THE first 'new generation' train in Northern's fleet has hit the rails in East Lancashire.

Rail bosses have heralded the arrival of the Class 150 trains to the county's tracks.

Northern insisted unpopular 'Pacer' trains, described by a critic as 'cattle trucks', would be phased out as part of its franchise deal.

But the company came under fire late last year, amid delays to the Pacers' retirement, a knock-on effect of the rail timetable chaos of May 2018.

Now though the first Class 150 carriages,boasting free wi-fi,power sockets and real-time passenger information, have undertaken their maiden voyage, between Blackburn and Rochdale.

Ben Ackroyd, Northern's engineering director, said: "The digital improvements to our trains represent an upgrade in the quality of train currently serving this area of Northern’s network.

"It provides a first look at some of the features we are installing on all our trains, providing a really high standard of on-board customer experience."

Before now the company has pledged to introduce 101 new trains, while retiring the hated Pacers. Improved stations and 2,000 extra services have also been promised.