Addleshaw Goddard has supported Hitachi Rail Europe in the completion of the sale of 19 five-car Hitachi AT300 bi-mode trains to First TransPennine Express Limited with finance provided by Angel Trains Limited.

The Hitachi AT300 trains, which can operate on both electric and diesel power, will significantly improve the experience of train travel in the North, being amongst the most advanced Inter City trains in the UK capable of running at speeds of 125 miles per hour. Each of the new trains will provide an extra 161 seats compared to the average class 185 train and will offer excellent reliability and efficiency as well as advanced customer information systems. This is a strong message for the Northern Powerhouse agenda, and reinforces the case for further investment in Northern transport infrastructure.

The new trains will be introduced to the network from December 2019, and from this date Hitachi Rail Europe will also provide full service provision, including all maintenance, cleaning and stabling, at its Doncaster Carr and Craigentinny (Edinburgh) maintenance centres, while overnight stabling and servicing will be undertaken at the Edge Hill, Heaton and York stations.

First TransPennine Express, assumed full ownership of the intercity rail franchise from Friday, April 1. The franchise provides rail services between the major towns and cities of the North and Scotland including Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Edinburgh, Newcastle, York and Glasgow.

he Department for Transport awarded the new franchise in December for a term of at least seven years. In that time TransPennine Express will oversee a £500 million investment into services in the North of England and Scotland. More than 13 million extra seats a year will be introduced as well as new direct services between Scotland and England.

Paul Hirst, Head of Transport at Addleshaw Goddard LLP, legal advisors to Hitachi Rail Europe said:

"We are very pleased to have advised Hitachi Rail Europe on this key deal for the TransPennine Express franchise and for rail passengers in the North of England. These are exciting times for HRE and for rail investment in the North and we are proud to be supporting the introduction of state of the art Inter City trains on to the TransPennine routes as an integral part of the Northern Powerhouse."

Karen Boswell, Managing Director of Hitachi Rail Europe said of the deal announcement:

"Hitachi is thrilled to be delivering a fleet of new Inter City trains for TransPennine Express, connecting cities and people with greater speed, comfort and capacity across the Northern Powerhouse region. Last September, Hitachi brought rail manufacturing back to its birthplace in the North East of England and so it is entirely fitting that our facility at Newton Aycliffe is where these new AT300 trains will be built.

Building on our contracts to deliver new IEP trains for the East Coast and Great Western Main Lines, commuter trains for Scotland, Inter City trains from London to Devon and Cornwall, as well as our existing HS1 ‘Javelin’ services operating from London and Kent, Hitachi is on track to transform rail travel for millions of fare-paying customers throughout the UK."

The new TPE franchise will deliver a total of 44 new state of the art trains. A deal for the procurement of the remaining 25 new trains is expected to be finalised soon. The first of these trains will be delivered in spring 2018.

TransPennine Express will lease the carriages from Angel Trains which financed and will own the new trains.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said of the contract award:

"This investment by FirstGroup will deliver more capacity and modern, high quality trains for passengers on the TransPennine Express Franchise.

This will also help support jobs and the economy of the North, as the majority of the vehicles will be assembled at the facility in Newton Aycliffe in County Durham. It is deals like this, supporting this Government’s record investment in transport in the North, that are helping to build a Northern Powerhouse."

Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Rail North, which will co-manage the delivery of the TPE franchise under the terms of a ground-breaking devolution agreement, said:

"This brand new inter-city rolling stock is a major step to transforming services across these routes, linking together the major economic centres of the North. It’s great to see that passengers will benefit from more seats and more modern trains on longer journeys."