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Christmas & New Year Travel Information

Last updated - 29/12/2020

Following government changes to the dates of the Christmas travel window, please ensure you follow official guidance on whether or not you should be travelling over the festive period. If you had booked a ticket and no longer wish to travel you may be eligible for a refund. Find out more about claiming a refund

The festive season is a popular time to travel by train. Things are a little different this year, so follow our festive travel advice and travel with confidence.

  • Our services are now reservation-only, so you'll need to have a confirmed and booked seat reservation for a specific service before you board that train and won't be able to do so without one.
  • Due to engineering works, we won't be running between December 25 and January 1, and a significantly reduced timetable on December 24 and January 2

Christmas travel for students. Students save 25% on GC Advance tickets. Sign up with your uni email.

Planning your festive travel – which services are likely to be busy?

While passenger levels may be impacted by the introduction of tiered restrictions across the UK, we are expecting some trains to be very popular and we’ll have  limited capacity in order to provide socially distanced seating. The following dates are expected to be particularly busy:

  • Saturday 2 January 2021
  • Sunday 3 January 2021

We will be publishing expected seat availability, providing a day-by-day breakdown of which services we expect to be busy. All Grand Central services will be reservation only from 3 December 2020, so you must have a seat reservation in order to board our trains.

Travelling with Grand Central this Christmas and New Year – what you need to know

You must have a reservation – if you do not have a reservation you won’t be able to board the train.

All Advance tickets include a seat reservation. If you have an Off-Peak or Anytime ticket, check your confirmation email or paper tickets for reservations. You can book a seat reservation (subject to availability):

Alternatively, you can speak to our Customer Relations team on 0345 603 4852 (Mon – Fri 08:00 – 18:00). We publish regular seat availability updates on our website, so you can see which services are expected to be busy or quiet before you travel.

You must wear a face covering - these must be worn on board all Grand Central trains and at stations unless you are exempt. If you don't, you could be fined. You can check the list of exemptions on the Government website.

Limit your luggage - travel light if you can and only brings items that you can carry. A maximum of three items per person including two suitcases and a small carry-on bag can be brought on board. 

Book journey assistance - all of our trains are wheelchair-accessible and feature accessible toilets and dedicated wheelchair spaces. Please contact us in advance to make your arrangements.

What services are running over Christmas and New Year?

We will be operating a reduced timetable on these days

  • 2 January 2021 onwards

A limited service will be running on the following dates (click to expand):

  • 2 January 2021
    • 06:55 Bradford Interchange - London King's Cross
    • 10:22 Bradford Interchange - London King's Cross
    • 15:22 Bradford Interchange - London King's Cross
    • 10:46 London King's Cross - Bradford Interchange
    • 14:45 London King's Cross - Bradford Interchange
    • 19:45 London King's Cross - Bradford Interchange
    • 08:28 Sunderland - London King's Cross
    • 12:18 Sunderland - London King's Cross
    • 14:18 Sunderland - London King's Cross
    • 12:45 London King's Cross - Sunderland
    • 16:46 London King's Cross - Sunderland
    • 18:15 London King's Cross - Sunderland

Planned engineering at London King’s Cross 

Due to engineering works at London King's Cross, no Grand Central trains will run on the following dates:

  • 25 December - 31 December 2020
  • 1 January 2021

No trains from any operator will run into or out of London King’s Cross between 25 December 2020 and 30 December 2020 – we recommend against all travel to and from London on these dates.

Other services may be impacted by engineering times and local lockdowns, so please check before you travel.

Christmas and New Year availability calendar:

December 2020
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
14 15 16 17 18 19 20






Likely to be busy

Likely to be busy

21 22 23 24 25 🎄 26 27



Likely to be busy

Limited service

No Grand Central services

No Grand Central services

No Grand Central services

28 29 30 31 🎉  

No Grand Central services

No Grand Central services

No Grand Central services

No Grand Central services


January 2021
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
  1 2 3


No Grand Central services

Limited service


4 5 6 7 8 9 10