Newest Review: ... take it. I commute Sheffield to Manchester and back every day. Problems include: There is always a scramble to get a seat, as TP only put o... more
FTPE Great Express Train Company
First Transpennine Express
Member Name: hunnybabyuk
First Transpennine Express
Date: 10/09/09, updated on 16/01/11 (409 review reads)
Advantages: Fantastic new, clean, spacious trains with very friendly smiling staff & great timetable
Disadvantages: Price of tickets (not FTPE's fault though, it's regulated fares that are a disgrace)
First Transpennine Express (FTPE) are part of the First Group, a large transport corporation that does other train companies, buses & metro/light rail services across the UK and abroad. FTPE is a joint venture between First Group & Keolis who are the larest bus operator in France & the largest foreign operator in the UK, running many trains & buses across Europe.
FTPE run trains across three routes in Northern England over the pennines linking Liverpool & Manchester (inc. Manchester Airport) with Leeds & York then onto Hull/Scarborough or onto Middlesbrough or onto Newcastle, several times an hour (most routes operate hourly) all day everyday, and also services run from York & Leeds to Manchester Airport through the night (subject to engineering works of course). A new route started in December 2007 which links Manchester Airport with Glasgow & Edinburgh.
The trains are all brand new trains by Siemens, as part of a multi-million pound investment to improve the fleet of trains and is part of a wider spend to improve the overall performance & service provided to customers, it's also included station upgrades at some stations along the network that FTPE operate onbehlf of Network Rail including Hull & Thornaby which have seen big improvements. The trains have a fantastic bright purple coloured livery which is very eye catching & striking, it's stylish & modern so it's easy to spot your train at the station. Inside the interior is more light & airy, more open spaces with more room to move, tables at all chairs (some big tables and some fold up/seatback tables). The train has toilets throughout the train, as usual these are tiny & you can hardly move, apart from the disabled toilet located at one end of the train, which is large obviously to fit in wheelchairs. Their is ample space for wheelchair travellers, great for anyone in a wheelchair who wants to get out & about by train.
The onboard service is great, very friendly staff I don't remember EVER encountering an unpleasant or rude member of staff and I have used this train countless times, I've lost count how often I go FPTE on the Middlesbrough - Manchester route, so the team based on that route are fantastic. Always friendly no matter what time of the day or night. The onboard trolley service is a little expensive but this is actually ran by Rail Gourmet, NOT FPTE but staff wear FTPE uniform, they are also very friendly, smiling most of the time and they do offer good prices but still cheaper to buy before you travel if you get chance.
Fares, as with all rail fares are too expensive and getting out of hand but FTPE offer some very good fares for advance purchases and sometimes have special offers when booking direct, recently they had a kids go free offer and at the time of writing this, holders of the Young Persons Railcard get 50% off FTPE fares where as usually they only get 33% so they do offer better deals than other operators from time to time.
As with all trains they sadly suffer delays but most of the time its Network Rails problem not FTPE and when they do delay trains they apoligise and seem to care unlike some other operators I could mention.
I enjoy travelling with FTPE and would deffinately travel with them again and will be travelling several times in the future. Highly recommended company to travel with, great friendly staff. clean, refurbished trains which are airy and spacious, plenty of space for luggage too which is great since most trains go to the airport. And a fantastic timetable which operates pretty much 24/7.
Summary: Greatly highly recommended train operator