26 May 2008

Reduced Grand Central service

The East Coast's newest open access operator, Grand Central, has been compelled to introduce an emergency timetable following a series of rolling stock failures, including a fire on board a train travelling from Sunderland to London King's Cross on 15 May.The blaze occurred in the leading power car while the unit was travelling between Northallerton and Thirsk. No one was hurt in the incident and passengers for London were transferred on to a NXEC service.

Until Grand Central's fleet is fully operational again only one of the three direct trains in each direction will run between Sunderland and London. The other scheduled services are being replaced with a series of Grand Central shuttle trains running along part of the route and connections with National Express services, increasing journey times in some instances. Grand Central says these arrangements will be kept in place for the remainder of the week and may continue into next week, depending on progress to replace major rolling stock components. Two of the company's six Class 43 power cars have been sent to Brush Traction for the necessary work.

Such has been the problems with its power cars that on 21 April and 15 May detailed and full apologies have been issued to passengers. Other rail operators - particularly Hull Trains - have been vociferous in their concerns about the knock-on effect to their services' punctuality.

Full details of the emergency timetable can be viewed by clicking here.