Rail union calls for urgent help for Grand Central and Hull Trains during COVID-19 pandemic

Credit: RMT

Rail union, RMT, has called for urgent intervention to protect Hull Trains and Grand Central during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both Hull Trains and Grand Central are Open Access Operators (OAOs), rather than franchised Train Operating Companies (TOCs). Unlike these TOCs, Hull Trains and Grand Central did not receive any emergency funding, and as such, have suspended operating trains in full, with their staff furloughed.

TOCs are receiving government support as they have released a phased increase in train services with social distancing in place.

Without the same support, Hull Trains and Grand Central are unlikely to be able to start operating trains again for some time.

Grand Central Class 180 at York
Grand Central also run through York
Credit: Langton Photography

To ensure social distancing can be obtained, the network is running at a reduced capacity.

Therefore, RMT has called for the Government to support Hull Trains and Grand Central to allow these OAOs to restart operating and provide much-needed transport for key workers.

Hull Trains 802 arrives into Hull
Credit: RailAdvent

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Unlike the franchised rail operators, open-access operators Hull Trains and Grand Central have not been in receipt of any Government support during Covid-19. Without Government funding, in line with what has been agreed with the franchised operators, Hull Trains and Grand Central are unlikely to be able to restart operations for the foreseeable future. However, with appropriate support, they are well placed to provide additional services for those who need to travel. These companies employ hundreds of workers, and it is vital that the Government intervene and provide emergency funding to enable them to restart operations in a safe manner, and protect their long-term viability and all jobs. I have today written to the Secretary of State for Transport, calling on him to take immediate action to ensure emergency funding for both operators.”

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  1. The RMT has objected to every single open access franchise on the grounds that it would fragment the railway. Now the Open Access operators are in danger of collapse, you might imagine that the RMT would be pleased.


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