Winners and losers on UK's East Coast rail line

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Friday, January 30, 2009

The British rail regulator has announced new train services for the country's premier line.

New "open access" (unregulated and non-franchised) company Grand Northern is to be given space (known in the industry as "paths") to run three train services a day between London King's Cross and Bradford, Halifax, Wakefield and Pontefract in West Yorkshire. Grand Northern's sister open access company Grand Central was given an extra path to increase services between King's Cross and Sunderland.

The existing franchisee of the line, National Express East Coast, was given the right to run services to London from Harrogate, Lincoln and Bradford, but not provided with paths unless the government changes the contracts of the other franchises whose territory these services would cross.

Grand Central locomotive 43080 at King's Cross station
Image: Adam Brookes.

Two other potential open access providers had their plans rejected by the regulator. First Group's Hull Trains had wanted to start a new service, Harrogate Trains, to run from North Yorkshire to London, whilst Platinum Trains had sought paths from London to Aberdeen in Scotland.

Britain's state-owned national railway company British Rail was controversially split-up and privatized in stages between 1993 and 1997. It was replaced by a series of privately owned regional train franchises for set periods, several unfranchised open access services and a track control and maintenance company.


Wikipedia Learn more about Open Access on Wikipedia.