Changes to Services

We have continued to take into account stakeholder and customer feedback during the Emergency Timetable period to make amendments where we can. From Monday 20th April will be making the following changes to service:

  • The current Southport-Stalybridge service via Bolton and Manchester Victoria will operate to and from Manchester Oxford Road. This is to improve key worker access from the Southport/Bolton corridor to the hospitals in the Oxford Road area. The service will also call at Deansgate to allow access to the new NHS Nightingale hospital at Manchester Central. Customers for Ashton-under-Lyne should change at Deansgate for Manchester Metrolink services on which National Rail Tickets to/from Ashton will be valid. Stalybridge customers are advised to use Transpennine Express services to/from Manchester Piccadilly or Manchester Victoria. There are regular bus services linking Stalybridge and Ashton-under-Lyne.
  • There will be additional 0605 and 2130 Blackpool North-Preston services and 0635 and 2200 Preston-Blackpool North services, in response to requests to cater for Blackpool Victoria hospital.
  • The 0620 Liverpool Lime St-Manchester Oxford Road via Warrington Central is retimed to depart at 0610 and run 10 minutes earlier throughout, in response to requests to cater for Trafford General hospital.
  • Some Barrow/Windermere-Manchester Airport services are retimed to start earlier, to avoid clashes with other services that are running on the West Coast Main Line. Calling patterns are unaltered. Timings for services in the other direction (Manchester Airport-Windermere/Barrow are unaffected).

Current Timetable Facts

During the current Emergency Timetable Period we are operating 1,289 trains Monday-Friday compared to 2,842 under the normal timetable (about 45%). For this we are using 140 units compared to the usual 310. The current volume of customers who are travelling with us remains around 5% of the usual total which could be expected under normal circumstances.


Some of you are interested in what is happening with the remaining Pacers. We retain 4x Class 142s in our fleet and all of these are currently stored at Blackburn. None of them are currently in daily service. The majority of our 23x Class 144s are currently stored at the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway which is currently playing host to 12x of the 2-car and 6x 3-car units. The derogation to operate Pacers expires later on this year.

Train Refurbishment and PRM

Refurbishment and Passenger of Reduced Mobility (PRM) works to our legacy stock is continuing to take place at various sites around the country albeit at a slower pace compared to pre Coronavirus disruption. In our East region Saturday saw the completion of a major milestone with the final Class 333 train released from refurbishment.

New Trains

We have now accepted the following new trains (96) into the fleet:

  • 25x 2-car Class 195
  • 30x 3-car Class 195
  • 29x 3-car Class 331
  • 12x 4-car Class 331

Very shortly we will receive our final 5 new trains:

  • 2x 3-car Class 331
  • 3x 3-car Class 195

Later this year we will be introducing some 6-car services onto our Liverpool-Blackpool North and Liverpool-Wigan North Western services using the new trains. These 6-car formations have already proven very successful in transforming customer experience on the Blackpool-Preston-Bolton-Manchester corridor and we are looking forward to providing similar benefits in Liverpool City Region and beyond. It’s worth remembering that these 6-car sets have 76% more total passenger capacity than some of the electric trains they will replace (Class 319).

I hope that this update is of use to you.

Kind Regards,


Owain Roberts

Regional Stakeholder Manager

Mobile: 07583 087862

Northern Trains Limited,

Floor C, County Hall,

Pitt Street,

Preston, PR1 8XB