The train has been provided by Direct Rail Services and will provide increased reliability to support Northern’s drive to improve performance for customers.
Sharon Keith, Regional Director at Northern, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Direct Rail Services in providing this new train for our customers in north Lancashire and the Cumbrian Coast.
“This improvement to services in Cumbria feeds into our ongoing plan - and the wider Great North Rail Project - to improve the railway for all of our customers, with further improvements scheduled during the next two years.”
Sharon added: “I’d like to thank all of our customers in Cumbria for their patience and understanding and look forward to welcoming them on board this new service.”
Direct Rail Services provides a number of train operators across the UK with bespoke freight and passenger services. The Class 68 locomotive which is being provided to Northern is one of 34 currently in operation. First built in 2014, the locomotive will provide increased reliability and performance for rail services in Cumbia.
Chris Connelly, Managing Director at Direct Rail Services, said: “We’ve worked closely with Northern to improve performance on the Cumbrian Coast. We are thrilled to provide further support with our new innovative Class 68 locomotive and assist Northern in providing vital services.”
Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland, said: “The introduction of a more reliable and modern Class 68 engine is welcome, and I look forward to seeing it on the line.”
Councillor Keith Little, Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transport at Cumbria County Council added: “Cumbria County Council and the Community Rail Partnership are delighted that Northern and DRS have been able to respond to performance issues along the Cumbrian Coast Line by providing a modern, reliable unit which will bring about much needed resilience to service reliability and help restore passenger confidence.
"We continue to support Northern and DRS in seeking further improvements for this vital rail service.”
The news comes as Northern continues its modernisation programme which will see 98 brand new trains introduced by 2020. These new trains will be supported by a fleet of more than 200 fully refurbished units which will give all Northern customers high levels of comfort wherever they travel on the network.