07 August 2015

Alliance Rail Holdings (Alliance) has today welcomed the decision by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), check to approve its application for a new direct passenger rail service between Blackpool and London.

The application to operate six return train services each day, cure including weekends, was submitted by Great North Western Railway (GNWR), an Arriva company and a sister company of Grand Central, which already operates successful passenger services between the North East and West Yorkshire to London.

The new services will start in 2018 and will see Arriva investing in new tilting trains, and creating around 120 new jobs to operate these services.

Alongside the provision of new direct services from Blackpool to London, passengers will benefit from the increased competition these will provide on the West Coast Main Line (WCML). Communities along the 220 mile route will also benefit from additional journey opportunities at a number of other stations in the North West and the Midlands.

Ian Yeowart, Managing Director of Alliance said “We are naturally delighted that the ORR has approved our application to deliver a new direct rail service linking Blackpool and London The introduction of these new services will further grow the market for rail travel. As well as bringing new direct services to a number of locations, notably Blackpool, it will give passengers further choice. Experience on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) with Grand Central has shown how this stimulates the market and helps put pressure on prices, a fact noted by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in its recent rail review”.

The key features of the new service are:

Six return trains a day between London and Blackpool – starting in 2018

Investment in a fleet of new tilting trains

120 new jobs created for this operation

Significant wider economic benefits across the towns and cities served, particularly Blackpool which has recently received Enterprise Zone status.