At 07.00 on Thursday 27 February, from Manchester Victoria Station, Transport Secretary the Rt. Hon. Patrick McLoughlin MP announced the publication of the Invitations to Tender for the next Northern and Transpennine Express rail franchises. The ITT for the Northern franchise stated that from December 2017, the operators of that franchise had to provide the following services as a minimum.Monday to SaturdayEleven services departing from Barrow-in-Furness to Lancaster shall also call at Preston.Eight of these shall also call at Manchester Airport. Each of these services must not call at more than two intermediate stations between Preston and Manchester Oxford Road.SundaySix services from Barrow-in-Furness to Lancaster shall also call at Preston. Four of these services shall also call at Manchester Airport. Each of these services must not call at more than two intermediate stations between Preston and Manchester Oxford Road.In addition to the specified services, on a Sunday, one further service shall be provided departing from Barrow-in-Furness to Carnforth, which shall arrive at Carnforth no later than 08:45. This service shall call at all intermediate stations. And a return service departing Carnforth no later than 09:00, also calling at all intermediate stations. This will be the earliest Sunday departure and arrival in Barrow for many years.And there will also be a Sunday service from Whitehaven to Barrow. Four trains from Whitehaven and nine from Millom. There will be four through services to and from Carlisle to Barrow-in-Furness.This will be the first regular Sunday service on the whole of the Cumbrian Coast line for over thirty years
At the same time he and the Rt. Hon. Nick Clegg MP, the Deputy Prime Minister, unveiled "Transformation of Rail Travel in the North", a plan, which would when finished, give rail passengers in the north of England more seats, more services and a brand new fleet of modern trains.
The plan includes :-
Removal of the existing Pacer trains by 2020
The ordering at least 120 new-build carriages
Modernising every train operating on the Northern franchise
Doubling the number of services on many routes on the Northern franchise and
Providing more services for commuters and during off-peak times and on Sundays