The start of a brand new railway service between the West Riding of Yorkshire and London moved a step closer today after Angel Trains signed a lease with Grand Central Railway for the three additional trains needed to operate the timetable.
With the last of the three additional 125mph Class 180 high speed trains due to join Grand Central’s existing fleet in early 2010, test running and crew training for the new ‘West Riding’ service is likely to start in the New Year.
It is envisaged that the three return services a day between Bradford Interchange, Halifax, Brighouse, Wakefield, Pontefract, Doncaster and London King’s Cross will start in May.
Giles Fearnley, Chairman of Grand Central Railway, said: “I am hugely excited by the signing of today’s lease agreement for these trains, as it removes the largest single obstacle to the start of passenger services.
“It provides us with sufficient certainty to proceed with the numerous other processes required for the planned start up next May. This will include recruitment of additional staff, via Grand Central’s website at www.grandcentralrail.com”
To help operate the service, Grand Central, in partnership with Angel Trains, will also be investing in reliability modifications to the trains as well as improvements to the passenger environment (including installation of at seat power sockets and WiFi).
The Class 180s are owned by rolling stock leasing company Angel Trains.
Mr Fearnley added: “I would also like to put on record my thanks to Angel Trains for the help and support they have given our team. Without these additional trains we would have found it very difficult to start our new service.”
Grand Central is currently organising a series of meetings with key stakeholders and partners to brief them on progress in introducing the new ‘West Riding’ service.