Northern News

08 March 2018, 14:32

Class 68 is coming to Cumbria thanks to Northern and DRS

Class 68 is coming to Cumbria thanks to Northern and DRS: Class 68

Northern is set to provide a more reliable service for customers on the Cumbrian Coast line.

A Class 68 locomotive will be introduced from Monday 12 March to replace one of the Class 37s which currently operates on the Cumbrian Coast and Furness line.

 The train has been provided by Direct Rail Services and will provide increased reliability to support Northern’s drive to improve performance for customers.

Sharon Keith, Regional Director at Northern, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Direct Rail Services in providing this new train for our customers in north Lancashire and the Cumbrian Coast.

“This improvement to services in Cumbria feeds into our ongoing plan - and the wider Great North Rail Project - to improve the railway for all of our customers, with further improvements scheduled during the next two years.”

Sharon added: “I’d like to thank all of our customers in Cumbria for their patience and understanding and look forward to welcoming them on board this new service.”

Direct Rail Services provides a number of train operators across the UK with bespoke freight and passenger services. The Class 68 locomotive which is being provided to Northern is one of 34 currently in operation. First built in 2014, the locomotive will provide increased reliability and performance for rail services in Cumbia.

Chris Connelly, Managing Director at Direct Rail Services, said: “We’ve worked closely with Northern to improve performance on the Cumbrian Coast. We are thrilled to provide further support with our new innovative Class 68 locomotive and assist Northern in providing vital services.”

Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland, said: “The introduction of a more reliable and modern Class 68 engine is welcome, and I look forward to seeing it on the line.”

Councillor Keith Little, Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transport at Cumbria County Council added: “Cumbria County Council and the Community Rail Partnership are delighted that Northern and DRS have been able to respond to performance issues along the Cumbrian Coast Line by providing a modern, reliable unit which will bring about much needed resilience to service reliability and help restore passenger confidence.

"We continue to support Northern and DRS in seeking further improvements for this vital rail service.”

The news comes as Northern continues its modernisation programme which will see 98 brand new trains introduced by 2020. These new trains will be supported by a fleet of more than 200 fully refurbished units which will give all Northern customers high levels of comfort wherever they travel on the network.


Glyn Hellam
Media Manager
07795 008693

Notes to editors

Working together, the partnership railway of the public and private sectors has published a long-term plan, called In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, to change and improve Britain’s railway. The plan will secure almost £85bn of additional economic benefits to the country and contains four commitments which will see rail companies: strengthen our economic contribution to the country; improve customers’ satisfaction; boost the communities we serve; and, create more and better jobs in rail. For more information go to Britain Runs on Rail.


About Northern

Arriva Rail North Limited operates the Northern franchise. Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK and it will run regional and commuter services across the north until March 2025.

The operator will oversee the complete removal of Pacer trains by the end of 2019, and will invest £500 million in 98 brand new trains.

Other improvements on the Northern network are planned to include:

  • more than 2,000 extra services each week, with around 400 additional Sunday services, including new direct journeys from Bradford to Wakefield, Sheffield, Nottingham, Liverpool and Hull; from Leeds to Chester and Bridlington; from Lincoln to Leeds; and from Manchester Airport to Warrington, Bradford and Halifax
  • nearly a 40% increase in capacity - creating space for 31,000 extra passengers travelling into the five major commuter cities (Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle) of the north during the morning rush-hour
  • a new high-quality 'Northern Connect' service, meaning new or refurbished trains on longer-distance services, faster journeys and stations staffed daily with catering services and free Wi-Fi at each one - as well as serving the five major commuter cities, this network will also serve other destinations including Bradford, Halifax, Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley, Lincoln, Worksop and Retford
  • improved ticketing, including mobile and print-at-home tickets, and discounted fares for jobseekers.

Northern provides 2,800 local and regional train services every day across the north of England, serving a population of nearly 15 million. There are now 100 million passenger journeys made on our network each year.