GNER may run again but not to North East
TRAINS could once again be running up part of the East coast under the GNER name – but not as far as the North East.
Ian Yeowart, a former business development director at Grand Central, has submitted plans to run GNER trains up to Hull.
Mr Yeowart, now Alliance Rail director, wants the Office of Rail Regulation to give him permission to go up against some of the country’s biggest transport companies and run services from 2014.
He believes his experiences setting up the first direct arrival in Sunderland from the capital in more than 20 years will give him the perfect background to open up yet more routes.
The GNER name has been up for grabs since previous owners US firm Sea Containers went bankrupt in 2006.
Before that the name was owned by Mr Yeowart, who said he only discovered the marketing opportunity while trying to secure the GNWR name for his West coast trains.
Mr Yeowart, who has seen Grand Central overcome early difficulty, wants to run four new services between King’s Cross, Sheffield and Huddersfield as well as four trains to Grimsby and Cleethorpes and an ’inter-city’ service between Hull and Liverpool under GNER.
Sister company GNWR would run trains between Euston, Huddersfield and Leeds, services to Halifax and Bradford and a train to Carlisle via Barrow and the Cumbrian coast.
He said: “I think Newcastle and now Sunderland are fairly well served for routes to London so for now there are no plans to extend that far North.
“I was quite surprised when I came across the name, I’m quite traditional when it comes to the railways and we immediately decided we would have to take the name back.”
Mr Yeowart, who joined the industry in 1973, has previously had to fight against string and sometimes vical opposition from other ail companies who see his new rail companies as a raid on their customer base.
Grand Central has had to deny it was set up to benefit from a ticket funding system which sees rail companies share profits from general access sale tickets on major routes.
Mr Yeowart added: “There are many large and important locations that are poorly served or not served at all.
“Open access is the opportunity for those communities to see their links restored and at the same time provide some much-needed consumer choice.”
Although Alliance’s backers are yet to be revealed, if the ORR gives approval the company plans to spend around £250m on rolling stock and a further £20m on stations. The new company would generate revenues of around £50m a year. The regulator could take up to 18 months to make a decision with the new services unlikely to begin before December 2013 if approved.