BRITISH train operator TransPennine Express (TPE) has published a Request for Expressions of Interest (EoI) regarding options for additional trains to operate across its network.

TPE operates trains across northern England between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Hull, York and Newcastle. TPE also operates trains from northern England to Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland.

The operator says the purpose of the EOI is to identify interest from potential suppliers in order to inform long-term rolling stock investment decisions by the British government to realise the benefits of the Trans-Pennine route upgrade (TRU).

The EoI is separate to a recent launch of a tender for up to 30 bi-mode locomotives which would replace the Stadler class 68s sub-leased from Direct Rail Services by TPE to haul CAF Mk 5A coaches.

TPE says a key requirement of the latest EOI is to align the capabilities made possible by the TRU. It says it is seeking flexibility in train configurations, with options for five, six or seven coaches per train. Potential suppliers are also being asked to consider where new a depot, or depots, should be constructed.

Four options are being considered according to the EOI:

  • Lot 1 - 25 five-car bi-modes with an option for up to a further 82 vehicles
  • Lot 2a - 18 five-car EMUs with an option for up to a further 46 vehicles
  • Lot 2b - 11 five-car bi-modes with an option for up to a further 44 vehicles, and
  • Lot 3 - 60 coaches with an option for up to a further 34 vehicles

The EoI follows the British government’s decision to award an eight-year contract for First Group to continue operating TPE until 2031.

The current TPE fleet includes a mixture of 51 three-car Siemens Desiro class 185 DMUs, 13 five-car CAF Mk 5A rakes, 12 five-car CAF class 397 EMUs, and 19 five-car Hitachi class 802/2 bi-modes. The class 185s entered traffic in 2006, while the other fleets entered service from 2019 onwards.

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