OPEN ACCESS OPERATORS IN ‘HIBERNATION’ FOR THIRD TIME
THE IMPOSITION of a further lockdown in England from 6 January was set to lead to reductions in service levels once again, with the Department for Transport discussing the level and timing of these changes with operators as we went to press. Some services were reduced on 11 January, with further changes expected to follow on 18 and 25 January.
Open access operators Grand Central and Hull Trains both suspended services from 9 January following the announcement of the lockdown, the third time they have done so in the past 12 months. Hull Trains did not announce when it expected services to restart, while Grand Central set a target date of 1 March for services to resume although suggested it could restart sooner if the lifting of restrictions allows. Open access operators are not eligible for the financial support provided by DfT to franchisees. The suspension of services by both operators coincides with a period of major engineering work on the East Coast main line (see p10).