UK: Plans for a Blackpool – London open access service are ‘firmly on track’, with the launch now expected in spring 2020, Grand Central said on June 24.
In June last year the Office of Rail & Road granted Alliance Rail Holdings’ Great North Western Railway rights to operate the service. The project has now been transferred to sister Arriva group company Grand Central, which operates open access trains from London to Yorkshire and northeast England. Grand Central said this would enable it to draw on a larger pool of expertise and resources.
‘We will bring our operational expertise and industry-leading customer service to this new route, offering more choice for existing rail users and new opportunities for people to travel by train’, said Grand Central Managing Director Richard McClean.
Grand Central plans to operate up to five direct trains each way per day between Blackpool North and London Euston, giving the Lancashire seaside town direct services to the capital on Sundays as well as later trains from Monday to Saturday. All services would call at Poulton-le-Fylde, Kirkham & Wesham, Preston and Nuneaton, with most also stopping at Milton Keynes.
A spokesperson told Railway Gazette International that the operator was ‘in advanced discussions about the rolling stock we will use to operate these services’, and was therefore ‘not in a position to confirm any details at this time’.