HARROGATE business leaders are urging transport chiefs to streamline the new route connecting the town with London, after it attracted more than 43,000 passengers in its first year of operation.
The evening return from Kings Cross to Harrogate was restored on May 22, last year after extensive lobbying by Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Harrogate Borough Council and many other local organisations – making it the first new train service to the spa town for 25 years.
Following the huge take-up of the service which runs direct to and from the capital seven days a week, the chamber of trade is now calling on East Coast Trains to examine the possibility of making the journey times shorter by reducing station delays en route.
The chamber has also asked the Department for Transport to introduce a new early-morning service from Kings Cross via Leeds to Harrogate and a new evening return from Harrogate to Kings Cross.
“It has clearly been welcomed not only by Harrogate business people and local residents returning from trips to London, but even more importantly by the thousands of business and leisure visitors coming to Harrogate from London, the South-East of England and East Anglia,” said chamber chief executive Brian Dunsby.
“Over 60 years ago Harrogate enjoyed a frequent London-Harrogate-Edinburgh Pullman Car service, with up to 10 trains per day.
“This was cut back in stages until Harrogate had just one direct London service, southbound, Monday to Saturday mornings only.
“The new northbound service from London to Harrogate was the first new service to Harrogate for over 25 years. It has proved very popular.”
The new service was introduced as part of the biggest shake-up of the East Coast Main Line in 20 years.