FirstGroup signs new year-long rail franchise deal

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Transport operator FirstGroup has signed an agreement to continue operating the First TransPennine Express rail franchise for another year.

The deal with the Department of Transport means the franchise will operate until at least April 1, 2016.

The group has pledged to continue to improve its service for customers in various ways such as installing free WiFi at key stations.

Chief executive Tim O’Toole said: “Since the franchise began, our experienced team have worked hard to introduce brand new trains, refurbished stations, increased frequency and improved journey times.

“The service is more popular than ever, now carrying 26m passengers a year compared to 13m in 2004.”