A RAIL firm which serves Hartlepool has announced developments including more jobs, an upgrade to its fleet and a new office.
Following the addition of the fifth daily service from Sunderland to London, Grand Central Rail is expanding its North-East operation.
It includes new premises in Sunderland and upgrades to its fleet, creating seven new jobs in the city.
Grand Central was previously based at smaller offices in Foyle Street but the new building will house the train crew and managers.
Its facilities include a training suite, management offices, and meeting rooms.
They also include a mess room and kitchen, and changing rooms for staff.
Richard McClean, managing director of Grand Central, said staying local and investing in the area was “really important to us.
“The North-East is a vital part of our route and we are committed to continuing to connect the region with the capital, providing a much-needed service for the communities we serve.
“We are continuing to grow as a business and, in addition to extending the service between the North-East and London to five services each day, seven days a week, we have recently recruited seven new local staff including four new train drivers.”
He said the company was also beginning a phased refurbishment of its fleet of high-speed trains.
Mr McLean said that would include new designs to the first and standard class carriages and the buffet carriage and a “refresh to passenger toilets and vestibules”.
Leanne Maskell, the customer service manager for the North Eastern Grand Central service, said: “We are looking forward to combining the excellent customer care we are known and admired for locally with a new stronger presence in the North-East.”