"Fantastic" new Northern trains will make a difference to the travelling experience for Yorkshire commuters when they are introduced in parts of the region next week, a senior councillor has claimed.
The new trains for customers in Bradford, Skipton and Ilkley were unveiled today and will operate from Monday, with more new rolling stock to come before the end of the year.
It comes after it emerged that a number of service improvements due to be introduced this December as part of operator Northern's Train Service Requirement will now not come in on time.
These include a new fast service between Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield, Sheffield and Nottingham and direct links from Bradford, Halifax and Calder Valley to Manchester Airport and Liverpool.
A new report into rail services in West Yorkshire revealed that the hated Pacer trains that were due to be removed from service by the end of the year will still be used on local lines until next Summer.
Northern has ordered 101 new trains as part of a £500m investment in rail in the North. There are already 15 trains operating on a number of routes and more will follow throughout 2019 and into 2020.
The vehicles feature free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, at-seat power and customer information/media screens with real-time information. They are also more spacious for customers and are fully accessible with spaces for wheel chairs and cycles, the firm says.
Kim Groves, Chair of Transport Committee from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: “I am delighted that Northern’s new trains will soon be operating to and from Bradford and across the north of England.
“They have been long awaited and no doubt there have been challenges but they are fantastic vehicles that will make a difference to everyone’s travelling experience.
“Northern’s new trains will enable better access to employment, to business and to education and will no doubt support West Yorkshire’s economic growth. They are a vital step to a better connected Bradford and north of England.”
“I am looking forward to future announcements across West Yorkshire and I will continue to work closely with Northern to deliver for customers and address infrastructure constraints.”
Steve Hopkinson, Northern’s Regional Director said: “These fantastic trains are a true step-change in travelling experience and we are extremely proud to be delivering a £500m investment.
“From early September we will have 20 brand new trains carrying customers, with more to come throughout 2019 and into 2020.”