Train passengers will benefit from 6,000 extra seats at peak time travel into Manchester and other northern cities.
First TransPennine Express (FTPE) will use 40 new carriages and increase speeds up to 100mph on the Manchester to Scotland route after switching the line to electric.
This frees up existing trains which will be used across the company to increase capacity into Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, which will help reduce over-crowding.
FTPE’s Managing Director, Nick Donavon, said: “This is really good news for customers across our network. We know that many of our services are busy and an additional 40 carriages will help to provide a much needed increase in seating capacity in response to growing customer demand.”
Rail Minister, Theresa Villiers, also welcomed the news. She said: “This is great news for passengers who will get faster, longer trains and more seats.
“Increasing capacity on some of the busiest routes in the country is a key part of the major programme of rail capacity expansion we have promised to deliver. It is a vital way of responding to passenger concerns about crowding.”
But regular peak time commuters in Manchester have mixed feelings. Robert Sutton, 28, an IT technician of Cheetham, said: “Anything which stops us from being rammed in is a good idea.”
While Graham Dunn, 53, retired, of South Manchester disagrees. He said: “Extra carriages will just mean people will be forced to pay extra for tickets.”
London Midland services will also benefit from new carriages and faster speeds. This will create shorter journeys and space for extra train slots, boosting capacity in peak times even further.
The initiatives are part of wider plans by the government to introduce more than 2000 carriages onto the rail network by 2019.