The Office of Rail and Road has rejected Grand Union Trains’ bid to run trains between London Paddington and Carmarthen.
The application proposed that Grand Union would operate seven trains a day between London Paddington and Cardiff Central, calling at Newport, Severn Tunnel Junction and Bristol Parkway, and from December 2023, this would extend to call at Llanelli, Swansea and Carmarthen.
Initially, the service would be operated by Class 91 locomotives with Mark 4 coaches and a DVT, which is currently in service on the East Coast Mainline, though, from December 2023, bi-mode Class 802s would be introduced.
Despite the rejection, the ORR said that Grand Union has:
- Enough capacity to operate six trains between London and South Wales
- Enough capacity to stop at London Paddington
- Enough capacity to call at Cardiff Central and beyond
- An NPA (Not Primarily Abstractive Test) ratio of 0.42 – 0.45, well above the threshold of 0.3
The ORR has said that they have rejected the bid due to the “absolute level of abstraction” due to the current state of finances in the rail industry.
Back in 2016, the ORR approved open access services on the East Coast Main Line with a level of abstraction of £24m (£26m today), with Grand Union’s forecast abstraction of £25.6m
Grand Union said that they were “grateful” for the support from its stakeholders and is “currently considering its options”.
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