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Railhub Archive
2006-03-23 ORR-001
Office of Rail Regulation


ORR announces decision on additional services between London and Yorkshire and the North East

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Office of Rail Regulation

ORR announces decision on additional services between London and Yorkshire and the North East

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23 March 2006
source Office of Rail Regulation
type Press release

note ORR/07/06

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has decided to approve track access rights for three new daily direct services each way between Sunderland and London. The services, which will also provide new direct journeys to London from Thirsk, Northallerton, Eaglescliffe (for Teesside) and Hartlepool, will be run by a new 'open access' company, Grand Central. It is expected that services will start operation by early 2007.

ORR has also approved continuation of a currently temporary access right for a sixth daily service operated by Hull Trains each way between London and Hull, provided capacity is available.

Recognising the potential value to rail users of additional services between London and Leeds, ORR has also asked Network Rail to undertake urgently some further timetable development work. This work is needed to establish whether there is further additional capacity available on the route between Peterborough and Doncaster to accommodate GNER's proposed additional services alongside the planned three Grand Central services, the one additional Hull Trains service and other existing or planned passenger and freight services. If there is available capacity, having regard to the existing requirements of freight and passenger operators on the route and to the impact on performance, ORR would be minded to approve some or all of the rights sought by GNER.

The application from Grand Central to serve Bradford has not been approved.

Bill Emery, ORR Chief Executive, said:
"We have considered the proposals for additional services carefully in light of our statutory duties. We have had to consider how to balance the interests of rail users in different parts of Yorkshire and the North East and to take account of the effect of new services on the GNER franchise, as well as other passenger and freight operators. Given the limited capacity available, we believe that our decision offers the best overall outcome and will bring significant benefits to passengers on the route. We are now looking to Network Rail, working closely with passenger and freight operators on the East Coast Main Line, to examine urgently the scope for introducing further new services on the route, which would allow additional services to Leeds to be added over time."

Notes to Editors:
1. ORR's decision on applications for the track access rights necessary to operate additional passenger services on the ECML is published today and is available from the ORR website at A report, setting out ORR's full reasons for its decision, will be published by 6 April 2006.

2. ORR has been considering three applications for new or increased passenger services on the ECML:
? GNER - under section 22A of the Railways Act 1993 (the Act) - Additional contingent rights for five weekday Leeds - King's Cross services each way which would be used together with existing rights to operate a half?hourly off-peak service between London and Leeds.
? Grand Central - under section 17 of the Act - Firm rights for four services each way Monday to Saturday between Sunderland and King's Cross and a further four firm rights each way between Bradford and King's Cross, with three each way on Sundays on both routes.
? Hull Trains - under section 22 of the Act - Firm rights for a sixth weekday path and fifth Saturday path and contingent rights for a fourth Sunday path each way between Hull and King's Cross.

3. ORR consulted the parties to the applications and rail industry stakeholders throughout its consideration of the three applications. ORR has also taken into account a report by Network Rail ( on the availability of capacity to meet the needs of all three operators, and an economic appraisal of the applications carried out for ORR by consultants Arup.

4. ORR announced on 27 January 2006 the decision it was minded to take and invited representations from the parties to the applications and rail industry stakeholders, following which it held a rail industry hearing, before reaching a final decision on this matter.

5. ORR has decided that it should approve:
? three firm rights each way (Monday to Sunday) for Grand Central to operate services between London King's Cross and Sunderland calling at York, Thirsk, Northallerton, Eaglescliffe (for Teesside), and Hartlepool; and
? one additional contingent right each way (Monday to Sunday) for Hull Trains to operate services between London King's Cross and Hull. Subject to Network Rail being able to timetable this contingent right, this will permit Hull Trains to continue to operate its current level of service.

6. ORR does not consider there is sufficient available capacity to accommodate Grand Central's proposed services to Bradford at this time without significant changes to many existing services operating on the ECML.

7. In the light of additional information received since it announced on 27 January 2006 that it was minded not to approve GNER's proposals, ORR has asked Network Rail to undertake some further timetabling work to establish whether capacity is available to accommodate GNER's services.

8. When ORR exercises its functions under Part 1 of the Act, it is governed by its statutory duties and it is for ORR to decide how to balance them in reaching a decision. ORR has considered all its statutory duties in reaching the decision and considered that the following were particularly relevant:
? Section 4(1)(zb) - to promote improvements in railway service performance;
? Section 4(1)(a) - to protect the interests of users of railway services;
? Section 4(1)(b) - to promote the use and development of the railway network for the carriage of passengers and freight;
? Section 4(1)(d) - to promote competition for the benefit of users of railway services;
? Section 4(1)(g) - to enable providers of railway services to plan the future of their businesses with a reasonable degree of assurance;
? Section 4(3)(a) - to take into account safety considerations; and
? Section 4(5)(c) - to have regard to the funds available to the Secretary of State.

Press enquiries:
ORR Press Office - 020 7282 2007/2141
out of office hours - pager 07659 127 303

Railhub Archive ::: 2006-03-23 ORR-001


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