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The Office of Rail Regulation has announced its proposed decision on requests for East Coast Mainline paths -here's an excerpt from their press release:

"29 January 2009
ORR/03/09

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) today announces its proposed decision on applications for track access rights for passenger services on the East Coast Main Line (ECML).

ORR has considered a number of applications for track access rights on the ECML – either to extend the period for which existing rights are in place, or for rights to run additional services. The regulator is minded to approve the following:

* conversion of the twelve (six each way) National Express East Coast contingent rights between Leeds and London King’s Cross to firm rights until December 2011;
* continuation of the current access rights, but all as firm rights, for seven weekday and five weekend Hull Trains services each way between Hull and London King’s Cross until December 2014;
* firm rights for a fourth Grand Central service each way between Sunderland and London King’s Cross until May 2012; and
* firm rights for three new daily Grand Northern services each way between Bradford Interchange and London King’s Cross until December 2014."

Grand Northern, the company proposing to run Bradford - London services, is a new corporate vehicle set up by the people behind Grand Central Trains, the open access Sunderland - London operator.

Here's an excerpt from their press release:

"The proposed ORR award of three return paths to allow new Inter-city services to start from Bradford Interchange to Kings Cross is great news for this area of West Yorkshire, and the ORR has clearly recognised the importance of these services to the million or so people who will benefit from their introduction. Services will call at Halifax, Brighouse (for Huddersfield), Wakefield Kirkgate, Pontefract Monkhill and Doncaster and are expected to commence later this year in December.

Ian Yeowart, Grand Union's managing director stated - "Whilst the paths awarded are still to be confirmed by the ORR, this 'minded to' decision that allows the Durham Coast an expanded service and West Yorkshire to have direct new Inter-city trains is fantastic news, and comes after a considerable amount of time and investment to arrive at the decisions we've had today. We now look forward to having the decisions confirmed and delivering on our promise for our many current and new customers. The award of paths to West Yorkshire has been a long time coming, and the support and commitment of the many stakeholders has helped to make this a reality. We must now get on with the significant task of preparing for operations, including recruitment, which will see a significant number of new jobs created in the Bradford area".

Services are expected to be operated by Class 180 rolling stock, and will provide full 125mph capability on the ECML in comfortable and stylish surroundings."
 
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