Hull Trains and Grand Central temporarily suspend services once again
Following England being placed into a third national lockdown, Hull Trains and Grand Central have again announced a period of hibernation.
Following the UK government announcement on 4 January 2021 that England would be placed into a third national lockdown as the result of a severe increase in cases of COVID-19, effective immediately, Hull Trains and Grand Central have announced that they are suspending all services in order to protect themselves for the future.
From 00:01 on 9 January 2021, Hull Trains is temporarily suspending all services in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This is the third time that the rail operator has hibernated the business following national restrictions calling for people to stay at home and stop all non-essential travel.
Throughout January and February 2021, Grand Central plans to hibernate services on both its North East and West Riding routes from 9 January 2021, with a return to service currently planned for 1 March 2021.
Louise Cheeseman, Managing Director of Hull Trains, said: “We are again in a position where it is the right decision for the business to temporarily suspend all of our direct rail services to London. The travel restrictions impact our income from ticket sales significantly, so hibernating allows us to protect the business for longer so that we can return as a sustainable rail operator once restrictions ease.”
“It’s another challenge we all face, but I am confident that the decision to temporarily suspend services is the right one to help safeguard the future of the business. The majority of our staff will be furloughed until we are back up and running. At this time, we don’t have a planned return date, but we will be reviewing the situation as it evolves,” she added.
Louise continued: “Our direct rail route to London plays a vital role in supporting the local economy in Hull and East Riding, and we shall continue to play a key part in the region’s growth in the future. I look forward to returning when restrictions are relaxed and more people start to travel again. All of the information about this temporary measure and what this means for customers and refunds is available on our website.”
A Grand Central spokesman said: “It’s hugely disappointing for us to be starting 2021 by removing our trains from the communities they serve. However, even before Monday’s government announcement of a total lockdown, the impact of tightening tier restrictions and ongoing engineering work on the East Coast Main Line had caused a major drop in passenger demand for January and February.”
“As an Open Access operator, relying exclusively on income from ticket sales, it’s clear that we would best serve the needs of our business, and our staff and passengers, by taking a period of hibernation. We are currently planning to return on 1 March 2021, and our services will remain open for bookings to travel from that date. Meanwhile, we will continually monitor the national situation and provide updates through our usual communication channels. We may return sooner if the lifting of restrictions allows,” he continued.
The spokesperson added: “Following discussions with rail unions, our crew and some of our support staff will be switched onto the government furlough scheme during this hibernation period. Once again, we thank our staff for their understanding, professionalism and commitment following this difficult but necessary decision. Grand Central will be back. Until then, please follow government advice and stay safe.”