Hartlepool MP Mike Hill backs Grand Central bid to boost London service

Grand Central wants to increase the number of trains running to and from London.
Grand Central wants to increase the number of trains running to and from London.

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has backed a bid by rail operator Grand Central to increase the number of trains running between the town and London.

Grand Central is applying to boost the number of return services on the route, which runs between Sunderland and London and serves other stations on the North East coast, including Hartlepool.

Mike Hill has welcomed the move from Grand Central.

Mike Hill has welcomed the move from Grand Central.

Should the application be successful, the route would see six trains to London and five back per day, instead of the current four.

Consultation has begun with other train companies and the infrastructure operator Network Rail on the plans, and the application will later be submitted to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) for consideration.

Mr Hill has welcomed the bid by Grand Central.

He said: "Last year, Grand Central celebrated a decade of operating between Hartlepool and London Kings Cross.

"When the direct link to the capital was introduced, it was a breath of fresh air for town commuters who previously had to travel to Durham or Darlington to complete their journey.

"The service remains a vital link to commuters and its bid to increase the frequency of trips needs to be supported.

"Grand Central recently won customer satisfaction awards for the service, and given the pleasant nature of its staff quite rightly so, but it also got the knock back in 2017 in a bid to run additional services stopping at Peterborough by the Office of Rail and Road (IRR), which was a more complicated scenario involving options around their Doncaster, Wakefield and London route, and which the argument for more Hartlepool services was inadequately put.

"This bid is far more robust and persuasive and would consolidate the link between London and Hartlepool for many years to come.

"There are many fights to be had about improving services on the coastal route, particularly with Northern Rail, but Grand Central has been a local success story and a real asset for the town and any attempt to improve and further consolidate the service has to be supported."

The additional train services in the North East and Yorkshire would provide an extra 1,600 daily seats in total to or from the capital, which Grand Central says is in response to demand from its customers for more services for their local communities.

The additional services would be operated by Grand Central’s Adelante fleet, which is undergoing a refurbishment programme.