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Train operator Grand Central extends suspension of rail services

The firm, which operates from London King’s Cross to Yorkshire and the North East, does not benefit from the Government’s package of support.

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Grand Central is an open access train company (Martin Keene/PA)

Grand Central is an open access train company (Martin Keene/PA)

Grand Central is an open access train company (Martin Keene/PA)

Train company Grand Central has extended the suspension of its services until at least the end of June.

The firm, which operates from London King’s Cross to Yorkshire and the North East, has been out of action since early April due to collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

It is owned by transport giant Arriva and is one of a handful of Britain’s open access train companies, which have not benefited from the Department for Transport’s package of support for franchised operators to keep their services running.

We cannot yet welcome the number of customers neededGrand Central managing director Richard McClean

Grand Central managing director Richard McClean said: “Being an open access train operator means, unlike franchised operators, we must sell enough tickets to cover our operating costs.

“The safety of our staff and passengers is essential but social distancing rules mean we cannot yet welcome the number of customers needed to run the service sustainably.

“I think over the coming month we’ll get a really informative picture of passenger attitude, Government intentions and how the industry is dealing with social distancing, but for now the most sensible course of action for us is to monitor all this and use the time to plan our return.”

Another open access operator, Hull Trains, has also suspended its services because of the current crisis.

PA