Grand Central
#1
Grand Central
Grand Central launch fifth Sunderland to London service -

Quote:GRAND Central’s bid to run five daily return trains between Sunderland and London is back on track and providing a jobs boost for the city.

After months of negotiations, travellers will finally have the choice of five services departing for the capital every day of the week, starting this Sunday.

Seven new employees have been recruited locally to staff the service and in an added boost to Sunderland’s economy, Grand Central are set to open a new office in the city at the end of the month.

Their new Sunniside home will boast meeting rooms, a training suite and a mess room.

Plans to add an extra service to the four existing daily returns were revealed exclusively by the Echo last year and in October, the Office of Rail Regulation approved the operators bid.

A fifth train has been running on Saturdays since December but Network Rail could not find a slot from Monday to Friday, meaning the service has been terminating at Hartlepool.

Grand Central bosses spoke of their determination to see the new service extended, describing Sunderland as key to their business model.

Managing director Richard McClean said: “We are delighted that from this Sunday we can give passengers in Sunderland the choice of five services to and from London each day.

“We have been working closely with Network Rail since December to extend this service to serve the people of Sunderland seven days a week. I’m delighted we can now offer this to our loyal passengers.”

The new service will leave Sunderland at 2.06pm on weekday afternoons, arriving at London Kings Cross at 6.11pm.

Meanwhile, a train will head north from London at 11.21am Monday to Friday.

Gary Hutchinson, chairman of the Sunderland committee of the North East Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the news.

“I think it’s great to see the service extending, proving the demand is there and anything that improves connectivity with the capital is a good thing.

“It is also great to see them locating their new office in Sunderland and hiring Sunderland people as part of this expansion and I hope we see more of the same.

“I hope people will support the new service and repay the confidence Grand Central have shown in Sunderland.”

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Paul Watson, added: “We welcome the introduction of this additional direct return rail service from Sunderland to London, which is good news for Sunderland.

“Thanks to the hard work of Grand Central in improving regional and national rail links, Sunderland is now a better connected city. This is vital to our economic future, and the railway system has a massive part to play in that future.

“We want Sunderland to be recognised for its strengths as a business and visitor destination, this addition to the service fits in with this vision.”

Source - http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/busin...-1-5683104

The new timetable effective from tomorrow (19 May) can be found online at Grand Central Rail - http://www.grandcentralrail.com/

#2
RE: Grand Central
Great news for Sunderland. Especially the job creation aspect.
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#3
RE: Grand Central
Sunderland to London rail services looks to secure future

THE firm behind Sunderland’s rail link to London wants to guarantee its future for another decade.


Grand Central is planning major investments if it gets the green light to extend its permission to run the service until 2026.

The company is an open-access train operator, which means it runs services under a Track Access Contract approved by the national Office of Rail Regulation.

The current arrangement expires in 2016.

A 28-day consultation is now under way and will run until 5pm on Monday, September 2.

Full article from Sunderland Echo:

http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/busin...-1-5960848


#4
RE: Grand Central
Wednesday's Kings Cross to Sunderland at 14:50 was cancelled.

#5
RE: Grand Central
(16 Aug 2013, 12:26 pm)cbma06 Wrote: Sunderland to London rail services looks to secure future

THE firm behind Sunderland’s rail link to London wants to guarantee its future for another decade.


Grand Central is planning major investments if it gets the green light to extend its permission to run the service until 2026.

The company is an open-access train operator, which means it runs services under a Track Access Contract approved by the national Office of Rail Regulation.

The current arrangement expires in 2016.

A 28-day consultation is now under way and will run until 5pm on Monday, September 2.

Full article from Sunderland Echo:

http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/busin...-1-5960848

According to Wikipedia, only 14 class 180 sets were built.
They have led a nomadic life, but I wonder where Grand Central are planning to get the others from, to fulfil their ambition of having a standardised fleet?
First Hull have 4 and First Great Western 5.

#6
RE: Grand Central
www.itv.com/news/tyne-tees/update/2013-09-14/improvements-to-teesside-station/

Grand Central are putting a chunk of money into the pot to improve the station after a surge in passengers using it.

#7
RE: Grand Central
Went down to York last week for a weeks training, was going to take the car down but It would cost a lot of petrol even though I would get to reclaim my expenses back from the company, I decided to take the pain out of driving down there and looked at the Grand Central Train website and it only cost me £12.50 each way between Hartlepool and York, on the way back I finish my training earlier than I expected and I was booked on the 21:20 from York to Hartlepool arriving at 22:25, I got back to York Station at 5pm and I would of have to wait a few hours, I went into the booking office and see about transferring the ticket to the next Grand Central Station train will would be the 16:50 from London and it only cost me an additional 10p for transferring to that train so I got back into Hartlepool just before 8pm. The prices are not too bad.


#8
RE: Grand Central
(20 Oct 2013, 2:24 pm)cbma06 Wrote: Went down to York last week for a weeks training, was going to take the car down but It would cost a lot of petrol even though I would get to reclaim my expenses back from the company, I decided to take the pain out of driving down there and looked at the Grand Central Train website and it only cost me £12.50 each way between Hartlepool and York, on the way back I finish my training earlier than I expected and I was booked on the 21:20 from York to Hartlepool arriving at 22:25, I got back to York Station at 5pm and I would of have to wait a few hours, I went into the booking office and see about transferring the ticket to the next Grand Central Station train will would be the 16:50 from London and it only cost me an additional 10p for transferring to that train so I got back into Hartlepool just before 8pm. The prices are not too bad.

Not a bad price, how much in advance did you have to book to get them fares or is that the normal walk on fares?

EDIT: Just looked at website, I see it takes just over an hour from Hartlepool to York, the same time it takes from Newcastle.....

#9
RE: Grand Central
(20 Oct 2013, 2:41 pm)citaro5284 Wrote: Not a bad price, how much in advance did you have to book to get them fares or is that the normal walk on fares?

EDIT: Just looked at website, I see it takes just over an hour from Hartlepool to York, the same time it takes from Newcastle.....

Went down on the train on the Monday, booked the tickets 3 days before online, but I had to go to the train station at Hartlepool and use the self service machine to get my tickets, had to put my debit card in the machine and then take it back out and type in a reference number in what I was given online and then the machine spits out the tickets lol.

Don't know what the fares would be if you go the same day, Grand Central trains website has all the fares on.

The trains that I was on was busy even though there were a lot of old folks on the train.


#10
Re: RE: Grand Central
(20 Oct 2013, 2:41 pm)citaro5284 Wrote: Not a bad price, how much in advance did you have to book to get them fares or is that the normal walk on fares?

EDIT: Just looked at website, I see it takes just over an hour from Hartlepool to York, the same time it takes from Newcastle.....

This is what puts me off travelling Grand Central, when I've looked at doing Sunderland to London. I live closer to Sunderland Station than I do Newcastle, but if I travel somewhere I like to be there in the shortest time.

The East Coast 07.03 off Newcastle is a winner for me everytime.
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#11
RE: Grand Central
(20 Oct 2013, 4:13 pm)aureolin Wrote: This is what puts me off travelling Grand Central, when I've looked at doing Sunderland to London. I live closer to Sunderland Station than I do Newcastle, but if I travel somewhere I like to be there in the shortest time.

The East Coast 07.03 off Newcastle is a winner for me everytime.

Me too....in London for 09.40 (and sometimes even earlier)

#12
RE: Grand Central
http://www.grandcentralrail.com/about-us...he-ticket/

Grand Central investing in fleet, following extension to agreement.
Two new 180 sets and internal refresh for existing stock.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'

#13
RE: Grand Central
(07 Oct 2014, 10:56 am)Andreos1 Wrote: http://www.grandcentralrail.com/about-us...he-ticket/

Grand Central investing in fleet, following extension to agreement.
Two new 180 sets and internal refresh for existing stock.

Good to hear, I got on a 125 last weekend and it took me at least 5 minutes to work out how the water works, I was looking for a button, which was on the floor Smile

#14
RE: Grand Central
(07 Oct 2014, 10:56 am)Andreos1 Wrote: http://www.grandcentralrail.com/about-us...he-ticket/

Grand Central investing in fleet, following extension to agreement.
Two new 180 sets and internal refresh for existing stock.

I'd switch your specs if I was you.

There will be FIVE added 180 units. Three to replace the HSTs and two for extra capacity (Knowing 180s the way i do I imagine the "new ones" will be covering breakdowns)

#15
RE: Grand Central
Rail company's £7.8m investment on track to deliver service improvements between Bradford and London:
http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/ne...n/?ref=rss

#16
RE: Grand Central
GC now want to operate trains between Liverpool and London on behalf of Alliance Rail - basically a mocking of when ORR said no about Alliance's GNWR application.
Ruairidh | omnicity4659.co.uk  

#17
RE: Grand Central
(11 Apr 2015, 6:50 pm)Tommy_1581 Wrote: GC now want to operate trains between Liverpool and London on behalf of Alliance Rail - basically a mocking of when ORR said no about Alliance's GNWR application.


I'm wondering if it would be any kind of success. Liverpool, Manchester and (if going on the MML) Sheffield/Derby all have frequent and fast links to London already; the likes of Sunderland and Bradford didn't previously. If there's only a handful of trains a day in each direction, I don't think it will sway customers to GC - especially if it takes longer to get there*!


* Based on some quick calculations:
http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/P5...0/advanced - Virgin Trains' Liverpool - London services, with stops at Runcorn, Crewe and Stafford, take just over 2hrs, with a 1hr frequency,
http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/P5...0/advanced - Virgin Trains' Manchester - London services, both via Crewe and via Stoke-on-Trent, take 2h-2h20m, with a 20m frequency alternating between Crewe and Stoke,
http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/C8...0/advanced - East Midlands Trains' Sheffield to London services take 2h-2h10m, with a 30m frequency.

Whereas Liverpool to Manchester takes around 1h via Warrington Central, Manchester to Sheffield takes just under an hour then another 2h to London - double the duration of the rest.
If it's going to pick up any competing TOC's customers, it would be EMT's Liverpool to Norwich services which are sprinter-ran and which call at a fair few stations en-route. Plus it'd save a change of train at Sheffield if they were to use the MML.
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#18
RE: Grand Central
(16 Oct 2014, 1:11 pm)Multi21 Wrote: I'd switch your specs if I was you.

There will be FIVE added 180 units. Three to replace the HSTs and two for extra capacity (Knowing 180s the way i do I imagine the "new ones" will be covering breakdowns)

I want to know when the first refreshed unit enters service. I use GC very often and some of their 180s are very shabby internally to say the least. Very worn out carpets from the original First group interior they had when they came into service. First class often has curtains sporadically missing throughout the carriage. Saying that, they still beat Virgin East Coast for customer service hands down. 

#19
RE: Grand Central
Do Grand Central send trains through Durham?

#20
RE: Grand Central
(19 Jun 2015, 2:49 pm)Davie Wrote: Do Grand Central send trains through Durham?

None of their services go through Durham. They go to Sunderland, Hartlepool, Eaglescliffe and Northallerton before stopping at York and is then non-stop to London.