Arriva Trains Northern

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Arriva Trains Northern
Arriva logo.svg
153304 at Doncaster.JPG
Franchise(s): Regional Railways North East
18 February 2000 – 11 December 2004
Main region(s): North East, Yorkshire
Other region(s): North West, North Midlands
Fleet size: 169 until February 2004, 141 after
National Rail abbreviation: AN
Parent company: Arriva

Arriva Trains Northern[1] was a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by Arriva that operated the Regional Railways North East franchise from February 2000 until December 2004.


The Regional Railways North East franchise was awarded by the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising to MTL with the franchise commencing on 2 March 1997. Originally trading as Regional Railways North East it was rebranded Northern Spirit in May 1998 with longer distance services running under the TransPennine Express brand. On 18 February 2000 MTL was purchased by Arriva.[2]


Arriva Trains Northern operated a mix of long distance regional, local urban and rural passenger services in the North of England and Yorkshire extending across the Pennines.

The network extended from Carlisle and Newcastle in the north to Scarborough, Hull and Cleethorpes on the east coast down to Sheffield and across to Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool and Morecambe on the West Coast. The long distance regional services connecting Sunderland, Newcastle, Scarborough and Hull with Manchester, Liverpool and Blackpool were operated under the TransPennine Express banner, the rest as Arriva Trains Northern.

Northern Spirit had introduced a daily Leeds to Glasgow Central via the Settle & Carlisle and West Coast Main Lines in September 1999. This service ceased in September 2003 at the request of the Strategic Rail Authority.[3]

Arriva Trains Northern's non TransPennine Express routes were similar to Northern Rail's current Routes 1-5, 7 and 8.

there was also a service between Newcastle and Whitehaven (reversing at carlisle)


During the first half of the franchise period, Arriva Trains Northern suffered many problems. Carried over from the Northern Spirit era, a shortage of drivers and rolling stock lead to many cancellations on a daily basis. An emergency timetable was later brought in which cancelled many services on a permanent basis rather than random as before. A long running dispute with the RMT union lead to a prolonged period of industrial action.

Rolling Stock[edit]

An Arriva Trains Northern Mark 2 carriage at Carlisle

Arriva Trains Northern inherited a fleet of Class 142, Class 144, Class 150, Class 155, Class 156, Class 158, Class 308 and Class 321s from Northern Spirit. In 2000 16 Class 333s that had been ordered by Northern Spirit to replace the Class 308s, entered service.

A shortage of available rolling stock to meet increasing demand led Arriva Trains Northern to lease Class 37s and Mark 2 carriages from EWS to top and tail a daily service from Leeds to Carlisle for 12 months from September 2003.[4]

Class Image Type Top speed Number Built
mph km/h
Class 142 Pacer Colne railway station 05C495.jpg Diesel multiple unit 75 120 6 1985-1987
Class 144 Pacer 144001lincoln.JPG Diesel multiple unit 75 120 23 1986-1987
Class 150 Sprinter Arriva NWalesTrain.JPG Diesel multiple unit 75 120 10 1985-1987
Class 153 Super Sprinter 153304 at Doncaster.JPG Diesel multiple unit 75 120 20 1987-1988
Class 155 Super Sprinter Northern-155346-02.jpg Diesel multiple unit 75 120 7 1987-1988
Class 156 Super Sprinter 156443 at Carlisle.JPG Diesel multiple unit 75 120 46 1987-1989
Class 158 Express Sprinter 158908 at Doncaster.JPG Diesel multiple unit 90 145 38 1989-1992
Class 308 British Rail Class 308 at Leeds 1996.jpg Electric multiple unit 75 120 33 1961
Class 321 321901 at Doncaster.JPG Electric multiple unit 100 160 3 1991
Class 333 Northern-333xxx-01.jpg Electric multiple unit 100 160 16 2000


Arriva Trains Northern's fleet was maintained at Heaton and Neville Hill depots.


In 2000 the Strategic Rail Authority announced that it planned to create a new TransPennine Express franchise transferring Arriva Train Northern's long distance regional services with the remainder to be combined with those of the Regional Railways North West franchise to form a new Northern Rail franchise.[5]

On 28 July 2003 the Strategic Rail Authority awarded the TransPennine franchise to First/Keolis with services operated by Arriva Trains Northern transferring to First TransPennine Express on 1 February 2004.[6]

On 1 July 2004 the Strategic Rail Authority awarded the Northern franchise to Abellio/Serco with the remaining services operated by Arriva Trains Northern transferring to Northern Rail on 12 December 2004.[7]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 3007932 Arriva Trains Northern Limited
  2. ^ Recommended Cash Offer for MTL Services Arriva plc Press Release 18 February 2000
  3. ^ Stakeholder Briefing: Northern Rail Franchise Strategic Rail Authority Briefing June 2003
  4. ^ Rail Magazine Issue 480 4 February 2004 Page 40
  5. ^ The Trans-Pennine Express rail franchise Yorkshire & The Humber Transport Activist's Roundtable Briefing Note October 2001
  6. ^ SRA Announce Preferred Bidder for TransPennine Express Franchise Strategic Rail Authority Press Release 28 July 2003
  7. ^ Serco joint venture selected as preferred bidder for Northern Rail train operating franchise Serco Group plc Press Release 1 July 2004
Preceded by
Northern Spirit
Operator of the Regional Railways North East franchise
2000 - 2004
Succeeded by
Northern Rail
Northern franchise
Succeeded by
First TransPennine Express
TransPennine Express franchise