New train franchises will replace the hated “cattle truck” Pacer trains.
Crowding on trains will be a thing of the past for Sheffield commuters when a modern franchise replaces the “rickety” Pacer trains, according to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Mr Clegg, who made this announcement with Transport Secretary Patrick McLough, the new train franchise will cater 5,000 more commuters each day as well as provide a better and more comfortable rail transport system than the current one.
“You get on these rickety old Pacer trains – I was on one the other day – and there is nothing pace-like about them. A lot of them were put together from old bus parts and stuck on wheels,” Mr Clegg said, adding, “These Pacer trains wouldn’t be acceptable to commuters in London or the south, so they shouldn’t be acceptable to commuters in the north.”
Apart from being required to show how they will replace the trains which date back to the 1980s companies bidding for the new Northern and TransPennine franchises are also expected to put in a £40m investment that would enable them to introduce new services, including free Wi-Fi across the whole of the north.
“These new trains will replace those, crowding will be reduced and its estimated that another 5,000 Sheffield commuters will be accommodated in the course of a morning and evening peak times – it is a big significant expansion. These new plans are the minimum we expect from the new franchises – what we hope is that they will improve on that and come up with some of their own ideas;” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
The bids for this project are expected to be in by June this year as the new franchises are set to begin in April, 2016.
Sheffield is linked with other major cities and towns by both Northern and TransPennine services.
Mr Clegg empasised that the Government desired to all trains modernised. He said the TransPennine franchise was the best option to boost connections between major northern cities such as Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester and that all old trains had to be a thing of the past by 2020.