Green light for new open access train operator
Open access operator, Great North Western Railway (GNWR), has finally got the go-ahead to commence operations between London and Blackpool on the West Coast Main Line.
The ORR has granted Arriva-owned GNWR a 10 year licence, which will start in early 2018. ‘Firm rights’ have been granted for six off-peak trains (in both directions, five on Sundays) to run between Queen’s Park (in London) and Blackpool North. However, GNWR has only been able to secure ‘contingent rights’ to operate out of London Euston, due to the current uncertainty regarding HS2 developments there.
GNWR has secured ‘firm rights’ to call at Crewe, Preston and Poulton-le-Fylde, and ‘contingent rights’ to call at Milton Keynes, Nuneaton, Tamworth, Lichfield Trent Valley and Kirkham & Wesham. GNWR intends to serve all these stations.
The new service will be operated by four new six-car tilting Pendolino train sets, which have yet to be ordered.
The deal follows months of negotiation as GNWR’s original proposals have been scaled down.
The ORR estimates (using current prices) that GNWR’s annual revenue will be around £27.9m, of which 29.5% would be newly generated traffic, which is broadly in line with meeting its crucial Net Primary Abstractive (NPA) 30% threshold test.