First TransPennine Express has welcomed the Department for Transport's decision to extend its franchise.

It was announced today (5 August) that the eight year franchise which was due to end on 31 January 2012 will now run for a further three years and 2 months until 1 April 2015.

Vernon Barker, managing director of First TransPennine Express says: "This agreement to extend the length of the franchise provides certainty for our plans to continue to improve services for our passengers and reassurance to our staff that the franchise will continue in its current form for an extended period."

"We welcome this opportunity to continue to serve more passengers, to provide an improving quality of service and to meet the aspirations of the rail travelling public in the North."

First TransPennine Express carries 24 million passengers a year, employs 1,000 staff and runs over 280 train services a day between many of the principal cities of the North of England and to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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