RAIL passengers will soon be able to take advantage of a fifth daily return train service between Hartlepool and London.
Grand Central runs four trains between town and London King’s Cross from Monday to Saturday. But that will increase to five from December 12.
The company was given the green light after applying to the Office of Rail Regulation (Orr) after negotiations with Network Rail.
Grand Central bosses said the current five-hour gap in its timetable during the afternoon meant the firm was missing out on passengers.
Exact timings have yet to be finalised. But Grand Central is expected to have an extra northbound service from London just before 11.30am and a southbound service just before 3pm.
Managing director Richard McClean said: “We have been trying to get a better balanced timetable as there has always been that awkward gap in the afternoon.
“This is a really important development for Grand Central and for Hartlepool.
“We have been working hard for some time to obtain these rights and are glad to have been able to pass all the tests.”
Mr McClean said the tests include satisfying Orr that any impact the extra services might have on the funds available to the Department for Transport are outweighed by the benefits delivered to rail users.