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Grand Central plans new Blackpool to London route from 2020 in major boost for the local economy
Grand Central has today (24 June) confirmed that its plans to run trains between Blackpool and London from Spring 2020 are firmly on track.
These InterCity services were approved in June 2018 by the Rail Regulator, the Office of Rail and Road. Originally planned as Great North Western Railway (GNWR) services they are expected to be operated by established open access operator, and sister Arriva company, Grand Central.
Grand Central currently operates direct trains between towns and cities in Yorkshire and the North East of England and London. The company has an industry-leading reputation for customer service and value for money and a track record of supporting local communities on and around its networks.
In a move which is expected to bring significant economic benefits to the North West, including a boost to tourism, Grand Central will operate up to five new direct train services to run every day of the week between Blackpool North and London Euston. Blackpool will gain direct services to London on Sundays as well as later trains to and from the capital Monday to Saturday. Poulton-le-Fylde and Kirkham & Wesham will each have new direct London services throughout the day, seven days a week. All trains will also call at Preston and Nuneaton, with most stopping additionally at Milton Keynes, connecting leisure and businesses travellers to the capital and offering a choice of operator along with low cost fares.
Richard McClean, Managing Director of Grand Central, said: “We are delighted to announce our plans to operate direct train services between London and Blackpool from early next year. We will bring our operational expertise and industry-leading customer service to this new route, offering more choice for existing rail users and new opportunities for people to travel by train. The expansion of our services will bring significant economic benefits, empower communities along the routes and offer fantastic new career opportunities.
“For more than a decade, we have been dedicated to making travel affordable and enjoyable for people in the North East and across Yorkshire. This new chapter opens up these opportunities to the other side of the Pennines and beyond, ensuring rail remains relevant and accessible to as many people as possible.”
The train operator’s expansion plans will create new jobs over the coming months. Grand Central will be recruiting drivers and on-board crew for its Blackpool traincrew hub. Train driver recruitment will begin soon. More information can be found at www.grandcentralrail.com/careers
More information about the new Blackpool services is available on the Grand Central website at www.grandcentralrail.com/blackpool
Notes to editors:
Rights to operate these new ‘open access’ services were sought originally by Alliance Rail Holdings on behalf of Great North Western Railway (GNWR), both of which are also Arriva companies. These rights were granted by the Office of Rail and Road in its decision letter dated 7 June 2018.
To ensure successful service introduction the mobilisation project has now been transferred from Alliance Rail and GNWR to Grand Central to make best use of a larger pool of expertise and resources.
Grand Central Railway Company Limited is an established train operator which provides direct rail connections from towns and cities in Yorkshire and the North East England with London.
Established in 2007, Grand Central celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2017. Customer satisfaction levels are consistently high and the rail company was named Britain’s best value rail operator for the seventh time in the Autumn 2018 National Rail Passenger Survey.
Grand Central operates West Riding Services between Bradford Interchange, Low Moor, Halifax, Brighouse, Mirfield, Wakefield Kirkgate, Pontefract Monkhill, Doncaster and London King’s Cross. The rail operator also operates North East services between Sunderland, Hartlepool, Eaglescliffe, Northallerton, Thirsk, York and London King’s Cross.
Grand Central is part of the Arriva group. Arriva is one of the leading providers of passenger transport in Europe, employing over 53,000 people and delivering 2 billion passenger journeys a year across 14 European countries. We are part of Deutsche Bahn (DB), one of the world’s leading passenger and logistics companies, and are responsible for DB's regional passenger transport services outside Germany.
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Sarah Banks/Anna Hodgson
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0191 261 4250