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Grand Central steams ahead to boost domestic tourism

Grand Central train at Wakefield Kirkgate station

Grand Central has revealed it is leading the rail industry by offering reservations to passengers six months in advance.

The long-distance operator, which runs services linking Yorkshire and the North East to London Kings Cross, announced it had now opened discounted ticket sales and reservations for passengers, all the way to October. It is the only train company in England to sell tickets six months in advance, whilst  this is the norm for airlines and hotels.

Louise Blyth, Commercial and Customer Policy Director, said she was immensely proud that the company was the first to offer rail users the flexibility to plan their travel so far in advance.

“The team here have worked really hard behind the scenes to have this new approach in place for when we returned to services at the end of March,” she said.

“While our trains were in hibernation we used that time to engage with our passengers and communities and this is one of the things they told us they wanted – the flexibility to plan and book their journeys well ahead and benefit from our great value discounted fares. That opportunity is now available through the Grand Central website and telesales service.

“As the country gradually comes out of lockdown over the coming months it feels really good that we’re the only train operator currently providing the means for people to make their plans to meet up with friends and loved ones right through the summer and into the autumn.

“Of course we realise plans can change too, that’s why we’re also offering the ability to change your reservation without a fee.”

The company’s six-month reservation window, known as a booking horizon within the rail industry, will be continually updated on a rolling basis. Grand Central was able to make the upgrade after adopting the new Rail Availability & Reservation Service (RARS) system, and working with its suppliers.

Grand Central returned to service on March 27th after suspending its services since January due to the effects of the COVID pandemic on passenger demand. Operating under an Open Access business model, the company relies solely on ticket sales for income.

Currently operating a limited timetable, Grand Central bosses will now increase services over the coming months in what they describe as a ‘measured and sensible’ return.

For more information on Grand Central services, including reservations and seat availability, visit the GC website at


Notes to editors

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.

Customer satisfaction levels are consistently high and the rail company was named Britain’s best value rail operator for the tenth time in the Spring 2020 National Rail Passenger Survey. In 2020 the same survey saw Grand Central rated overall best operator for customer satisfaction

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.

Richard Catton  I  PR & Partnerships Executive  I  Grand Central

M: 07971 692291  |    E: [email protected]