in April as the result of a leasing deal.

Nick Donovan, managing director for First TransPennine Express which operates the transpennine franchise, said: “A great deal of background work has been undertaken by ourselves, Northern Rail and the Department for Transport that seeks to ensure capacity and frequency of FTPE services across our network is maintained for the timetable change in May 2015.

“I am delighted that we have been able to work together and develop a plan that aims to protect rail services for the huge majority of customers in the north of England and, indeed, deliver some additional capacity at a time when demand across our network is higher than ever.”

Labour said the deal announced today was only a “temporary solution”.

Shadow Rail Minister Lillian Greenwood said: “They may have pushed the problem down the line, but delays to the electrification programme are threatening Ministers’ entire strategy for rail services in the North.

“Passengers will also be disappointed that the Ministers have failed to address the future of Northern’s antiquated Pacer trains in today’s announcement.”

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