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Hull Trains suspends all services

Coronavirus: UK’s smallest rail company cites significant falls in passenger numbers

Mark Moran
30 March 2020
Hull Trains is an open access operator
Hull Trains is an open access operator

 

Hull Trains has suspended all its train services after experiencing a large drop in passenger numbers since the government lockdown came into effect last week. The company, which is an open access operator, said it has not been able to access the government support arrangements made available to franchises.

There will no service from Monday until the pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Managing director Louise Cheeseman, said the decision was necessary to safeguard the future of the business.

The company said that despite running a revised timetable, numbers of people travelling have dropped significantly since national guidance was issued for people to stay at home and stop all non-essential travel.

Louise Cheeseman, managing director of Hull Trains said that suspending services was a difficult decision but it would help to safeguard the future of the business. “Revenues from ticket sales are vital for Hull Trains and its business model means it must survive purely as a commercial operation,” she said. “As one of three open access operators in the country, it has not been offered additional financial support from the government, which franchised rail operators have.

“We have explored every avenue to try and keep trains running but sadly it is not currently financially viable to run our services. We play a vital role in the regional economy, as recognized by our local MPs, and we fully intend to resume operations as soon as we can,” she explained. 

“It’s been a very difficult week for the business but the reluctant decision to temporarily suspend services is the right one based on the current unprecedented circumstances and I hope our passengers understand this. The move protects the long-term future of Hull Trains and our people’s jobs, which is important as it will allow us to reinstate operations quickly when possible.

“We will continue to review the dynamic situation as it unfolds and we plan to return as a resilient train operator for the city of Hull and East Riding as soon as we can.”

Hull Trains employs about 130 staff.

Passengers with tickets for Hull Trains will be able to travel on alternative train services on the same date and route specified on the ticket. Arrangements have been made to make sure that tickets are accepted by other train operators.

Steve Montgomery, managing director of the rail division for FirstGroup, said: “We are very sorry to all Hull Trains passengers that we will be suspending services. In line with the entire rail industry, passenger volumes at Hull Trains have reduced substantially since mid-March and even with the steps we have taken to reduce the timetable we’re operating, current passenger numbers make it impossible to maintain the ongoing level of losses we have seen.”

 
 
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