ONE of Northern’s new rolling stock costing £5 million each was launched on Tuesday in Skipton.

The new Class 331 electric trains are replacing the 322 stock and are operating between Skipton, Ilkley and Leeds, via Bradford.

A number of invited guests made the journey from Bradford to Skipton to experience the new train for themselves.

The Airedale line is one of the first places in the north of England to benefit from Northern’s state-of-the-art fleet with a total investment of £500 million.

The company has ordered 101 new trains. Fifteen are already operating on a number of routes with more to follow throughout 2019 and 2020.

New trains will operate from Monday, September 9 with further introductions to come before the end of the year.

By the end of 2019 the new stock will also connect Bradford with Blackpool and York and will serve customers on the Calder Valley with services to and from Leeds, Manchester and beyond to Chester.

Northern’s new trains feature free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, at-seat power and customer information/media screens with real-time information. They are also more spacious for customers and are fully accessible with spaces for wheel chairs and cycles.

There are also more tables than on the previous stock and the wider carriages afford more standing room when trains are full.

Meeting the train in Skipton was David Smurthwaite, Craven District Council’s strategic manager, planning and regeneration, Gerald Townson, chairman of the Bentham Line Community Rail Partnership, Graham Collett, vice chairman of Railfuture, Yorkshire, Alison Bell, Stakeholder manager, Northern, and John Kitching, station manager of the Airedale Line.

Mr Townson said while the trains won’t be able to travel to Bentham, those on the Bentham line will use it when travelling to Leeds or Bradford.

“It is all part of the triangle and is improving local services,” he said.

Pete Myers one of two stakeholder managers with Northern said it was a proud moment for the north.

“These new trains are ‘swoopier’,” he said.

“They also provide more room for passengers with up-to-date wifi and screens for announcements. The investment is giving Skipton and the Dales something, and shows genuine investment is being made in the north.”

The driver’s cabs have up to date touch-screen technology and all trains will have a guard.

Steve Hopkinson, Northern’s Regional Director said: “The Northern network is busier than it has been for a generation and the introduction of new trains is at the heart of our transformation for customers.

“These fantastic trains are a true step-change in travelling experience and we are extremely proud to be delivering a £500m investment.”

Northern’s new trains are part of the largest modernisation programme in a generation in the north of England.

The company said It is currently fully refurbishing its existing fleet of 243 trains and improving its stations

It says it has introduced more than 2,000 extra services every week since 2016.