First fully refurbished train for North East enters service

Northern 158849
Credit: Steven Taylor

Northern has announced that it has introduced its first refurbished train to the North East.

Unveiled on Tuesday 5th of March, 158 849 features USB power sockets, free Wi-Fi, new seating with more leg room and new lighting. The unit, along with the rest of the ‘Northern Connect’ fleet, will soon feature digital seat reservations.

158 849 will initially work services on the Tyne Valley line, however will travel further afield when more units complete the refurbishment process.

The introduction of a fully refurbished train to the North East coincides with Northern’s announcement of over half of their trains completing a cosmetic refurbishment.

158 849 joins the fleet of 10 Class 158s (all 158/7s, 158 845, and 158 849) that have received cosmetic refurbishment, and is the second to be of ‘Northern Connect’ standard.

The following companies were involved in the refurbishment process:

  • Panasonic (CCTV, media screens, USB power, and automatic passenger counting)
  • Icomera (Customer Wi-Fi)
  • Dilax (Digital seat reservations)
  • Huber & Suhner (Cabling and roof antenna)
  • Belvoir (Fabrications)
  • Arriva Train Care (Fitting)
  • Ricardo (Designs)
What did the officials say?

Regional Director for Northern’s North East operations, Anna Weeks, said:

“We have promised our customers in the North East a step-change in the trains they will see and the launch of our first digital train in the region shows exactly what they can expect.

“The Class 158 will serve our customers on the Tyne Valley line initially, but as more are refurbished they will travel further afield.

“I’m proud to see this train out on our network, we already have a second refurbished train ready for use, and I look forward to introducing more in the near future.”

Ben Ackroyd, Northern’s Engineering Director added:

“The refurbishment of our existing trains is a massive programme of work and a huge investment for Northern – to reach a milestone of 50 per cent is great news.

“We are committed to improving our customers’ on-board experience and the refurbishment programme is really gathering pace. Future work on the refurbishment programme will see the introduction of free customer Wi-Fi, at seat power and customer information media screens on all our trains.”

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  • The Class 158 and Class 159 are the most reliable DMU trains in the country. Northern, SWR, GWR and ScotRail have refurbished the units and should remain in service for at least 20-25 years. As the government is to get rid of older diesel trains by 2040.

    So far Northern have got 8 Class 170s from ScotRail with another 8 to be cascaded to Northern. As they said they want 16 Class 170s.