Around £400m will be invested in 98 new 160km/h multiple units (281 vehicles) comprising 43 EMUs (three and four-car) and 55 DMUs (two and three-car), which will enable the withdrawal of the fleet of class 142 and 144 Pacer railbuses by 2019. Tendering for the new trains is underway and Arriva says it expects to sign a contract by April.

The new EMUs will be deployed on Northern Connect services from Blackpool, Windermere and Preston to Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Airport, Crewe, and Stoke-on-Trent. They will also be used on Manchester - Glossop/Hadfield services, which are currently operated by class 323 EMUs, and supplement the existing fleet of class 333 EMUs on services from Leeds to Ilkley, Skipton, and Doncaster.

Arriva says the new DMUs will operate "almost all" diesel Northern Connect services, which will link northern England's core cities (Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, and Newcastle) with destinations including Chester, Barrow-in-Furness, Lincoln, Nottingham, and Hull.

In addition to the new trains, Arriva will receive DMUs released from the ScotRail and Great Western franchises as a result of electrification.

  • Carillion announced on December 11 that it has been selected by Arriva as preferred bidder for a £120m facilities management contract for the Northern franchise. The contract covers a range of services including asset surveys and asset planning, planned and reactive maintenance for over 460 stations, helpdesk services, cleaning, grounds maintenance, waste management and pest control. The nine-year contract, which includes an option for a one-year extension, will start when the new franchise begins in April 2016.