UK Rail Regulator Allows Grand Union Trains to Open a London-Scotland Route

By Thea Felicity

Mar 07, 2024 12:46 PM EST

Commuters wait for an Elizabeth Line underground train in London on October 4, 2023 as train drivers strike over pay. Workers on the London Underground suspended their latest round of strike action over pay and conditions after a breakthrough in talks but rail passengers faced fresh disruption. Unions across the UK economy have held strike action since last year to push for better pay and conditions, due to the soaring cost of living.
(Photo : Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

The British train regulator said yes to Grand Union running trains from London to Stirling, according to The Guardian. The new route is set to start in June 2025, giving passengers more choices. 

With this new route, Grand Union will run four daily trips between London and Stirling, stopping at Milton Keynes, Preston, and Carlisle. It's the first time a company like Grand Union is allowed to use this route without government help.

Besides four trips from London to Stirling by the same train company, the government wants more companies to run trains. Grand Union's move is part of that plan. Lumo and Grand Central also run trains, and more are coming soon. However, no route has been announced yet.

Grand Union also got permission to run trains from London to Carmarthen in Wales starting in 2025. 

FirstGroup, another company, is talking about extending its Lumo trains to Glasgow.

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In terms of increased competition, Ian Yeowart, the founder of Grand Union, emphasized that he had previously established a similar company with passengers enjoying greater flexibility to choose their preferred service. 

However, Grand Union's offering stands out because of its commitment to providing free Wi-Fi and additional space on the trains.

The Office of Rail and Road, which decides on these things, also thinks it's good for passengers to have more choices. They say it's better for everyone when there are more trains to more places.

"By providing more trains serving new destinations, open access operators offer passengers more choice in the origin and price of their journey leading to better outcomes for rail users."

As of now, Grand Union Trains has yet to comment on their London-Scotland route approval, but it's expected that they will acknowledge it as a big step for train travel in Britain. More routes are to come as well.

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