The business community has welcomed planned improvements to the Transpennine Express service as a key driver for improving links between major cities.
Operator First TransPennine Expresshas has launched a new timetable with extra services for trains heading to Manchester and Liverpool, cutting some local stations, allowing the notoriously slow journey to be speeded up by around 24 minutes for journeys between Newcastle and Manchester and 43 minutes faster to Liverpool. There will also be six more services a day to and from Manchester.
Law firm Ward Hadaway, which has operations right across the Pennines as well as its Newcastle base, commended the improvements, but said more could yet be done.
Managing partner Jamie Martin said: “If we are to generate more business between the great cities of the North and to create growth across the region we clearly need a better transport system and, particularly, a better train service, so this announcement of more services and shorter journey times is very welcome.
“Whilst cutting 24 minutes off the journey time between Newcastle and Manchester does not address all the issues it is nonetheless a good start. Nevertheless, Transpennine trains still tend to be smaller than normal inter-city services and are often very crowded. I still maintain that a regular express service linking the North East with the North West through Yorkshire and stopping at the major cities would make a real difference to doing business across the North.”