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“Please help me persuade First TransPennine Express to put more carriages onto airport trains” – Alan Gent


Alan Gent

As with most trains going to and from the airport, the train companies never put on enough rolling stock. Most recently I came back from Sheffield last Friday and had to stand all the way back to Stockport as the train was packed. By definition many airport trains will carry people who have booked tickets and yet the train opco's seemingly ignore this.
This is 2012, we shouldn't have to stand on any train journey!

Problem History

  • 1 Alan Gent reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 13:47 10 Oct 2011
  • 2 Alan Gent wrote to First TransPennine Express close 13:47 10 Oct 2011

    Here is the letter that Alan Gent wrote.

    Severe Overcrowding

    As with most trains going to and from the airport, the train companies never put on enough rolling stock. Most recently I came back from Sheffield last Friday and had to stand all the way back to Stockport as the train was packed. By definition many airport trains will carry people who have booked tickets and yet the train opco's seemingly ignore this.
    This is 2012, we shouldn't have to stand on any train journey!

  • 3 First Group Response responded to Alan Gent close 13:54 10 Oct 2011
    Thank you for contacting First TransPennine Express. This is an automated response so please do not reply.

    We respond to emails in the order they are received and we aim to respond as quickly as we can. (Usually within 5 working days)

    If we are receiving a high level of correspondence or if your contact requires a detailed investigation we may take up to 20 working days to respond.

    If your enquiry is urgent please contact the correct team below and we'll be happy to help.
    Web Ticket Sales Support, 0844 556 5637 or visit our web sales live chat
    Train running information, 0845 748 4950
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    Other enquiry, 0845 600 1671


    Customer Relations Team
    First TransPennine Express
  • 4 Dave H commented close 19:54 11 Oct 2011

    You have 3 operators on this route - Transpennine, who operate a mix of Class 185 (3 car) and Class 170 (2 car) trains The latter often run as 4 car units because 2 cars are not enough, and this route uses the 170's largely because the 185's are needed for longer journeys. At one time there was a proposal to built 4th cars for Class 185's and Bombardier has just finished a production run of 170-compatible bodyshells for Class 172 trains. However DfT policy is no to build no more diesel trains. This is a clear reason to lobby for Bombardier's production line to get a small run-on order for intermediate cars for Class 170's, as thnis would enable TPE, Cross-Country, London Midland, and Southern to extend their Class 170 fleets to make 2 car trains into 3 car ones and possibly 3 car into 4 car, resolving overcrowding issues swiftly. The bodyshells for Class 170 are similar to those for the Class 377, 378, 379 electric trains and might be built for future conversion.

    This is not an outcome I'd expect to get any DfT commitment though as it is now over 900 days (nearly 3 years) since an actual ORDER for new trains has been authorised (ie cheques signed and contracts completed) plenty of talking up and figures being fiddled with but no action.

    E Midlands trains also run a train between Sheffield and Manchester 2 car Class 158's fully refurbished and very nice inside, with the hideous cupboard removed and replaced by bike space and tip-up seats. Some Class 158's have a middle car, and First GW has split some 2 car trains to make 3 car ones. Produced by BR and thus unlikely to justify setting up production line for additional vehicles.

    Finally Northern use the nodding donkey Class 142's and are getting more of these bus bodies on converted versions of the 2 axle goods wagon chassis when First GW get cascaded trains from Birmingham. These are the slow stopping trains and call at all the stops - get very full with commuters especially if only 2 coaches (102 seats). Nickname well describes the ride on jointed track especially.

    Bombardier needs work to fill gap until new TfL order for Underground trains, we need more carriages for modern DMU's. To most people the answer is blindingly obvious!

  • 5 Peter Dixon commented close 21:51 11 Oct 2011

    Actually, people should stand on some of their journeys. Standing space is capacity on a train and a bus and it should be being used on short journeys. A hour standing though is not very acceptable in the grand scheme of things.

    Travellers between Manchester and Sheffield should gain this December from extra trains for East Midlands Trains (allowing all of their services on this route to run four carriages). In addition, Northern Rail is gaining extra rail carriages for its services. The problem is that the company that runs from Sheffield to the Airport (Transpennine) will not gain any extra capacity in the short term.

    The Northern Hub including extra tracks through Dore and electrification of the railway line between Manchester and Liverpool should see this route gain more capacity for passengers in 2013.

    I know that this information does not improve your poor journey experience but I hope it helps you understand what is planned for this route. It is actually looking quite good on the horizon.

  • 6 TPE Customer Relations responded to Alan Gent close 23:47 13 Oct 2011
    Customer Relations Team
    First TransPennine Express
    ADMAIL 3878
    M1 9YB
    Tel: 0845 6001671
    Fax: 0845 6008363


    Dear Customer

    Thank you for contacting First TransPennine Express regarding your journey of 7 October 2011. Please accept my apologies for the difficulties you encountered whilst travelling on the 2012 service between Sheffield and Stockport.

    I am sorry for the discomfort that you experienced during the course of your journey because of the crowded conditions on the train. We want our customers to travel in comfort and appreciate the anxiety that is caused by such conditions. We aim to deploy our current fleet in the most effective way possible in order to meet the anticipated demand for each service but as we only have a limited fleet, there are services that are scheduled to run with fewer carriages than others.

    As a business we are constantly seeking ways to increase our capacity, however at this stage in our franchise, and with discussions taking place within the Department for Transport regarding the possibility of electrification across some of our routes, we are not currently in a position to procure additional rolling stock.

    As many of our customers hold fully flexible tickets and reservations are optional we cannot always anticipate the capacity required. We are therefore only able to offer compensation when passengers have to stand for the duration of their journey and a seat reservation was held.

    If you held any seat reservations, and stood for your journey we will be happy to award the relevant compensation. So that this may be calculated, please forward the relevant journey ticket to me at the above freepost address, quoting case reference: 6230751/TPE at your earliest convenience. As soon as I have received this, I will be happy to issue the relevant compensation.

    Once again thank you for contacting First TransPennine Express and I do hope to hear from you soon.

    Yours sincerely

    Jackie Boyd
    Customer Relations Advisor

    First/Keolis TransPennine Limited. Registered in England & Wales No. 4113923. Registered office: 50 Eastbourne Terrace, Paddington, London, W2 6LX.

    *** Your feedback is really important to us so we would be very grateful for a couple of moments of your time to complete our customer satisfaction survey. For your chance to win a pair of First Class complementary tickets for travel anywhere on the TransPennine Express network, please click on the link below. ***

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    First Rail Holdings Limited. Registered in England No. 5154485. Registered office: 50 Eastbourne Terrace, Paddington, London W2 6LG.

    This message is confidential. It may not be disclosed to, or used by, anyone other than the addressee. If you receive this message in error, please advise us immediately.

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  • 7 Maxine Myers commented close 14:32 01 Mar 2012

    Hi Alan

    I am Customer Relations Manager for First TransPennine Express. Just wanted to drop you a quick note to advise you, if you weren't already aware, that this week we announced an additional 10 trains will be added to our fleet starting at the back end of next year.

    The new trains will be 4 car electric vehicles and are to be used specifically on the Anglo Scottish routes, but this will free up some rolling stock that we can spread across other parts of our network and we are aware of which services are particularly busy and could do with a bit of strengthening.

    Hope this gives you some comfort that we are interested in making improvements and do take feedback seriously.

    Kind regards

    Maxine Myers

  • 8 Alan Gent commented close 14:51 01 Mar 2012

    That's great news. Thanks for listening - and more! I hope we receive some on the Manchester bound lines.

  • started 10 October 2011
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Train route between Manchester Airport and Sheffield operated by First TransPennine Express
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