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Last updated - February 10th 2020
This Charter sets out our commitments to you. It does not create any new legal relationship with you as a result of what we say we will do, nor does it adversely affect your legal rights. These are set out in the National Rail Conditions of Travel (nationalrail.co.uk/nrcot).
This Charter is regularly reviewed to keep it up to date. Your views are important to us, and your suggestions and comments are greatly appreciated. The information in this publication was correct at the time of printing, but is subject to change without prior notice.
About Grand Central
Grand Central operates high speed direct train services between London Kings Cross, Yorkshire and the North East. We are a railway service built on the principles of customer service. We do not operate a franchise from the government nor do we receive a public subsidy. We are, however, subject to all the rail industry regulations and safety standards.
When you choose to travel with Grand Central you choose rail travel as it should be – convenient, relaxing and with friendly service. You can buy in advance online, at the station or by phone and on train, with no additional charge or penalties.
Our commitment to you
Our aim is to make your journey a pleasure from start to finish. From planning your trip and buying your ticket to arriving at your destination, we aim to meet your needs. Book online at grandcentralrail.com or by calling 0345 603 4852 (option 3). If you book in advance, your seat will be reserved for free (subject to availability). We don’t penalise customers who choose to travel last-minute by charging expensive on board fares, so for last minute journeys simply buy on board.
Improvements to our services
We strive continually to improve the service we provide. Since we began operating in December 2007, we have:
- Provided additional services on our Sunderland to London route, bringing the daily total to ten (Monday to Saturday).
- Introduced a new route which provides eight services daily between Bradford and London Kings Cross, calling at Low Moor, Halifax, Brighouse, Mirfield, Wakefield, Pontefract and Doncaster.
- Refreshed our entire fleet of trains.
- Moved from a fleet of HSTs to a fleet of all Class 180 "Adelantes".
- Introduced free Wi-Fi throughout our trains and at seat power sockets.
- Trained our drivers on environmentally friendly driving techniques.
- Introduced competitively-priced Advance tickets and made more of our seats available for reservation in advance.
- Replaced the engines on our high speed diesel trains which ensure they are more reliable, quiet, efficient and environmentally friendly.
- Improved our mobile site and launched our own app to make it easier to find important information.
- Provided an interactive presence on Twitter during our main operating hours, seven days a week.
- Offered exclusive offers and opportunities to customers who register to receive our e-mail updates.
Our plans for the future include;
- Investing in projects to improve customer facilities at the stations we serve.
- Providing faster journey times through timetable alterations and line speed improvements in conjunction with Network Rail.
- Working with station operators to improve station facilities and car parking and real-time information provision.
- Continuing to work closely with the communities we serve through supporting local initiatives.
We welcome feedback on these and all other issues to help us improve so that we can provide a better service for you.
PLANNING YOUR JOURNEY
Full details of all Grand Central train services are available:
At grandcentralrail.com you will find:
- Information on our tickets and fares, how to buy them, and advice on refunds and compensation.
- Details of all of our train times.
- Details of the service we provide on board.
- Information about the destinations we serve.
- Special offers and news updates.
- Updates on engineering work and other events which may result in service alterations.
At most railway stations
Travel centre and ticket office staff can provide train time and fare information.
In our timetable
Our timetable is available from all staffed stations served by Grand Central and online at grandcentralrail.com. Our timetable changes twice a year.
On the day you are travelling you can access up to date information on service alterations at nationalrail.co.uk, or by calling National Rail Enquiries on 03457 48 49 50. For live departure and arrival times please check the Grand Central website or app. You can also follow Grand Central updates on Twitter at @GC_Rail.
BUYING YOUR TICKET
Grand Central believes tickets should be:
- Easy to purchase.
- Simple to understand.
- Offer great value for money.
Tickets for Grand Central journeys can be bought:
At grandcentralrail.com we sell tickets for all national rail operators. Make sure you have selected a Grand Central train if you wish to travel with us – clearly marked with an orange logo.
On the train
We know that sometimes it is not practical or convenient to buy your ticket in advance. So, simply board one of our trains and buy your ticket on-board with no additional charge or penalties.
At most railway stations
At any station with a ticket office, travel centre or self-service machines.
Reserving your seat on Grand Central is free of charge. We recommend that you should reserve your seat when travelling with us. If, for any reason, we cannot honour your seat reservation, please contact a member of our on board staff and we will try and find another seat on the train for you.
When travelling, please keep your ticket throughout your journey and until you have departed your destination station as barrier checks may be in operation.
PASSENGERS WITH DISABILITIES
If you, or someone travelling with you, has a mobility impairment or other disability and will need help during your journey or at stations, assistance can be booked up to 24 hours in advance by calling us on 0345 603 4852 or 18001 0344 811 0072 for text relay users, or book assistance online without buying a ticket by filling in our online passenger assistance form.
We are committed to meeting the needs of all our passengers and will help passengers who need special assistance in planning and making their journey. Information on how we can help is contained within our Accessible Travel Policy, available at grandcentralrail.com and from Customer Relations, who can also supply large print and Braille versions on request.
Disabled Persons Railcard holders receive discounts on Grand Central tickets. Further information on eligibility, how to apply and discounts available can be found online - disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk
What happens if booked assistance is not provided
If you booked assistance for a journey on a Grand Central train and this is not provided, please contact station staff, our on-board staff or our Customer Relations team immediately. We will do all we can to rectify the problem and help you continue your journey with the minimum of disruption.
If your journey is delayed as a result of our failure to provide assistance, we will be happy to offer compensation in line with our company policy. Contact Customer Relations for further advice or to make a claim.
ON THE TRAIN
All Grand Central trains offer both First and Standard Class accommodation and enjoy high levels of comfort with improved seating and leg room. Where possible, seats are lined up with windows so that you can enjoy the views as you travel and most seats are available to be reserved in advance. Free Wi-Fi is available for all passengers to use (subject to availability) and power points for laptops and phones are provided at-seat in all carriages. Luggage racks are provided at the end of each carriage for storing larger items. Space for smaller items is available behind seats and in the overhead racks. Smoking is not permitted by law on any part of any train or at any station. We do not allow the use of electronic cigarettes on our trains. Our staff are highly trained and customer focused, so if you require any help during your journey please ask a member of the crew.
Cyclists are welcome on board Grand Central services. We offer three cycle spaces in Coach B on our five-car Class 180 Adelante trains, two of which are reservable, and one of which is available on a first-come, first-served basis. You can reserve a cycle space by calling Customer Relations on 0345 603 4852 (Option 5). Folding bikes can be carried on as luggage. If you are part of a large group of cyclists, call us in advance to ensure we are able to accommodate all cycles on a particular train.
Two well behaved pets are welcome on-board Grand Central services free of charge, as long as they do not occupy a seat. Please ensure your pet does not disturb other passengers. All animals except dogs must be carried in a fully enclosed basket or carrier. Full details are available in the National Rail Conditions of Travel.
Food and Drink (subject to availability)
Our buffet service provides a large selection of hot and cold drinks, fresh sandwiches, snacks and sweet treats. We also offer a wide range of alcoholic drinks, crisps, snacks and chocolate. A complimentary at-seat service of light refreshments is provided for our First Class customers.
Whenever possible, we serve food and drink from local, independent companies run by people who love what they do.
Baby changing facilities are available on all of our services. These can be found in the accessible toilet located in coach F.
IF THINGS GO WRONG
If things go wrong, our staff are trained to identify and resolve any journey difficulties you may have. If you are inconvenienced during your journey please bring this to the attention of our staff as soon as possible, so that we can try to resolve things straight away.
Sometimes problems occur outside our control that may affect your journey. We will do our best to advise you of any delays that may affect your journey.
If you are on board one of our trains during a delay, our staff will keep you informed on progress and will help you to plan alternative connections. If you are at a station, updates can be found on the information screens or via our website or our social media platforms.
If you are delayed on our train for more than one hour our Senior Conductor is authorised to issue bottled water free of charge. If the delay on the train is over two hours, subject to stock availability, the Senior Conductor may issue other buffet stock free of charge.
In the event of service delay, we will:
- Get you to your destination station printed on your ticket.
- Arrange alternative transport where this is practical and appropriate.
- Get you back to your originating station, if your onward journey is not possible.
- Make appropriate arrangements for stranded passengers.
Delays of 1 hour or more will make you eligible for compensation.
If you are delayed while travelling on a Grand Central train, our compensation policy is as follows:
- Delay of 1 to 2 hours, a free single journey or 50% of the cost of a single ticket or 50% of the relevant portion of a return ticket
- Delay of 2 to 3 hours, a free single journey or 75% of the cost of a single ticket or 75% of the relevant portion of a return ticket
- Delay over 3 hours, a free single journey or 100% of the cost of a single ticket or 100% of the relevant portion of a return ticket .
Compensation for delayed journeys is offered in a variety of methods, including free journeys, PayPal, Cheque, credit/debit card and Rail Travel Vouchers.
When we have made alternative transport arrangements for customers during service disruption, the cost of any other arrangements made by passengers themselves will not normally be eligible for reimbursement.
We do not normally accept claims where trains are delayed, and you were told about the delay before you bought your ticket and you still decided to travel.
If unforeseen circumstances mean that we have had to introduce an emergency timetable, these compensation arrangements will be based upon that timetable.
The levels of compensation described above sets out our general policy regarding compensation but do not in any way limit or exclude your legal rights as a consumer under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 or otherwise. We always consider each claim made to us on its merits.
When travelling for flights or international connections we strongly recommend planning your journey to allow 2.5 hours from scheduled arrival at the airport to the closure of the check in time, and to purchase appropriate travel insurance.
We aim to hand out customer information leaflets to all passengers on our trains where delays of an hour or more occur, but if you do not have this information, please call us on 0345 603 4852 (option 5) so that we can help you with your claim.
For compensation to be considered, your claim must be received by our Customer Relations team within 28 days of you completing the relevant journey. To process your request, we need information about your tickets. Please use the form on our website at grandcentralrail.com, or send your tickets, a photograph or a scan of the tickets and any other details:
By post to: Customer Relations Manager, Grand Central Railway, PO Box 5871, Sheffield, S1 9GP
Refunds where you decide not to travel
If you decide not to make all or part of your intended journey then you may be eligible for a refund. To obtain a refund all tickets must be returned to the place of purchase within 28 days of their expiry date. For tickets bought online, your e-mail confirmation will provide details about how to request a refund on unused tickets, you may be required to pay an administration fee. If you purchased your tickets from the Grand Central website, please send your original tickets to: Grand Central Ticket Refunds, PO Box 6625, Arbroath, DD11 3RQ.
For tickets purchased on-board a Grand Central service you should contact our Customer Relations team.
Advance tickets are non-refundable as per rail industry standards, unless the train for which they were valid for was delayed or cancelled.
Network Rail need to undertake a regular programme of maintenance and improvement to the track and signalling. This may mean the rail lines need to be closed temporarily causing changes to the normal timetable. Engineering work can often affect train services at weekends and public holidays and sometimes early morning or late evening services. Our aim is to provide information on planned changes at least four weeks in advance. This information will be available on our website, through National Rail Enquiries, from station ticket offices, and from our Customer Relations team, contact details are in Section 8.
Sometimes Network Rail has to carry out engineering work at very short notice. When this happens, we aim to provide you with the information through all regular channels. We will provide this information as quickly as possible, however we still recommend that you check for alterations before travelling on nationalrail.co.uk or by calling National Rail Enquiries on 03457 48 49 50.
USEFUL DOCUMENTS AND CONTACTS
There are a number of sources of useful information about travelling on the rail network in Great Britain.
National Rail Conditions of Travel
Whenever you buy a train ticket you enter into an agreement with the companies whose trains your ticket allows you to use. The National Rail Conditions of Travel sets out the details of this agreement. It can be downloaded at nationalrail.co.uk/nrcot and copies are available from station travel centres.
Travel Information for Disabled Passengers
All train companies are required to set out their services for passengers with disabilities in one document. These are available from the train company or from a travel centre at any station where that company’s trains stop.
National Rail Enquiries
This is the definitive source of information for all passenger rail services on the National Rail network in Great Britain. The National Rail Enquiries website maintains a list of all train operating companies and details of how to contact them. nationalrail.co.uk 03457 48 49 50.
Office of Rail and Road
HOW TO CONTACT GRAND CENTRAL
Train running information
If you lose an item on a station please contact the station operator directly. You can find the contact details for the station operator from the National Rail website nationalrail.co.uk or by calling National Rail Enquiries on 03457 48 49 50.
If you lose an item on one of our trains, we will do our best to recover the item for you. Lost property recovered from our trains is handed in at the final destination station. Our Customer Relations team will help by putting you in contact with the relevant lost property office at the final destination of the train you were travelling on. For trains travelling towards London, contact King's Cross Lost Property Office on 0330 024 0215.
General enquiries and Customer Relations
We aim to continually improve the service we provide, so your views are really important to us. We measure how we’re doing by listening to your feedback. You can contact us either through a Customer Feedback form or by the following methods:
By Twitter at @GC_Rail
We aim to send you a full reply within 10 working days however during busy periods please allow 20 working days for a response. If we cannot give you our full response within this time, we will send you an acknowledgement and let you know when you should expect to hear more from us.
Please give us the opportunity to try to resolve your complaint. If you’re unhappy with the response you receive, you have the right to appeal to the Rail Ombudsman. However, if you are not satisfied with any aspect of our response, in the first instance please write to our Customer Relations Manager. The Rail Ombudsman is there to help resolve ongoing complaints between us and our customers. It’s free to use their services and they are independent of the rail industry. They don’t take sides, but just look at the evidence available. They will help us both to try to reach an agreement, but if this doesn’t happen, they will make a decision based on the evidence they’ve received. If you agree with their decision, then we have to act on what they say.
You can appeal to the Rail Ombudsman if:
- you’re unhappy with our final response to your complaint which will be contained in a letter or email (sometimes called a ‘deadlock letter’); or
- we haven’t resolved your complaint within 40 working days of receiving it; and
- no more than 12 months have passed since we sent you our final response.
There are some complaints that the Rail Ombudsman won’t be able to look into, for example if it’s about the way one of our services has been designed, industry policy, or if your complaint relates to an event which took place before the Rail Ombudsman service was established. If that’s the case, then they’ll contact you to let you know. If possible, they will transfer your complaint to another organisation that may be able to help you further, such as Transport Focus or London TravelWatch – the independent consumer watchdog[s] for the rail industry. They will independently review your complaint and where appropriate, follow things up on your behalf.
The Ombudsman Contact Centre team are available:
Monday to Friday 08:00 - 20:00
Saturday and Bank Holidays 08:00 - 13:00 (excluding Christmas Day)