Grand Central bids to increase links between Sunderland, Hartlepool and London
Sunderland and Hartlepool are set to get another rail link to London.
Operator Grand Central has submitted an application to operate additional services to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) for consideration.
The new services would run on its current routes as well as offer new direct journey opportunities for passengers travelling to and from Peterborough.
If approved, the move will increase Grand Central’s current daily North East route from five services to six and its West Yorkshire route would see six trains to London and five returning from London (currently four).
The services will provide an additional 1,600 daily seats to or from the capital, in response to demand from Grand Central customers for more services for their local communities, and will be operated by Grand Central’s Adelante fleet, which is currently undergoing refurbishment;
*an early morning service from Wakefield Kirkgate to London arriving into London before 07:30am;
*A 10-carriage late evening service departing London before 22:00pm. The train would split at Doncaster with one part of the train returning to Wakefield and one part continuing on to York;
*calls at Peterborough in the early morning and late evening West Yorkshire route services, as well as two of its North East services. This will provide passengers with additional journey opportunities to and from the North East and West Yorkshire, as well as providing additional choice for passengers travelling between Peterborough and London.
Richard McClean, Managing Director of Grand Central, said: "We have been encouraged by the support we have received from a number of consultees. We believe that expanding our operations will benefit both our existing and potential new passengers, as well as grow existing markets.
"As well as bringing additional benefits to our customers, we see these additional services as continuing the economic growth we have supported in communities along our routes by enabling social mobility and enabling communities to thrive. The proposed additional services are an important part of Grand Central’s longer term strategic development, building on the strong growth we have already seen on our existing routes.
"The proposed services are essential to encouraging competition in the rail market and to connecting communities and businesses. By offering low fares and benefits which are valued by our customers such as free Wi-Fi and plenty of legroom, we aim to make train travel an attractive and affordable option.
"We’re pleased to present these growth proposals and hope the ORR shares our view on the benefits these new services will bring and share our vision for sustainable investment in the long term."