Northern Class 156 DMU

UK: Northern Trains has invited expressions of interest in a framework contract covering the supply of up to 450 multiple-units to replace ‘significant quantities of its ageing fleet’.

Firm orders would be placed in phases. The initial order would be for ‘multi-mode’ multiple-units, with Northern having options to order further sets and additional intermediate vehicles as well as battery-electric or electric-only trains.

Requirements include a minimum design life of 35 years from acceptance, and the ability for the multi-mode units to be converted to electric or battery-electric power as part of an ‘in-life decarbonisation’ programme.

Northern said the new vehicles would provide medium and long-term value for the operator, the Department for Transport, taxpayers and customers by enabling it to avoid the escalating costs associated with the operation, maintenance, repair and leasing of an ageing fleet.

Framework agreement

The framework agreement would run for eight years, with Northern able to order rolling stock in multiple phases.

Each phase would include a train manufacturing and supply agreement and a technical support and spares supply agreement.

The supplier would provide tools and spare parts, and there would be options for the supply of mock-ups and a cab simulator. Northern is to run a separate procurement for an owning party which would purchase each fleet and lease it to the operator.

The owner would be party to each manufacturing and supply agreement, and there may be different owning parties for each order phase.


A supplier briefing is planned for August 24. Requests to participate in the process should be submitted by September 25. Invitations to tender would follow around October 26.

Northern said it would continue to develop and refine the specification and award criteria throughout the tender process, and may not award any contract as a result of the procurement.