Big tender for new trains by Northern: up to 450 new units

Big tender for new trains by Northern: up to 450 new units
The newest units in the fleet are from CAF © Northern

Northern Trains are looking for a supplier of new rolling stock and maintenance support service with a planned framework agreement for up to 450 new trains.


After a longer period of silence from the UK passenger rail market, new orders are on the horizon. After Chiltern announced the intention to buy 70 new or refurbished trains, Northern has a big plan to buy up to 450 new trains too.

Northern intends to buy “multi-mode multiple units”, meaning they should be ready for conversion into either electric or battery-electric units over their lifetime. In the future phases of the 8-year framework contract, electric or battery-electric units may be ordered directly from the manufacturer.

Northern intends to replace its ageing fleet © Northern 
Northern intends to replace its ageing fleet © Northern 

Northern will sign a framework agreement with the selected supplier along with the first call-off. It will separately procure an owning party to purchase each rolling stock fleet and then lease the same to Northern. With each call-off, a different ROSCO may be selected. This is a standard procedure in the UK, where Train Operating Companies (TOCs) hire trains and locomotives from Rolling Stock Companies (ROSCOs).

The interested manufacturers can express their interest by 25 September 2023, and invitations to tender are estimated to be sent on 26 October 2023.

© Northern 
© Northern 

The government took over Northern Trains Limited as an operator of last resort. It is now a publicly owned (Department for Transport OLR Holdings) train company operating in the north of England after taking the franchise from Arriva Rail North in March 2020.

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