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21 May 2024

Arriva’s Grand Central rail submits application to expand open access services in the UK

Arriva’s Grand Central rail submits application to expand open access services in the UK: Arriva UK Trains, Grand Central

  • Grand Central has submitted an application to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) for significant expansion of its services in the UK.
  • Proposal set to improve connectivity and bring additional capacity with over 550,000 extra seats offered annually between the north of England and London.
  • New services could launch as early as May 2025 if approved.

Arriva Group’s open access train operating company, Grand Central, has submitted an application to the ORR that could result in a significant uplift in capacity, around 30 per cent, for its services along existing routes connecting both the North East and West Yorkshire lines to London’s King’s Cross station.

The application includes a proposal for two additional daily return services between Bradford and London (with up to eight stops in between), bringing the total to six a day.  It also includes an additional early morning connection from York into London King’s Cross, with a late evening return, bringing much needed additional capacity onto a key route, used by both business and leisure travellers.

Subject to approval, the new services could see more than 550,000 additional seats made available, a total uplift of more than 30 percent compared to what is available today.  Services could launch around May 2025.

David Brown, Managing Director of Arriva’s UK Trains division, commented: “These proposals would bring more services and choice to passengers, building on the success of Grand Central’s open access operations, which connect a number of under-served communities in both the North East and West Yorkshire to London. This is a growth opportunity for the railway and a positive development for passengers and for our colleagues at Grand Central. By delivering additional services through open access, we can encourage more train travel, which is good for the environment and for communities, helping to ensure Britain’s rail system can thrive long into the future.”

Arriva Group has extensive operating experience across long-distance, commuter, urban, inter-urban and regional train services, through its UK Trains division which includes Grand Central, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry and Arriva Rail London.  It is the only owning group to have experience with all contract types currently in use on Britain’s railway, including national rail contracts, a concessionary contract and the open access company under the Grand Central brand.

Open access services often support and connect underserved communities, boosting economic growth and regeneration in the UK’s regions, outside of major hubs and without any Government subsidy.  By improving inter and intra-regional connectivity, Grand Central supports the growing regional economies it serves, including smaller towns and cities that wouldn’t normally be interconnected. 

Notes to Editors:

Highlights of the proposed expansion include:

  • Increased frequency: Up to two additional daily return services between London and Bradford (with stops at Peterborough, Doncaster, Pontefract, Wakefield, Mirfield, Brighouse, Halifax and Low Moor), bringing the total to six daily services and providing 360,000 additional seats per year (a 50% increase on seats currently offered on West Yorkshire services by Grand Central).
  • Enhanced connectivity: An additional early morning departure from York to London Kings Cross and a late-evening return service will provide extra capacity at critical times of the day for both business and leisure travellers, adding an extra 195,000 more seats.
  • New direct services: Introduction of four new daily calls at Seaham in Durham, providing passengers with a new direct connection to London. This will be the towns’ first and only direct connection to the Capital.
  • Additional stops: Some of the new services will include additional stops at Peterborough.
  • Grand Central’s West Yorkshire services currently connect Bradford, Low Moor, Halifax, Brighouse, Mirfield, Wakefield, Pontefract, Doncaster and Peterborough with London’s Kings Cross station.
  • Grand Central’s North Eastern services currently connect Sunderland, Hartlepool, Eaglescliffe, Northallerton, Thirsk, York and Peterborough with London’s Kings Cross station.

About Arriva:

Arriva is a leading provider of passenger transport across Europe, employing around 34,500 people and delivering around 1.6 billion passenger journeys across 10 European countries. With buses, trains, coaches, trams, waterbuses, bike-sharing systems, and on-demand transport solutions, Arriva proudly connects people and communities safely, reliably and sustainably, delivering these services in a better way, every day. The activities of Arriva are divided into four lines of business: UK Bus, UK Trains, The Netherlands and Mainland Europe. Arriva has operations in the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Contact information

Arriva Group press office

Arriva UK Trains, Grand Central: Arriva UK Trains, Grand Central

Arriva UK Trains, Grand Central