First cascaded Class 319 arrives in North West

The first of 14 four-car Class 319 (319361) electric multiple units that are being transferred from First Capital Connect to Northern Rail arrived at Allerton depot (Merseyside) on June 20. 

The fleet of EMUs will be used on Liverpool Lime Street to St Helens/Wigan and Manchester services, once phase 2 of the North West Electrification Programme is completed in December (RAIL 745, 746).

Northern expects the second Class 319 to arrive from FCC in August. 

“Initially we are looking at familiarisation and training for our engineering teams, with train crew learning to follow on after the summer,” the train operator told RAIL.

Northern’s Class 319s will have an exterior and interior refresh, while the units will also be modified so that the doors will be controlled by the conductor.

Northern confirmed it is “still working towards introducing the first two Class 319s into passenger operation from December 2014”, with the remainder phased in by the end of 2015. 

Further electric trains will not be needed by the Northern franchise until the next phase of the electrification programme - Stalybridge to Manchester Piccadilly and to Manchester Victoria/Preston - is complete at the end of 2016, by which time the introduction of these trains will be the responsibility of the new franchisee. 

It will be some time before it is known how many of the diesel units being displaced by the arrival of the Class 319s will stay with Northern, although TransPennine Express needs high-quality diesel units to replace the nine two-car Class 170s that are heading for Chiltern Railways in 2015.

Class 319s are being cascaded from the Thameslink route where Electrostars are being cascaded to from Southern, which is receving new EMUs. All ‘319s’ will be replaced, eventually, by Siemens Class 700s.

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