The Department for Transport “has identified a potential solution” to the problem caused by the transfer of nine two-car Class 170 diesel multiple units from TransPennine Express to Chiltern Railways next year, and “we hope to be able to make a formal announcement later this summer,” Transport Minister Stephen Hammond said during Transport Questions in the Commons on July 10.
“The decision to move the Class 170s was made by their owner,” Hammond continued. “To address that, the Department is in commercial negotiations to develop a solution that is likely to see the introduction of more electric trains into the North, in addition to the 14 Class 319s we have already announced, to release even more diesel units.”
Hammond, who has since left the DfT following last month’s Cabinet reshuffle (RAIL 753) was replying to Diana Johnson (Labour, Kingston-upon-Hull North).
He told Martin Vickers (Conservative, Cleethorpes): “When the TransPennine Express consultation finishes, we will consider all the points made, and look to specify the necessary rolling stock requirements in the Invitation To Tender to ensure that the best services are provided for people across the north.”
Previously Ministers have said it will be for the wining bidder to specify the trains to be used.
Lilian Greenwood (Labour, Nottingham South) sought clarification on the plans for Northern Rail, asking: “Will the Minister come clean with passengers, rule out a backroom deal, and let people know what is planned for their area?”
Hammond said the consultation is still under way, and that when it ends: “We will consider all the responses. There is no question of any backroom deal.”
Philip Hollobone (Conservative, Kettering) raised the issue of there being only an hourly service northwards from that town. Hammond responded that he would speak to East Midlands Trains about the issue.
The Class 170s (170301-170309) are owned by Porterbrook.