Hull Trains - A
Hull Trains - A
Hull Trains is an open-access railway operator in England owned by the multinational transport company FirstGroup. It operates long-distance passenger services between Hull / Beverley and London King's Cross. It has a track-access agreement until December 2032.
Hull Trains was originally established in 1999 in the aftermath of the privatisation of British Rail in response to the low volume of trains between Hull and London King's Cross operated by the incumbent franchise. Their initial track-access agreement was granted in December 1999, permitting operations to be launched on 25 September 2000. Hull Trains' track-access agreement has been extended multiple times since commencing operations.
Ownership was originally divided between an 80 percent stake held by the train operating company (TOC) GB Railways, while the former British Rail managers Mike Jones and John Nelson held the remainder. A majority stake in the company was acquired by FirstGroup in August 2003, leading to its rebranding as First Hull Trains five years later. FirstGroup made it a wholly-owned subsidiary by buying out the other shareholder in the venture during August 2014; that same year, the Hull Trains name was readopted.
Hull Trains initially ran three services per day; in response to passenger numbers, this was progressively expanded to as many as seven services per day by December 2006. In addition to increasing service frequency, the number of cars per train was also raised to boost capacity. Hull Trains initially operated a small fleet of three-car Class 170 Turbostar diesel multiple units (DMUs).
Six years later, it exchanged these for four-car Class 222 Pioneer DMUs, followed by several five-car Class 180 Adelante DMUs and InterCity 125 HST sets. Early services were limited to a maximum speed of 100 mph (160 km/h), but the introduction of the Class 222 enabled speeds to be raised to 125 mph (201 km/h). As of 2022, Hull Trains' services are operated by a fleet of five Class 802 Paragon bi-mode multiple units (BMUs).
In 2020 and 2021, multiple temporary suspensions of service were enacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regular services were resumed on 12 April 2021.
Hull Trains History
In 1999, there was only one through train per day each way between Hull and London King's Cross, GNER's Hull Executive. During May 1999, former British Rail managers Mike Jones and John Nelson lodged an application to operate an open-access service through their Renaissance Trains business. A joint venture was formed with the train operating company (TOC) GB Railways, which took an 80% shareholding, while Jones and Nelson each held a 10% stake in the new entity.
In December 1999, a four-year track-access agreement was granted to Hull Trains by the Office of Rail Regulation. According to rail industry periodical Rail Express, the application had been vigorously resisted by the incumbent train operators, such as West Anglia Great Northern. Furthermore, national infrastructure owner Railtrack had allegedly demonstrated a poor ability in identifying potential paths for the service. In Hull Trains' favour was the support of several prominent figures, including members of parliament, who were keen to support an initiative that would provide Hull with improved transportation.
On 25 September 2000, Hull Trains officially launched its operations with its first service departing King's Cross station. Early passenger numbers were encouraging. However, an early blow to the company came in the form of widespread disruption resulting from the Hatfield rail crash; months of speed limitations and temporary line closures heavily impacted services, albeit softened somewhat by compensation payments for lost income issued by Railtrack.
In its first year of operation, Hull Trains reportedly carried roughly 80,000 passengers. During September 2002, Hull Trains' track-access agreement was extended by ten years.
In August 2003, through the purchase of GB Railways by the British transport conglomerate FirstGroup in exchange for £22 million, the latter business took possession of their majority shareholding in Hull Trains. During 2005, Hull Trains celebrated carrying its one-millionth passenger.
In June 2008, Hull Trains was rebranded as First Hull Trains, as well as adopting FirstGroup's corporate blue, pink and white colours as its livery. During January 2009, the firm's access rights were extended until December 2014, and in February 2010, these rights were further extended until December 2016. That same year, its services comprised 1.25 million seats annually.
In August 2014, FirstGroup purchased the remaining 20% shareholding in the business. In January 2015, the track access agreement was extended until December 2019. That same year, the firm also resumed trading as Hull Trains. During March 2016, First Hull Trains obtained approval for a further 10-year open-access agreement until 2029, allowing it to proceed with ordering five Class 802 electro-diesel multiple-unit trains which had been announced by the operator on 3 September 2015.
In 2017, Hull Trains was named the Best UK Train Operator, having scored a 97% satisfaction rate for its services, according to the National Rail Passenger Survey.
At late March 2020, Hull Trains temporarily suspended all services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, there was concern that the company would be unable to survive without help from the government. However, Hull Trains was able to resume services on 21 August 2020. In October 2020, a three-year extension on Hull Trains' access rights was granted.
Following the implementation of a second lockdown directed by the British government, Hull Trains announced on 2 November 2020 that it would once again be temporarily suspending all services from 5 November 2020. After the second lockdown ended, Hull Trains resumed service on 3 December 2020 with a limited timetable. Following a third lockdown's implementation, Hull Trains announced on 5 January 2021 that it would be once again temporarily suspending all services from 9 January 2021. Regular services were resumed on 12 April 2021.
In August 2021 the track access agreement was extended until December 2032.
Hull Trains Services
Stevenage (limited), Grantham, Retford, Doncaster, Selby, Howden, Brough
4 trains per day on Sundays. Stevenage is served by 2 trains on Sundays for set down southbound / 1 train pick up northbound only
Stevenage, Grantham, Retford, Doncaster, Selby, Howden, Brough, Hull Paragon, Cottingham
1 train per day at weekends and selected Bank Holidays. Retford is not called at on first Saturday southbound service.
Hull Trains operates up to five daily return services between Hull and London King's Cross on weekdays and a twice-daily service between Beverley and King's Cross. At weekends there are five daily services between Hull and King's Cross only.
Hull Trains began operating three services per day on 25 September 2000. In December 2002, a fourth daily service started, followed by a fifth in May 2004, a sixth in May 2005, and a seventh in December 2006.
On 4 February 2015, one service per weekday was extended from Hull to Beverley in each direction. In December 2015, one service was extended to Beverley at weekends. In May 2019, a further service in each direction was extended from Hull to Beverley on weekdays.
Hull Trains Expansion Proposals
In 2008, First Hull Trains applied for track access rights to run services between Harrogate and London King's Cross via York under the First Harrogate Trains banner and from Cleethorpes to King's Cross via Lincoln and Spalding. In January 2009, the Office of Rail Regulation released its decisions on the ECML route planning and rejected First Harrogate Trains' application.
Hull Trains Overview
Hull Trains Franchise(s): Open access operator
Not subject to franchising
25 September 2000 – December 2032
Hull Trains Main Region(s): Hull and Selby Railway
East Coast Main Line
Hull Trains Fleet size: 5 Class 802 Paragons
Hull Trains Parent Company: FirstGroup
Hull Trains Reporting Mark: HT
Hull Trains Beverley & Hull to London Map
Most trains run fast between Grantham
and London King's Cross