GrandCentral: Final approval given

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yorkie

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Grand Central Railway Company


Grand Central welcomes final approval for launch of new high speed rail services from Sunderland/Hartlepool to London

Grand Central Railway Company Ltd. (Grand Central) is a York-based company, which has developed plans to launch new high quality train services from Sunderland/Hartlepool and from Bradford/Halifax to London. These new services will be operated on a fully commercial basis, without any Government subsidy.

The Board of Grand Central welcomes the announcement today from the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), confirming its approval for Grand Central to begin operation of high speed passenger train services from Sunderland and Hartlepool to London. This confirms the ORR’s provisional decision, announced on 27 January.

Final approval of Grand Central’s application for the Track Access Agreement necessary to launch its services follows a full day’s regulatory hearing at the ORR on 6 March to consider this and two related applications from GNER and Hull Trains.

Grand Central will now begin the detailed process of preparing for the launch of its services, including the procurement of rolling stock and the recruitment of drivers and other essential personnel. Details will also be announced shortly of the company’s management and shareholding structure.

Ian Yeowart, Grand Central Managing Director, comments:

“We are obviously delighted at confirmation of the provisional decision. As has been clearly proved, and identified by the ORR, the overall business and economic case for the North East was compelling, and we are grateful to all those who have contributed to this successful outcome.

“We are pleased that the ORR has stood firm in the face of fierce, unjustified and ill informed criticism, and has rightly approved new services which strike the correct balance of the ORR’s statutory duties.

“It is now time to move on, work with the industry to identify the additional paths required, and look at ways of delivering the Bradford, Halifax and West Yorkshire services that cannot be accommodated at the moment.”
 
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What the hell, what type of trains are they going to use from Halifax, this is going to be mighty interesting...
 

yorkie

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DescendingSadly said:
What the hell, what type of trains are they going to use from Halifax, this is going to be mighty interesting...
Note that your route has not yet been approved. Sunderland has.

Almost certainly HSTs for the first few months, then 222s. (Unless they further delay their start date until the 222s are ready, but I doubt that)
 

Techniquest

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If they do run some HSTs on it until the Meridians come in, I'll HAVE to go there! Possible forum meet on a GC HST? Rateable Traction from Sunderland, mmm. H-O from Sunderland, mmm.

Nice to know GC finally got permission to run!
 

Craig

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What are they planning to do with the HST between trips at Sunderland? The sidings at Sunderland aren't long enough for an HST. Maybe Ryhope Grange could be used, but that will require the train being emptied and turned back in under 10 minutes to avoid delaying the Metro services.

Wasn't one of the reasons for axing the Transpennine service and cutting Northern services back to one an hour to improve reliability of Metro services?
 

evil_hippo

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WSXFan said:
If they do run some HSTs on it until the Meridians come in, I'll HAVE to go there! Possible forum meet on a GC HST? Rateable Traction from Sunderland, mmm. H-O from Sunderland, mmm.

Nice to know GC finally got permission to run!

I would certainly be up for it; If you caught a morning train out of London I would be able to make it at Doncaster or York.
 

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I personally don't believe that these paths are being used to their full capacity. Leeds is a rapidly growing city, and surely needs these extra trains to the capital to continue economic growth in the city and Yorkshire as a whole. They also make good use of existing rolling stock in the HSTs, and add extra capacity south of Doncaster. The grant of these paths would also spark off the development of West Yorkshire's rail network in the form of GNER's electrified horseshoe project.

Meanwhile, Sunderland is surely not in the right state of development for direct services to London. I would be amazed if there was the demand, especially in the east coast towns which Grand Central aim to serve. Newcastle, very much Sunderland's sister city, has a comprehensive service from London and Yorkshire, and Sunderland can be very easily reached by a fast and regular metro. Surely their is no need for direct trains? GC also only allows half the capacity of GNER trains and does not add any capacity south of Doncaster.

Hull Trains in contrast are developing a nice little customer base in Retford, a town very poorly served by GNER currently.

I believe that overall, the whole situation is mad, and that the GNER rejection is an oppurtunity wasted.
 

yorkie

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Richard Armstrong said:
Maybe more trains should be run from Leeds down the MML ?
SRA says no.
laverack222 said:
I personally don't believe that these paths are being used to their full capacity. Leeds is a rapidly growing city, and surely needs these extra trains to the capital to continue economic growth in the city and Yorkshire as a whole. They also make good use of existing rolling stock in the HSTs, and add extra capacity south of Doncaster. The grant of these paths would also spark off the development of West Yorkshire's rail network in the form of GNER's electrified horseshoe project.
I can't disagree with that (there is a but... which I'll come to later).

The horseshoe project will only help the West Yorkshire network if done in conjunction with Micklefield-Colton Jn/Selby though.

laverack222 said:
Meanwhile, Sunderland is surely not in the right state of development for direct services to London. I would be amazed if there was the demand, especially in the east coast towns which Grand Central aim to serve. Newcastle, very much Sunderland's sister city, has a comprehensive service from London and Yorkshire, and Sunderland can be very easily reached by a fast and regular metro. Surely their is no need for direct trains? GC also only allows half the capacity of GNER trains and does not add any capacity south of Doncaster.
I can't see that much difference between Sunderland now compared to Hull before HT started. People said there was no market to go to Hull.

HT also only provide around half the capacity of GNER are are just as wasteful.

I don't disagree with the points but they apply as much to Hull Trains.

laverack222 said:
Hull Trains in contrast are developing a nice little customer base in Retford, a town very poorly served by GNER currently.
OK, first of all Retford is (was?) poorly served because it's actually very small. It has an amazing service for a town of it's size.

As for HT calling there and GC not, that's only because HT have been allowed to call there, and GC will not be allowed to because of "revenue abstraction". Now why that applies to GC but not HT, I have no idea.

laverack222 said:
I believe that overall, the whole situation is mad, and that the GNER rejection is an oppurtunity wasted.
The situation would be mad regardless of the decision.

If it was rejected, it'd be illogical because of bias toward Hull Trains.

As it has been accepted, it just perpetuates the silly situation of small trains (whether they be HT or GC is irrelevant) taking up paths and preventing longer trains operating, which is madness and also illogical.
 

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Richard Armstrong said:
Maybe more trains should be run from Leeds down the MML ?

It may increase capacity, but it takes so much longer, and would be virtually no use to business passengers as the first train does not make it down in time for the start of the working day. Plus, they wouldn't want to get up any earlier than they already do ;)

Besides, if people want to travel MML, it only takes a simple hop on Virgin to Sheffield to connect into a service there. To be honest, I think that MML currently has a good share of Leeds-London services considering the lack of demand for such a slow route (I am guessing).
 

Guinness

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laverack222 said:
It may increase capacity, but it takes so much longer, and would be virtually no use to business passengers as the first train does not make it down in time for the start of the working day. Plus, they wouldn't want to get up any earlier than they already do ;)

Besides, if people want to travel MML, it only takes a simple hop on Virgin to Sheffield to connect into a service there. To be honest, I think that MML currently has a good share of Leeds-London services considering the lack of demand for such a slow route (I am guessing).

I think going via MML could cater for the leisure traveller who doesn't really mind how long it takes for them to get to London, leaving the route via the ECML able to comfortably take Business Travellers, Commuters etc who need the faster route.
 

yorkie

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Chaz said:
Maybe the DfT will say maybe ;)
DfT says no.

;)

laverack222 said:
Besides, if people want to travel MML, it only takes a simple hop on Virgin to Sheffield to connect into a service there. To be honest, I think that MML currently has a good share of Leeds-London services considering the lack of demand for such a slow route (I am guessing).
Yes, I only do it because I can get £10 FC singles from Donny and on a weekday if I am in no rush at all, it's worth it (providing I get an HST), I would never consider this for a day trip though!

The Leeds-London services are not for Leeds-London travellers, they are from Leeds to cater for Leeds-east midlands, and they only really exist because it's an efficient use of resources from Neville Hill (better than sending them empty).
 

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Chaz said:
I think going via MML could cater for the leisure traveller who doesn't really mind how long it takes for them to get to London, leaving the route via the ECML able to comfortably take Business Travellers, Commuters etc who need the faster route.

Leisure travellers do care about time! If they were going for a day for example, Midland Mainline would simply not give them enough time in London to make the journey worthwhile. I'm sure they'd rather pay the extra to get there in around half the journey time!
 

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That really depends on how much the fares are TBH. IIRC, when I did KGX - YRK the first time (only did that due to the Norwich mainline being bustituted due to some trees on the line, overhead line damage or something, not sure now. Would have gone to Great Yarmouth otherwise), twas on a Sunday and cost me something like £46.75. WITH A Y-P. Unbelieveably that was the cheapest fare available, but it did allow me to fly back to KGX later after losing my cam's pictures from the NRM somewhere at YRK on a non-stop HST!

What I'm getting is if it is cheaper to do MML to/from Doncaster or YRK, by more than a couple of quid, then I daresay most people will do it, especially if they could get an MML advance for £10 or something. I know for fact I'd rather do the MML service down if I could save about half the money I'd spend going with GNER (for those interested, I do have a different range of words I could substitute rather than the official words as I do with SWT, but I can't post them here). Besides, I'd rather get MML from Leeds and be guarenteed a HST M-F (at least that was the case in fall 2005) to London, even if it is via a slower route, rather than get the coffins to KGX and risk huge delays because another train brought the wires down for the umpteenth time. Especially considering the loco is on the rear off LDS anyway with GNER.

I'm going off topic wildly here, so I'll get back to what I originally wanted to say. Grand Central could easily provide a good few new journey opportunities for passengers in the North East, although commuters wouldn't get there in time, who on Earth commutes from Sunderland to London? Leisure travellers especially will benefit, more so those who when given the choice of changing trains would prefer to drive (yes there are many, many thousands of people like that) instead. Direct trains are always useful in encouraging that sort of people onto rail and away from buses/coaches. Might take a little longer but that doesn't necessarily bother some people. Give them a decent travelling environment, they'll be happy. Promote how it saves on them driving, especially with the huge fuel costs now (it's flown up to 94.9 here for unleaded! Only last week it was 92.9), how it'll save them for arriving exhausted from the several hour drive, all that sort of thing, give them the chance to get a good price on the fare and Grand Central have every chance of succeeding.
 

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laverack222 said:
Leisure travellers do care about time! If they were going for a day for example, Midland Mainline would simply not give them enough time in London to make the journey worthwhile. I'm sure they'd rather pay the extra to get there in around half the journey time!

I've used MML for several day trips from Leeds to London - it gets me into London for either around 09.30 or 10.45 depending whether I get the 06.14 or 07.26 ex Leeds, and there's a 19.25 back which arrives at around 22.45, which gives a good length of time in London. I've paid £6 or £10 std class and £10 first class each way at varying times. Both give plenty of time in London, and I've told work colleagues about it who are "leisure travellers" and they too are happy to use it. It is partucularly useful in the week, as my experience is that you can't get a GNER £9.50 single on any train from Leeds before around 10.00, so it's after lunchtime before you get there.

Another useful thing with these cheap singles between Leeds and London is you can go one way via MML and the other via GNER. I'll admit, I'm unlikely to go via MML if they introduce Meridians on Leeds-St Pancras services though!
 

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Same, I guess, here, although it's a close call as to whether I'd get a 222 over a coffin to London. Neither are terribly appealing. For me it would boil down to whether the better number crunching is en-route and which is cheaper. If it were a choice of £6 SC LDS - STP over £10 SC LDS - KGX, 222 over coffins, then I'm sorry but £6 222 trip wins. Put a HST on the LDS - KGX and I might be interested, but otherwise no way.
 

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WSXFan said:
Grand Central could easily provide a good few new journey opportunities for passengers in the North East, although commuters wouldn't get there in time, who on Earth commutes from Sunderland to London?
It's unlikely to be a daily commute, but there's plenty of people who would travel down for meetings and the like. Morning trains from Newcastle are generally full of people doing this.
If Grand Central were able to run a service with an earlyish (before 10) arrival into Kings Cross, then it might prove quite popular. If they stopped at Stockton or Eaglescliffe, or even possibly Yarm, they might also attract customers from Teesside too.
 

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Craig said:
It's unlikely to be a daily commute, but there's plenty of people who would travel down for meetings and the like. Morning trains from Newcastle are generally full of people doing this.
If Grand Central were able to run a service with an earlyish (before 10) arrival into Kings Cross, then it might prove quite popular. If they stopped at Stockton or Eaglescliffe, or even possibly Yarm, they might also attract customers from Teesside too.

I believe they are planning on stopping at Eaglescliffe (for Middlesbrough).
 

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A new build I presume, so I guess the production line at Bombardier will have to start building them again. However, until then, Grand Central will have to use other stock, for example HSTs as Yorkie mentioned earlier.

Wasn't there talk of Hull Trains ordering extra cars for their 222s if the production line has to be reopened?
 

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I'd wondered if they would re-open the production line just for GC and HT; would anyone else would need to jump on the bandwagon as well?

Could be a very expensive handful of 222s if they don't! Are there rumours of anyone else wanting 222s? Would be nice if Virgin got a few more...
 

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As far as I know, as long as the production line is for a minimum of 20 cars, there should be no problems. Hopefully Virgin will order some extra carriages at the same time.
 

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laverack222 said:
I believe they are planning on stopping at Eaglescliffe (for Middlesbrough).
Interesting decision. Stockton is closer to Middlesbrough and is in a higher populated area, so I'd have thought that stopping there would have attracted more customers. Although I'm not sure how much parking is available there, I think Eaglescliffe has space and also has a direct rail connection from Darlington as well as more trains from Middlesbrough/Thornaby...
 

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class 313 said:
Slow route? how is it slow?
Leeds - London via Doncaster with GNER takes just over 2 hours. Leeds - London via Derby with MML takes just over 3...
 
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