Trains on time as rail shake-up launched

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NEW trains in the biggest overhaul of rail services through Yorkshire in two decades arrived right on time yesterday despite other lines being beset by delays.

The long-awaited revamp along the East Coast Main Line has been launched, representing the biggest shake-up along the route in 20 years.

And despite Network Rail reporting a broken-down train just outside London early yesterday, causing delays of up to 30 minutes, East Coast Main Line chiefs said their new services were not affected.

One of the biggest improvements is a daily weekday service between Leeds and London King’s Cross cutting the journey time to under two hours.

And last night a civic reception was held at Harrogate station, with flags and banners across its concourse and platform and young people from St Aidan’s High School band playing to welcome the first new train service to the spa town for more than 25 years.

The train, which runs direct seven days a week to and from the capital, was met by the Mayor of Harrogate, Coun Les Ellington, council leader Don Mackenzie, and members of the Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce which has long campaigned for a direct service.

Chamber chief executive Brian Dunsby said: “This will be the first new rail service to Harrogate for over 25 years and it will be 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 across the South-East.”

The new timetable is aimed at fostering closer links between Yorkshire’s business world and the capital.

Journey times to London will also be cut significantly from York, with an average of five additional trains to the capital on a weekday.

A new express service between Edinburgh and London is also being launched to mirror the world-famous Flying Scotsman route.