Grand Central announces £21m investment as new look locomotive appears in public

New locomotive for Grand Central services to Blackpool
Credit: Grand Central

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Grand Central has announced that it is investing more than £21m into the Blackpool to London route, with the first locomotive appearing in public with its new livery.

The open-access rail operator has revealed today that it has leased 24 coaches, and 5 locomotives, to run the daily services between Blackpool North and London Euston, which start later this year.

Four sets of MK4 coaches in six-carriage formation have been leased from Eversholt Rail until December 2026.

The coaches will be maintained at Alstom’s Wembley depot and serviced overnight at Arriva Rail North’s Blackpool depot.

The coaches that are going to be used are undergoing a £1.5m refurbishment, which is taking place at Alstom, in Widnes. They will include a full Grand Central livery and will have a full interior refresh.

Each of the trains will include first class, free Wi-Fi, buffet, accessible toilets and wheelchair seating.

From March, people living near the route may see trains running on driver testing runs – these coaches are on a short term lease from Eversholt Rail.

Grand Central, which currently runs trains between London and Yorkshire via the East Coast Main Line, has also hired five Class 90 locomotives from DB Cargo UK. Four of these will be in service at any one time, with one locomotive spare for maintenance purposes.

What did the officials say?

Paul Batty, Fleet Project Manager for Grand Central, said:

“We are incredibly proud of the work that has been done to bring our new fleet of rolling stock to fruition, starting with our first locomotive ready to begin driver training in a couple of weeks’ time. It’s taken a lot of planning and a considerable team effort to get to this stage and it’s fantastic that our customers will soon be able to see our refurbished Grand Central trains in operation.”

Dave Hatfield, Grand Central’s Fleet Director, 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.”

Steve Timothy, Stakeholder Director at Eversholt Rail 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.”

A spokesman for DB Cargo said:

“We’re delighted to be working with our colleagues at Grand Central to provide such a range of valuable services for passengers in the North West.”

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    • The Mk4 coaches are from LNER they are from the sets Replaced by Azumas, the GA class 90s are all going to Freightliner to replace its Class 86 locomotives so it makes sence to hire from DB


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