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Regular Feature: Issue 327 10 Jul 2008

Open access operators believe future is bright

After a decade long struggle Grand Central finally started running an open access train service between London and Sunderland last month. Despite the misgivings of franchised train companies, open access operators deny accusations of ‘cherry picking’ and argue that their existence benefits the entire rail industry. James Dark reports

By James Dark

When it finally happened last month, the launch of Grand Central’s open access venture was a quiet affair, in stark contrast to the years of wrangling and the suggestions of skulduggery which preceded it.

Certainly open access has raised the temperatures of rail industry executives like little else. The Office of Rail Regulation’s decision in February 2006 to allow Grand Central to operate between London and Sunderland was memorably branded “arrogant”,...

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