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Grand Central has added an extra return service to its North East route as the company consolidates its post-lockdown return.
With the York-based operator seeing passenger numbers increase since it returned from a self-imposed COVID hibernation on July 26th, travellers on the North East route will now benefit from a fourth return service, Monday to Saturday, between Sunderland and London Kings Cross.
Grand Central managing director, Richard McClean said: “It’s a month since we started running passenger services again on our West Riding and North East routes and we‘re seeing people beginning to get out and about more.
“With public confidence in rail rising thanks to the huge efforts we’re making to maintain on-board cleanliness and social distancing, I’m very happy to take Grand Central’s return to the next stage and reintroduce this return service.
“Increasing the number of trains we’re running means we’re giving customers more choice on when to travel and we are helping social distancing across the whole network.
“Following the launch on Monday we’ll be looking to our West Riding route where we have put tickets on sale for additional services between Bradford and Kings Cross, from September 13th.”
Grand Central took the decision to pause services to reduce outgoings and protect jobs, until lockdown restrictions eased. Before lockdown Grand Central operated 18 daily services between the north and London (16 on Sundays) every day and welcomed nearly 30,000 passengers per week. The company aims to return to its pre-COVID service level this autumn, with Mr McClean saying building passenger confidence would be the key.
He said: “This isn’t a case of reopening our routes and expecting customers to flock back. We must have the absolute trust of our passengers. We want them to know they can travel with confidence on Grand Central and that we’ve implemented visible anti-COVID measures as well as maintaining our reputation for great value fairs.”
The efforts of Grand Central to build customer confidence recently saw the company gain accreditation to Visit Britain’s Good To Go initiative, while the company was also was rated the country’s favourite train operator in the spring National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS).
For information on Grand Central and its timetable go to http://www.grandcentralrail.com
Photo credit: Grand Central
This article first appeared on www.railbusinessdaily.com
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