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£21m investment by Grand Central in new North West route

Grand Central has invested more than £21m in trains that will run on their new North West to London route, with the restoration of the first locomotive complete with its iconic livery.

Today (Feb 20th) it was revealed the operator has leased 24 coaches and 5 locomotives, to run daily direct services between Blackpool North and London Euston starting later this year.

In total, four sets of MK4 coaches in six-car formation have been leased from Eversholt Rail until December 2026. The coaches will be kept and receive maintenance at Alstom’s Wembley depot and serviced overnight at Arriva North’s Blackpool depot.

The coaches are currently undergoing a £1.5m refurbishment at Alstom in Widnes, which will include Grand Central livery and a full interior re-design with the comfort of passengers in mind.

The trains will feature First Class carriages, free Wi-Fi across all carriages, buffet, accessible toilets and baby changing facilities. There will also be wheelchair and priority seating available.

From March, people living near the stations along the new North West to London Euston route may spot three sets of coaches (MK4s), as driver training begins. Grand Central has also hired a pool of five locomotives (Class 90s) from DB Cargo UK. Four of these will be in service at any one time, with one locomotive spare for maintenance purposes.

These non-tilting, electric, will run along the North West – London Euston route, as well as other cleared routes between Blackpool, Preston, Nuneaton, Milton Keynes and London when diversions are needed.

The trains will be maintained by DB Cargo UK at Crewe Electric Maintenance Depot. Grand Central’s North West fleet is compliant with disability and accessibility standards.

Fleet Project Manager for Grand Central, Paul Batty, said: “We’re delighted to reveal our rolling stock for our new North West to London route. These trains have been chosen because of their proven track record and suitability for the service that we will be operating.

It’s exciting times ahead and we’re thrilled to be bringing our operational expertise and industry-leading customer service to this new route. We can’t wait to welcome our first passengers on board to experience travelling with Grand Central and look forward to offering more choice for existing rail users and new opportunities for people to travel by train.

Stakeholder Director at Eversholt Rail, Steve Timothy, said: “Eversholt Rail are delighted that Grand Central has chosen our MK4 coaches for its new North West to London rail service. We look forward to working with Grand Central and extending our successful working relationship with the Arriva Group.”

 Image: Grand Central by Arriva 


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