New direct journeys from Lincoln to Leeds are among the improvements set to take place as train operator Northern begins UK track testing for its new trains.
The operator will oversee the complete removal of Pacer trains by the end of 2019 and will invest £500 million in 281 brand new air-conditioned carriages.
It will also run regional and commuter services cross the north until March 2025.
The first of the £500 million new trains made its debut trial run on the UK network on Monday, September 17 and the trains are now going through their first round of dynamic testing on the UK rail network.
The testing will continue into the autumn as Northern gets ready to launch the first new train into service by the end of the year.
Customers will experience an upgrade on every one of 98 new trains, with features including free customer Wifi, air conditioning, at-seat power and seat reservation systems.
Other improvements on the Northern network include more than 2,000 extra services each week, with 400 additional Sunday services, including new direct journeys from Lincoln to Leeds.
There will also be nearly a 40% increase in capacity creating space for 31,000 extra passengers travelling into the five major commuter cities of the north during morning rush hour, which includes Leeds.
A new high-quality ‘Northern Connect’ service, meaning new or refurbished trains on longer-distance services, faster journeys and stations staffed daily with catering services and free Wifi at each one.
This network will serve the five major commuter cities as well as Lincoln.
Northern’s Engineering Director Ben Ackroyd said: “The first of the new trains arrived in the UK in June and we’ve received a further three since then. It’s very rewarding to see our new trains programme reach such an important milestone. The start of UK track testing really brings the project to life after months of design and construction work.
“Passengers in the North West will get a chance to see the trains as they are being tested. There’s a real sense of anticipation amongst the team here at Northern as we look forward to introducing a step change in what we offer our customers.”