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Rail passengers rate Grand Central Britain’s best train operator

Grand Central Train at London Kings Cross Station

A YORKSHIRE-based train company has been rated the passengers’ favourite in a national survey of rail users.

Since launching its first service 13 years ago between Sunderland and London Kings Cross, and adding Bradford to London services ten years ago, York-based Grand Central has proved a railway success story and has once again topped the twice-yearly National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS).

The good news comes in the same week that Grand Central announced it would be returning to service on both routes in late July, following a four-month hibernation period due to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

Grand Central managing director Richard McClean said: “It’s been a memorable week for us, to say the least.
“These have been a tough few months so to have our passengers rate us best in Britain is a massive boost for morale amongst our team, many of whom remain on temporary furlough as we gradually return to service. 

“We’ve always enjoyed a strong endorsement from our customers in the NRPS. To be rated best overall operator in the country again is validation of our customer care and the work of our team. It also shows that giving passengers a choice of operator drives up overall satisfaction and value for money.”

According to the survey, which is published each spring and autumn by passenger group Transport Focus, Grand Central enjoyed an overall customer satisfaction score of 95 per cent. The company, which is part of the Arriva group, also topped the Value for Money table with a passenger rating of 74 per cent. Travellers also reported a 95 per cent satisfaction rate with Grand Central’s punctuality, and strongly improved scores for on board aspects of the journey following a £9m refurbishment programme.

Mr McClean added: “Operating under an Open Access business model means we rely on ticket sales and customer footfall like most airlines, hotels and retailers. The COVID-19 travel restrictions meant it simply wasn’t possible to viably run services, so we took the difficult but necessary decision to sit out the worst of the restrictions.

“Today’s results provide a great confidence boost and tell us we were getting the important things right for our customers. When we start running trains again on July 26th we’re committed to getting those basics right. We want staff and customers to feel confident about their journey and we will offer great value tickets and a warm welcome as usual.

“We’ve listened to what our passengers said and we want their first journey back with us to be a memorable one.”

More information on Grand Central and its return to operations in July is can be found here.


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 eighth time in Spring 2019 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.


Richard Catton  I  PR & Partnerships Executive  I  Grand Central

M: 07866 173 964  |    E: [email protected]