FirstGroup win: Extra year for Transpennine service

First Transpennine Express has operated the service for the last ten years. Picture: PA
First Transpennine Express has operated the service for the last ten years. Picture: PA
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FirstGroup has agreed a contract with the Department for Transport for its joint venture Transpennine Express rail franchise to run for a further year until 2016.

First Transpennine Express has operated the service for the last ten years and the extension to next April will take the franchise up to the date when the UK government will then award a new long-term contract for the route.

The current inter-city franchise carries 26 million people a day between the North West, Yorkshire and the north east of England and into Scotland.

It is a joint venture between Aberdeen-based FirstGroup, which controls 55 per cent of the operation, and French transport group Keolis.

FirstGroup said £330 million had been invested in new trains and station improvements since 2004, adding that passenger journeys had doubled to 26 million during that time.

Chief executive Tim O’Toole said: “This agreement provides continuity and consistency for First TransPennine Express passengers ahead of submitting our bid for the new franchise.”