NORTHERN Rail has begun training drivers ahead of the introduction of extra trains through Malton this spring.

The company is using pacer trains on the route between York and Scarborough ahead of the introduction of the new timetable.

Drivers require route familiarisation before they can take control of a service.

Northern had planned to run a service every hour from York to Scarborough, alongside the TransPennine Express (TPE) service, offering passengers a train every half-hour last year.

The move, which was expected to be in place by December, would have increased seats from 169 per hour to 450, with an extra 14 trains a day.

However, plans for the new service have now been pushed back to May, due to delays with infrastructure projects.

A spokesperson for Northern said: “As a result of further delays in the delivery across our network of new trains from manufacturer CAF, we delayed the introduction of the new service between Scarborough and York to May 2020. We can confirm that these will be included in the new timetable.”

Northern is being brought into public ownership after months of problems with delays and cancellation.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps made the announcement at the end of last month, saying that he wanted passengers to see “real and tangible improvements” as soon as possible. The Government-controlled Operator of Last Resort (OLR) will take over the Northern franchise from Arriva on March 1.

TPE is in talks to extend the platform at Malton train station as part of a £300,000 investment.

The funds are understood to have come from an “underspend” on a previous platform alteration project involving nine other stations as part of the company’s contract with the Department for Transport.