Train operating company First TransPennine Express (FTPE) is celebrating its sixth year of success with passengers travelling further than ever before.

Since starting the eight year franchise in February 2004, passengers have travelled more than 3.6 billion miles with FTPE and, in the last twelve months passengers have travelled 33 million more miles than the year before.

The success has been linked to the introduction of services between Manchester Airport - Glasgow and Edinburgh and an increase in the number of value for money advance purchase fares.

The train company has also bucked the trend and increased the number of leisure travellers during the recent economic downturn with record numbers of people travelling to popular tourist destinations such as York, Windermere, Edinburgh and Manchester.

Managing Director, Vernon Barker, has successfully led the company since the start of the franchise and today praised the dedication of employees.

He said: "In the last six years we have continued to grow the business from strength to strength, carrying more people to more destinations, delivering high levels of customer service and offering more value for money products than ever before.

"Our passenger numbers have increased from 13.5 million in 2004 to an anticipated 22.3 million this year and we will continue to concentrate on improving the customers experience with dedicated support from our employees."

The number of passengers travelling to Manchester Airport has increased by 67% in the last six years - an extra 640,000 travellers.

The company has been recognised by a number of organisations and received 29 awards for high standards of customer service, station improvements, leadership and marketing.

FTPE has invested more than £12 million on improving stations across the North and is now working with different organisations to further improve stations with Access for All funding and the National Station Improvement Programme.

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