TransPennine Express accept first Nova 3 train

TransPennine Express 68 at Todmorden
Credit: Harry Gribbins / RailAdvent

TransPennine Express have announced that they have accepted the first of 13 five-carriage ‘Nova 3’ train sets into their fleet.

Nova 3; formed of a Class 68 locomotive, four Mk5a coaches, and a Mk5a Driving Trailer Standard Open (DTSO), is set to operate services from Liverpool Lime Street to Scarborough in the first instance, with a possible further roll out on Manchester Airport to Middlesbrough services once more train sets are introduced.

The announcement comes after a number of setbacks throughout the testing phases, including “technical issues with key onboard systems”.

Nova 3 will now enter a period of staff training before entering passenger service later this year.

Nova 3 Facts

  • 287 seats (257 standard class and 30 first class), approximately more 106 seats per train compared to the current fleet,
  • Real-time passenger information systems in each carriage,
  • Four toilets, three standard and one universally accessible toilet,
  • Storage for up to four bicycles (must have reservations) compared to the current two per train,
  • Electronic seat reservation system,
  • Free Wi-Fi, TPE’s ‘Exstream’ entertainment service, and power sockets at every pair of seats,
  • Built by CAF in Spain, financed and leased by Beacon Rail, maintained at Alstom in Manchester.

Nova 3 Formation





Driving Trailer / Standard Class

Standard class seating with driving cab and no toilet.


Standard Class

Standard class seating with non-wheelchair accessible toilet.


Standard Class

Standard class seating with non-wheelchair accessible toilet.


Standard Class

Standard class seating with non-wheelchair accessible toilet.


First Class

First class seating with Guard’s compartment, wheelchair accessible toilet and catering.

Class 68 Locomotive


What do you think of the new trains, let us know in the comments below!

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  • Do you know when the Class 397 ‘Nova 2’ EMU trains will be introduced in service that will replace the Class 350/4 Desiro EMU units to West Midlands Trains. As the ‘Nova 3’ Class 68+Mk5A is scheduled for passenger service in few months time that TransPennine Express will first into these new fleet in service. And Class 802 ‘Nova 1’ IET units will also be introduced in passenger service from late this year (November/December).

  • Great News of these new units coming into service this year maybe now we will be able to get a seat on the trains between Scarborough and York and beyond to Leeds ! ! !

  • Would have been great if they could have built more and used them on a Newcastle to Edinburgh and Newcastle to Glasgow service. Pity scotrail didn’t get some for the Fife circles and the Edinburgh and Glasgow to Aberdeen and Inverness services.

  • So, it is only first class passengers in a wheel chair that have access to a toilet … What happens if a passenger who has purchased a standard ticket needs access to a toilet ?