UK-based train operating company Northern has introduced eight Class 769 bi-mode trains on the Southport-Stalybridge/Alderley Edge route.

The FLEX trains were launched on the route as part of Northern’s new timetable for this month.

Porterbrook built the Class 769 trains in collaboration with Wabtec/Brush.

A variant of former Class 319 electric trains, they can run over both electrified and non-electrified tracks.

Porterbrook CEO Mary Grant said: “The introduction of the FLEX fleet into traffic is the result of a collaborative partnership between Northern, Porterbrook and our suppliers.

“The bi-mode capability of the Class 769 fleet will ensure that communities across the Southport-Alderley Edge route can share in the benefits of electrification.”

These trains are operated using diesel-powered alternators, which are located underneath each of the driving trailer cars.

The alternators supply power to the current traction and auxiliary equipment, enabling the previous electric multiple units to run in the absence of an overhead.

By supplying power via the trains’ DC bus, the system allows operation through various power sources while sustaining its full capabilities on electrified tracks.

Northern regional director Chris Jackson said: “As part of our A Better Way to Go campaign, which is delivering enhancements for customers across the north, we have introduced 100 brand new trains, completed the refurbishment of all our older trains, and delivered significant improvements, including enhanced accessibility, at many of our stations.”

Earlier this month, Northern installed 621 new ticket vending machines across its network as part of a comprehensive modernisation scheme.

Meanwhile, Avanti West Coast has become the first UK train operating firm to launch a new Standard Premium class of travel.

Now available on all the West Coast Main Line operator’s Pendolino services, Standard Premium will offer improved services, including spacious seats, additional space, and a guaranteed table.