1. News/Features  |  Mon 1 October, 2018 10:54 am  |  2159  |  A+ | a-

Recently we have seen the first glimpses of the future fleet of TransPennine Express trains passing our cams, Railcam takes a closer look at the first (of three) of the fleet to arrive and begin testing and training runs, introducing NOVA 3.


Firstly, why Nova? Well in the words of TransPennine Express, “The Nova theme complements our star logo, which points in the direction of the true North. Using the name ‘Nova’ links all three trains together, providing consistency and simplicity. The word represents what we are trying to achieve over the next few years, embodying fast paces energy and change as we take the North further together.”

Rail Operations Group Class 37s providing the traction for the first delivery of Nova 3 stock, passing our Crewe cameras..

Over the past few months we have seen almost daily training runs with the Class 68 diesel locomotives, provided by Direct Rail Services, in preparation for the Nova 3 entering services. Our Crewe cameras, based at the Crewe Heritage Centre, have captured various formations out and about including both Direct Rail Services and TransPennine Express liveried examples of Class 68 locomotives both solo, running in pairs and top and tailing ex-Virgin ‘Pretendolino’ MK3s.

Driver training with DRS liveried Class 68 and ex-Virgin Pretendolino MK3s and a pair of TransPennine Express liveried Class 68s on our Crewe cameras.

Within the Railcam community there is always interest in diesel hauled passenger services, the Nova 3 will provide a welcome addition to what seems to be a shift, although slightly, to this type of formation, with popular service already being seen daily on our St Bees cam as Direct Rail Services again provide traction to Northern, in the form of Class 68s and the much loved Class 37s.


The launch of the Nova 3 sees the first breakaway from the DMU/EMU set up that TransPennine Express have been operating, in the form of Class 350s on Manchester Airport to Edinburgh/Glasgow services and Class 185s working the West-East services from Liverpool/Manchester to Newcastle/Scarborough/Middlesbrough/Hull & Leeds. These brand new ‘MK5a’ coaches, as they were initially referred to, boast a whole host of improvements including,


- On-Board WI-FI

- Power sockets throughout

- Real-time passenger information system in every coach

- State of the art electronic seat reservations


The 13 Nova 3 sets will be made up of 5 carriages hauled by Direct Rail Services supplied, TransPennine Express liveried Class 68 locomotives, boasting 287 seats (257 standard and 30 first class) and providing an additional 105 seats over the Class 185s. Four toilets, including one universal access toilet, will be on-board, as well as storage for four bicycles.

Full TransPennine Express liveried Nova 3 sets on training runs on our Crewe cameras.

Built by Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) and financed by Beacon Rail, the Nova 3 fleet will be maintained by Alstom in Manchester, at their Longsight Trainer Centre, but when are we expecting to see them in service and more importantly which of our cams will see them in daily use?


The Nova 3 sets are planned to come into revenue earning service in the autumn of 2018 and will operate on the Liverpool/Manchester to Leeds/York/Scarborough & Middlesbrough routes. The chance to see them in action will initially be limited to our York cameras, situated North of York station between Skelton Bridge Jn and Skelton Jn covering the services running to/from Middlesbrough

© First TransPennine Express

What's to follow for TransPennine Express?

Nova 2, 12 five-carriage electric trains operating between Manchester Airport and Glasgow/Scotland, coming into service in early 2019.

Nova 1, 19 five-carriage bi-modal trains operating between Liverpool/Manchester to Newcastle/Edinburgh, coming into service in the summer of 2019.



It certainly goes without saying that some serious evolution is happening within the TransPennine Express fleet and it is most definitely a good thing for both commuters and enthusiast alike. 


Welcome Nova.