Isle of Wight Camera update….

Most of you will be aware of our recent ‘pop-up’ camera on the Isle of Wight, overlooking Ryde Esplanade, Ryde Pier and the hovercraft landing area, if you missed it you can view some of the footage below….

©Railcam UK Ltd

This temporary camera, streamed via iPad from our teams hotel room window, was a huge success with upwards of 500 viewers at once logging in to our YouTube stream to see the famous Island Line stock, hovercraft, shipping and bus action.

Since that visit our admin team have been in discussions with the hotel, and we are delighted to reveal those discussion have been very positive and we plan to visit the site again in the next couple of weeks to survey for a possible permanent camera.

We would like to thank the team at the Royal Esplanade Hotel for a wonderful stay. Find out more at https://www.royalesplanadehotel.co.uk.

Great Northern marks 170th anniversary of its first train into London

This month, the railway connecting Peterborough to London celebrates 170 years of service and to mark the occasion, Great Northern has released a series of commemorative videos that celebrate the transformation of the route over recent years.

Designed and built by the pioneering Cubitt family, the Great Northern Railway was opened in 1850 and helped to deliver growth across Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and the London suburbs. Many areas on the Great Northern route have benefitted from the railway’s direct connectivity to London, including Hatfield and Stevenage, which were original calling points and now serve millions of rail users every year.

Since September 2014 GTR has operated the Great Northern brand and, together with Thameslink, three new fleets are now in service meaning more trains are running than ever before. These include class 387s connecting London with King’s Lynn, class 717s that deliver more capacity on lines running into Moorgate – and high-capacity class 700s, which provide cross-London journeys to new destinations.

As part of the anniversary celebrations, a series of short videos has been released by the rail operator, presented by British journalist, broadcaster and railway enthusiast Michael Portillo. As well as providing a snapshot of the Great Northern Railway’s 170-year heritage between Peterborough and London, the videos also look to the future transformation of the East Coast Mainline.

The East Coast Upgrade from Network Rail has already seen a new bay platform being opened at Stevenage on 2nd August, which will greatly improve performance by helping Great Northern to run services more punctually on both the metro and mainline services.

Steve White, Chief Operating Officer at Govia Thameslink Railway commented: “It is 170 years since the first Great Northern Railway train carried passengers between Peterborough and London. The railway has a proud history and a bright future. It is now undergoing a Digital transformation.

“We have introduced new fleets and expanded services increasing connectivity and accessibility. In the last independent passenger survey Great Northern was the most improved operator. We are proud to be the custodian of the iconic Great Northern name. This railway continues to serve as a vital route into London and, together with Network Rail and the East Coast Upgrade project, we will continue to invest and transform this railway for the benefit of customers.”

Michael Portillo added: “The line from Peterborough to London King’s Cross is steeped in railway history, and it was great to be involved in marking this significant milestone for the railway. The East Coast Mainline is one of Britain’s most important railway arteries. Over the years it has played a key part in the growth of towns and cities along the route, and still does today – which is definitely worth celebrating.”

£589m to kickstart rail upgrades across the North

  • Over £600m worth of investment in northern rail network will drive improvements across the region, including release £589m for work to upgrade and electrify Transpennine main line  
  • New Council, led by Grant Shapps as Northern Powerhouse Minister, will give northern leaders ‘direct line’ to ministers to accelerate transport projects 
  • Body’s work to drive progress across the North will be supported by DfT staff based in northern cities

£589m to kickstart work on the Transpennine main line between Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester has been confirmed today by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps alongside the establishment of a new Northern Transport Acceleration Council, dedicated to accelerating vital infrastructure projects and better connecting communities across the North’s towns and cities.

The most congested section of the route will be doubled from two to four tracks, allowing fast trains to overtake slower ones, improving journey times and reliability for passengers across the North. Most of the line will be electrified, and our ambition is to go further. Full electrification, digital signalling, more multi-tracking and improved freight capacity are now under consideration as part of an “Integrated Rail Plan” due to report in December. 

Those improvements would allow all-electric services between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York and Newcastle; bring longer and more frequent trains; and create significantly more local capacity along the line. 

Upgrades to allow more freight on the route, replacing thousands of diesel lorry journeys with electric freight trains, will also be considered in the Plan.

Work is also under way to tackle the bottlenecks at either end of the route, without which the upgrade’s potential cannot be fulfilled. Leeds station is being resignalled and a new platform is being built. In central Manchester, development funding was awarded last month to tackle rail congestion. 

The Council launched today will ensure northern leaders have a direct line to ministers and has been formed with the desire to cut bureaucracy and red tape so passengers can get the modern, reliable transport network they deserve as quickly as possible.

As part of the government’s wider strategy to level up communities and strengthen devolution, the Council’s work will engage with Department for Transport (DfT) staff based in northern cities and dedicated to delivering for the North.

This follows the announcement of a range of investments to level-up infrastructure across the North including £20m to deliver infrastructure renewals on the Tyne and Wear Metro, following £15m announced to upgrade Horden, Darlington and Middlesbrough stations.

Transport Secretary and Northern Powerhouse Minister Grant Shapps said: 

“People across the North rightly expect action, progress and ambition, and this government is determined to accelerate improvements as we invest billions to level up the region’s infrastructure. 

“We are determined to build back better at pace, and this new council will allow us to engage collectively and directly with elected northern leaders to build the vital projects the region is crying out for.” 

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said:

“Levelling-up opportunity will be key in our recovery from Coronavirus – and our long-term success will rely on having world-class infrastructure in all parts of the country. The Transpennine rail upgrade shows we are delivering on our promises to the North.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:

“This feels like a gear change from the government in the delivery of transport improvements in the North of England and I welcome the new drive that the Transport Secretary is bringing to this. 

“People here deserve a modern, reliable public transport system and it is my hope that the Northern Transport Acceleration Council will bring forward the day when that is a reality. It is crucial that the Council listens to the voice of the North and is accountable to people here through their elected politicians and bodies such as Transport for the North.

“The additional funding for the Transpennine Route Upgrade is a welcome sign of intent from the government. The North has long argued for the existing scheme to be upgraded to bring the full range of passenger and freight benefits and we are glad that the government has listened to this. But it is important to be clear that upgrading the existing railway between Manchester and Leeds does not diminish the need for a new line in Northern Powerhouse Rail nor does it solve the capacity issues in central Manchester which require a separate solution.

“As we look to recover from Covid-19 and build back better, I am ready to work in constructive partnership with the government to get visible transport improvements as quickly as possible. My top priority is to build a London-style, integrated public transport system in Greater Manchester and I look forward to working with the Secretary of State on making this vision a reality.” 

The Northern Transport Acceleration Council will hold its first meeting in September and will be made up of mayors and council leaders with the Transport Secretary as chair. It will work closely with the Northern Powerhouse Growth Body to improve outcomes for people and places in the North. 

Its establishment and the announcement of funds for upgrade works are the latest in a range of investments this government has put into northern transport.  

In March, the DfT took over the running of rail services on the Northern network to deliver vital improvements and ensure that passengers are given the level of service they deserve. 

At Budget the Chancellor confirmed over £720m investment in local transport across the North through the Transforming Cities Fund.  

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said:

“As the country begins its economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic it’s vital that Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool have the tools and infrastructure to play their part and achieve their potential. 

“This new body will not only give leaders like me another avenue to press our transport case to ministers. DfT staff based in the North will also see first-hand the challenges and opportunities we face, and the improvements and projects needed to unlock further growth and prosperity, with the ability to act on these.

“It’s also great to see more funding for the critical upgrades necessary to the Transpennine Route, which are desperately needed to bring about transformational change across the network. This will help increase capacity, reliability and connectivity between Redcar and Middlesbrough to York, Leeds and Manchester, giving our passengers, businesses and, ultimately, freight services the links they deserve.”

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke MP said:

“Improving infrastructure to help better connect communities is key to this Government’s mission to level up every region.

“The new Northern Transport Council is an important step and will help to accelerate and deliver the tangible improvements people across the Northern Powerhouse want to see.”

In May ministers gave the go-ahead to the A63 Castle Street scheme, which will better connect Hull’s city centre with the city’s retail and docks area and help boost economic growth in the region. 

And earlier this month the government provided £1m to fund a business case to transform the Queensbury Tunnel in to a greenway cycling and pedestrian link between Halifax and Bradford.  

At the end of this year the government will publish the Integrated Rail Plan, specifically looking at how to deliver NPR, HS2 and other rail needs as quickly and efficiently as possible for the North. 

East Midlands Railway to reintroduce more services and more seats from Monday 6th July

  • Further timetable enhancement will be introduced on Monday 6th July
  • Part of national efforts to provide more capacity as lockdown restrictions continue to be eased
  • Customers are still required to wear a face-covering while travelling
East Midlands Railway will be reintroducing a number of train services and providing additional seats on existing services from Monday 6th July.

This is part of a step up in rail services across the country as more people are able to return to work alongside the easement of restrictions for numerous industries and businesses. 

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, EMR has been carefully monitoring the number of customers travelling across the network in order to provide the best possible service. In May, EMR stepped up its timetable by 20% – to provide over 80% of the normal daily timetable.

This further step-up is a targeted increase to provide additional services and capacity where it is required and possible to do so. EMR will continue to monitor customer numbers and keep this new timetable under review. 

The new timetable does not mean any changes to the requirement for customers to wear face coverings while travelling. Face coverings continue to be mandatory for customers and must be worn. Children under the age of 11 and people with a disability or illness which means they cannot wear a face covering are exempt.

EMR will continue to offer additional support and guidance to customers before and during their journey to support social distancing in line with official Government advice. This includes additional signage, online support and wayfinding in stations and on trains. Customers are also reminded to continue to follow Government advice and avoid public transport where possible and to only travel by train if you need to do so.

For more information on EMR’s efforts to help everyone travel safely, please visit: https://www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk/covid-19

Will Rogers, Managing Director, East Midlands Railway, said: 

“We are pleased we can reintroduce more of our services from Monday 6th July. 

“With the further easement of social restrictions and the reopening of more leisure and retail businesses we expect customers number to continue to slowly rise. Therefore, it makes sense to introduce more services and more seats ahead of the expected increase in customers. 

“We simply ask customers to ensure they bring a face covering with them as they will remain mandatory on public transport alongside this increase in services and follow Government on the use of public transport.”

Intercity
The following services will be added:
– 0600 Sheffield to London St Pancras (arriving 0827) 
– 2105 London St Pancras to Nottingham (arriving 2254) 

The addition of this morning service means that EMR will be operating 13 out of 14 of its morning peak time arrivals into London St Pancras.

EMR Regional
The 6th July plan will broadly be a continuation of the current timetable with an hourly service running on all routes, or the normal frequency where this is less than hourly.  However, there will be a small number of exceptions to this where this is not possible. 

The following services will be reintroduced:
– 0635 Nottingham to Liverpool Lime Street (arriving 0928)
– 0951 Liverpool Lime Street to Nottingham (arriving 1229)
– 0752 Nottingham to Norwich will start back from Mansfield Woodhouse at 0707, restoring a missing peak time service on the Robin Hood Line
– 0738 & 0838 Worksop to Nottingham (arriving 0844 & 0944 respectively) will each have an additional carriage (taking them to 3-car)
– All off-peak Robin Hood Line services strengthened to 3-carriages

Thousands of hours in delays to be saved as UK’s first mainline digital railway introduced

  • £350m new investment to deliver real-time digital signalling on part of East Coast Main Line
  • Passengers to benefit from fewer delays and missed connections as conventional signalling system is replaced and brought into 21st century
  • Major boost for the supply chain will support jobs and economic growth, ahead of national roll-out of the technology

The East Coast Main Line is set to become Britain’s first mainline digital rail link with £350 million of new investment to install state-of-the art electronic signalling designed to cut journey times and slash delays.

This huge cash injection – on top of £1.2 billion already earmarked to upgrade one of the country’s most important rail arteries – will fund the replacement of conventional signalling with a digital system that allows trains to talk to the track. This will smooth the flow of trains, make journeys safer and reduce signal failures that every year result in thousands of hours of delays.    

The upgrading of the line is just one element of the Government’s plan for a 21st Century rail network that will help spread prosperity to all parts of the country. A third of the United Kingdom’s population lives within 20 minutes’ reach of an East Coast Mainline station and together they produce 41% of GDP.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has accelerated the roll-out of digital signalling to speed up Britain’s economic recovery as we climb out of the Covid 19 crisis. It’s part of a wider national plan aimed at introducing digital signalling on to the entire rail network in Great Britain.

The new technology allows signallers to know exactly where each train is at every minute of every journey. The East Coast Main Line is a mixed-use railway, with trains of different sizes and speeds, both passenger and freight, all using the same tracks. This smart signalling recognises these different trains, allowing train and track to talk to each other continuously in real-time. This ‘in-cab’ system will mean an end to conventional signalling at the side of tracks – first used in the Victorian era.

The introduction of digital signalling is also set to create high-skilled jobs across the supply chain, helping boost the economy as the country builds out of Covid-19.

More than 80 million journeys are made each year on the East Coast Main Line, linking London with Edinburgh, with congestion on the route compounded by signalling nearing the end of its useful life. The upgrade, between London King’s Cross and Stoke Tunnel in Lincolnshire, will ensure that more travellers reach their destinations on time. Delays in the south of the route have a knock-on effect further north, so the modernisation work will make life easier for people along the entire length of this vital national asset.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“As the country recovers from Covid-19 we want to speed up our economy and reap the benefits of new transport technology. The Victorians gave us the world’s first great rail network and now it’s our turn to be modern transport pioneers and build on that great tradition.

“Upgrading this country’s conventional signalling system, and giving drivers technology fit for the 21st century, will boost train performance, cut delays, improve safety and support the supply chain.

“This is just the beginning. In time, we will digitise signalling right across the country to make good on our promise of better reliability and punctuality for passengers.

“Passengers shouldn’t have to worry about missing connections or being late home to see their children, and I’ve been clear that getting the trains to run on time is a personal priority.”

Today’s funding comes on top of the Government’s investment of £1.2bn between 2014 and 2024 to improve passenger journeys on the East Coast Main Line, creating capacity for up to 10,000 extra seats a day on long-distance services, speeding up journeys and improving reliability for passengers.

Development work is already underway with Network Rail to roll out digital signalling on further routes including sections of the West Coast Main Line, Midland Main Line and Anglia from 2026, leading to safer, more reliable, more resilient railways. The Government also announced today that £12m is being invested in fitting out 33 new trains for the Midland Main Line with digital signalling equipment.

Toufic Machnouk, Programme Director of the East Coast Digital Programme, said:

“Today’s announcement is a big step towards transforming the network for the millions of passengers that use the east coast main line and a welcome endorsement of the partnership approach that the rail industry has adopted to deliver Britain’s first inter-city digital railway. The funding detailed by the Secretary of State is very significant and will enable the vital building blocks needed to build a modern, right time railway”

David Horne, LNER Managing Director and Chair of the East Coast Digital Programme’s Industry Steering Board said: 

“After LNER and other operators on the East Coast successfully introduced brand new fleets, in-cab signalling will be the next exciting step we take to maximise the benefits of the technology that Azuma and all the trains on this route offer. This investment is good news for all customers, who will see even more improvements in services, reliability and sustainability.” 

East Midlands Railway key workers host ‘Grifftonbury’ online concert for key workers

  • Online concert created by Railway key workers for all key workers
  • Cut & Run reunite to perform on Saturday 9th May
  • Money raised goes to Hospice UK, supporting the NHS

Staff at EMR are performing a socially distanced concert to raise money and awareness for Hospice UK. The online concert, ‘Grifftonbury’, will take place on Saturday 9th May.

The idea for ‘Grifftonbury’ was put together back in 2017 by East Midlands Railway (previously East Midlands Trains) and Samaritans staff as a way to raise money for charity.

As a lifelong Glastonbury fan, Paul Griffin (Griff), Head of Drivers for EMR and a keen Bass player, decided to put a band together.

Just over a year later, ‘Cut & Run’ were formed, consisting of Pete Eddy (Driver, Nottingham), Simon Thorpe (Driver, Nottingham) Paul Griffin (Head of Drivers), Jason Ochello (Driver Depot Manager St Pancras & Kettering), Duane Firth (Driver Manager, Nottingham) and Ashley Wynder (Trainee Train Driver).

After months of rehearsals, marketing, planning and even commemorative t-shirts, Cut & Run performed for the first time back in 2018. Encompassing classic tracks covering four decades; from ballads to ‘Pop’ to Rock ‘n’ Roll, Cut & Run performed for their audience who were all on the dance floor ‘strutting their stuff’ and enjoying the party.

Cut & Run have since organised and performed several other charity events and raised thousands of pounds.

After the Covid-19 pandemic sent the UK in to lockdown in March, key workers across the railway and other sectors have been working hard to keep the country moving and what better way for them to enjoy some down time then to tune in to an online concert performed by Cut & Run.

Cut & Run will perform online at 20:00 on Saturday 9th May, if you would like to listen and donate, follow Grifftonbury on Facebook or Twitter for all the details.

Paul Griffin, Head of Drivers for EMR said “With Coronavirus meaning a lockdown in the UK, we wanted to celebrate all the wonderful key workers who are continuing to work every day during this pandemic.

“Cut & Run are going to perform a one off concert, whilst socially distancing of course, to cheer everybody up hopefully raise funds for Hospice UK, who are doing wonderful work in very difficult circumstances.

“We are looking forward to performing again and hope everyone enjoys it”.

 

Grifftonbury Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Grifftonbury/

Grifftonbury Twitter page – https://twitter.com/Grifftonbury

#SpottingFromHome

#SpottingFromHome @railcamlive @CrossCountryUK

With the current COVID-19 crisis, the opportunity to get out and enjoy our hobby has been drastically cut, so with that in mind we are asking everyone to take advantage of our live cameras and do a bit of #SpottingFromHome.

Simply screen grab any interesting train movements you see on our cameras as you are watching, post them to Twitter and tag us, @railcamlive and we will give our favourites a like/retweet throughout the day.

All we ask is that you don’t crop the images. You can also tag the train operating companies involved if you like, and please do include the hashtag #SpottingFromHome

We have recently had a number of rail staff taking part whilst they are out keeping the railways running, so also look out for #SpottingFromWork. A huge thank you to all those #keyworkers and #FrontLineHeros across the rail industry.

You can find our cameras on our website at www.railcam.uk and our YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/c/RailcamUKLive

If you are not a twitter user, we have a Facebook group, Railcam Gallery, which you can find at https://www.facebook.com/groups/163274401131139/

Remember to #StaySafeStayHome The trains will still be there when we get through these difficult times.

CrossCountry welcomes Worcestershire Parkway to its network

CrossCountry, part of the Arriva Group, has welcomed the opening of Worcestershire’s first new railway station for over 100 years.

On Sunday 23 February, Worcestershire Parkway station joins 118 stations already served by CrossCountry across Great Britain. With its large, secure car park, modern facilities and accessible platforms, the new station makes a fantastic gateway to the region.

With an hourly CrossCountry service throughout the day, southbound to Gloucester and Cardiff and northwards to Birmingham and Nottingham, onward connections will link the county to almost every part of the country. As well as CrossCountry, GWR services to the Cotswolds and London will extend the county’s reach. This enhanced connectivity to the rest of Britain will enable Worcestershire to continue growing its business and tourism links as the country becomes an even easier place to visit.

Tom Joyner, CrossCountry’s Managing Director, said: “We are delighted that Worcestershire Parkway is now open for business. This new station and its excellent connections will benefit the regions’ rail users, and we look forward to working with the council and other stakeholders to promote its use.”

© Cross Country by Arriva

Step into Spring with series of free guided walks from Suffolk rail stations

A Suffolk organisation aims to get more people walking this Spring with a series of free guided walks.

The East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership will run a guided walk over five Saturdays from 29 February until 4 April with each one starting and ending at a Greater Anglia rail station on the Ipswich – Lowestoft and Felixstowe rail lines.

The Partnership’s Chairman, Aaron Taffera, says he hopes that because the walks start and end at the train station people will come from far and wide to enjoy them – and be able to leave the car at home.

He commented: “It means that people can discover our beautiful Suffolk countryside without the pollution of additional cars entering the county.”

The first walk, on Saturday 29 February, is a 5-mile circular walk from Westerfield station. More details about other walks in the programme can be found at www.eastsuffolkline.org.

They all start and end at a rail station, connecting in with train times.

Chairman of the East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership, Aaron Taffera, adds, “Studies have shown that walking is great for your health and the beautiful scenery of our part of Suffolk is positively good for the soul, so we encourage everyone to come and try one of our walks.

“With the added benefit of being able to travel on one of Greater Anglia’s brand new, more environmentally friendly trains, people can get out and about whilst reducing their carbon footprint.”

The Partnership has also produced a book of self-guided walks from rail stations which is free and available from most public buildings in Suffolk such as tourist information centres and libraries or online at http://www.eastsuffolkline.com/walks

The booklet contains detailed maps and diagrams, duration of each walk, landmarks, details of the scenery along the way and places to stop for refreshments. All the walks are way-marked with the East Suffolk Line Walks logo.

The book of 22 walks – covering more than 160 miles – saw the Partnership nominated for an ‘Influencing Positive Change’ Award at last year’s Community Rail Awards.

Beautiful Wickham Market, one of the locations for the walks. © Greater Anglia
The East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership have made a video of the line to attract visitors

The dawn of a new era as Grand Central invests £21 million in trains to serve its new North West route

© Robert Fenner, DB Cargo

Grand Central is investing more than £21 million in trains to operate on its new North West to London route, with the refurbishment of the first locomotive complete with its iconic livery.

The open access rail operator today revealed it has leased 24 coaches and 5 locomotives, to run daily direct services between Blackpool North and London Euston starting later this year.

Four sets of MK4 coaches in six-car formation have been leased from Eversholt Rail until December 2026. The coaches will be maintained at Alstom’s Wembley depot and serviced overnight at Arriva North’s Blackpool depot.

The coaches are currently undergoing a £1.5 million refurbishment at Alstom in Widnes, which will include Grand Central livery and a full interior refresh designed with the comfort of leisure and business passengers in mind.

Each of the trains running along the North West to London route will include First Class carriages, free Wi-Fi throughout, buffet, accessible toilets and baby changing facilities. There will also be wheelchair and priority seating available.

From next month (March), people living in the vicinity of stations along the new North West to London Euston route may spot three sets of coaches (MK4s), as driver training gets underway. These coaches have been secured under short-term lease from Eversholt Rail.

Grand Central has also hired a pool of five locomotives (Class 90s) from DB Cargo UK (pictured). Four of these will be in service at any one time, with one locomotive spare for maintenance purposes. 

These electric, non-tilting trains, will run along the North West – London Euston route, as well as other cleared routes between Blackpool, Preston, Nuneaton, Milton Keynes and London when diversions are needed. The trains will be maintained by DB Cargo UK at Crewe Electric Maintenance Depot. Grand Central’s North West fleet is compliant with disability and accessibility standards (PRM).

Paul Batty, Fleet Project Manager for Grand Central, said: “We are incredibly proud of the work that has been done to bring our new fleet of rolling stock to fruition, starting with our first locomotive ready to begin driver training in a couple of weeks’ time. It’s taken a lot of planning and a considerable team effort to get to this stage and it’s fantastic that our customers will soon be able to see our refurbished Grand Central trains in operation.”

Dave Hatfield, Grand Central’s Fleet Director, said: “We’re delighted to reveal our rolling stock for our new North West to London route. These trains have been chosen because of their proven track record and suitability for the service that we will be operating.

“It’s exciting times ahead and we’re thrilled to be bringing our operational expertise and industry-leading customer service to this new route. We can’t wait to welcome our first passengers on board to experience travelling with Grand Central and look forward to offering more choice for existing rail users and new opportunities for people to travel by train.”

Steve Timothy, Stakeholder Director at Eversholt Rail said: “Eversholt Rail are delighted that Grand Central has chosen our MK4 coaches for its new North West to London rail service. We look forward to working with Grand Central and extending our successful working relationship with the Arriva Group.”    

A spokesman for DB Cargo said: “We’re delighted to be working with our colleagues at Grand Central to provide such a range of valuable services for passengers in the North West.”

Grand Central’s North West to London services were approved in June 2018 by the Rail Regulator, the Office of Rail and Road.

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 and investing in local communities 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 between Blackpool North and London Euston every day of the week.

Blackpool will gain direct services to London on Sundays, as well as later trains to and from the capital on Mondays to Saturdays. 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 business travellers to the capital and offering a choice of operator along with great value fares.

Grand Central has successfully recruited train drivers and is in the final stages of recruiting the onboard staff it needs for its Blackpool traincrew hub. More information can be found at www.grandcentralrail.com/careers

  • More information about the Blackpool route, proposed timetable and daily services is available at www.grandcentral.rail.com/blackpool
  • Follow the railway company on Twitter @GC_RailFacebook or LinkedIn.
  • Picture caption: Class 90 locomotive at Crewe Electric Maintenance Depot
  • Picture credit: Robert Fenner, DB Cargo.