LNER is not operating any direct services to London on June 5 and 6 as King’s Cross station is closed due to major track remodelling.
Yet Hull Trains is running direct services in each direction between Hull and London on both of those days. How can this be? It’s because at times of planned engineering work on the East Coast Main Line, Hull Trains arranges with Network Rail to use the route via Sheffield to London St Pancras.
No disrespect to LNER, but open access operators such as Hull Trains, being smaller, are perhaps able to be more nimble in meeting their passengers’ needs during periods when the normal route is disrupted.
Like other open access operators, Hull Trains relies entirely on passenger income and, lacking any government support (unlike the franchised operators such as LNER), their only option during the worst of the pandemic was to reduce their services or at times suspend them completely. It’s great to see them back again.
Open access train operators are vital to the economy of the areas they serve.
It’s good to know that the new Williams-Shapps plan for Great British Railways promises safeguards for open access operators in future.
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