Hull Trains - B
Hull Trains - B
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 Rolling Stock
Hull Trains Current Fleet
In September 2015, Hull Trains announced a £60 million order for five new five-car bi-mode high-speed trains from Hitachi with seating for 320 people. In its proposed track access application, Hull Trains confirmed that these would be Class 802s.
In August 2019, Hull Trains announced that it would branding its new trains as the 'Paragon' fleet. The first unit entered service on 5 December 2019, with the Class 180 fleet not seeing service again following service suspension on 19 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Class 802 units, Coach A is standard seating with wheelchair accommodation, Coach B and Coach C are both standard seating, Coach D is both standard- and first-class seating and Coach E is completely first-class seating with wheelchair accommodation. The units do not have a cafe bar compared to the Class 180 units they replaced.
Beverley / Hull Paragon – London King's Cross 2017–2020
Unit Number Name
Hull Trains Past Fleet
When Hull Trains was initially established, one early obstacle was a shortage of viable rolling stock. Brush Traction was approached with a request to build additional Class 43 power cars, but this proved to be uneconomic due to the need for extensive updates to comply with up-to-date safety legislation, instead, successful negotiations were completed to lease 3-car Class 170 Turbostars from sister GB Railways company Anglia Railways.
Hull Trains commenced operations on 25 September 2000 with a fleet of Class 170 trains. There was at least one occurrence of an Anglia Railways Class 86 and Mark 2 set operating as far as Doncaster.
When the Strategic Rail Authority changed its policy on allowing train operating company assets to be hired out, Hull Trains needed to acquire its own fleet. It ordered four 3-car Class 170 Turbostars, the first entering service in March 2004.
These were intended only as an interim solution as four 4-car Class 222 Pioneers were ordered at the same time, but because the former were part of a speculative order already placed by Porterbrook they would be available in time.
The Class 170 Turbostars entered service in March 2004. It was planned that after being replaced, they would then be used on new services, but these services were never introduced, so the Class 170 trains were transferred to First ScotRail.
The Class 222 Pioneers entered service from May 2005. Their introduction allowed for the maximum speed of Hull Trains' services to be increased from 100 to 125 mph (161 to 201 km/h), both shortening journey times and being more easy to slot around high speed services on the East Coast Main Line.
During 2006, the number of first class passenger seats on each train was increased from 22 to 33 by reconfiguring their interiors, which included the removal of some standard class seating. In January 2007, a Class 222 Pioneer was damaged when it was dropped off a maintenance jack; it would ultimately take two years to repair.
After a period of making do with only three trains, in January 2008 a Class 86 electric locomotive was hired from the AC Locomotive Group to haul a set of Mark 3s hired from Cargo-D for weekend London King's Cross to Doncaster services.
The first set of five-car Class 180 Adelante units entered service with First Hull Trains in April 2008. In total, four sets were introduced releasing the locomotive-hauled fleet and the three Class 222 Pioneer sets. The latter was transferred to East Midlands Trains along with the unit that was damaged.
The Class 180s enabled First Hull Trains to provide more capacity by its additional carriage, but when the units first arrived they were plagued by technical difficulties, and a period of poor reliability for the company followed.
However, reliability later improved and the Class 180s were also given a refresh internally with new seat covers and a deep clean. New catering facilities for first class were also provided, and externally the units were repainted in FirstGroup's neon blue livery.
Following further reliability problems with the Class 180s, an InterCity 125 HST set was hired from Great Western Railway in February 2019. In April 2019, Hull Trains introduced another HST set to its network following more reliability problems. Both of these HST sets returned to GWR in December 2019.
Following the introduction of the Class 802 units, the Class 180 units were transferred in stages to East Midlands Railway to replace EMR's three six-carriage HSTs inherited from Grand Central. The first two units transferred to Derby Etches Park in January 2020 after a period in storage at Crofton Depot, and the final two followed in summer 2020.
Replaced by Class 180 Adelante
2 sets formed of 5 carriages each
Replaced by Class 222 Pioneer
Replaced by Class 180 Adelante
Replaced by Class 802 Paragon
Hull Trains Depots
Maintenance of the Class 180 Adelantes was undertaken at Old Oak Common Depot alongside First Great Western's fleet until this depot closed in 2018. Two sets (or occasionally three if there were no sets on maintenance) were stabled and serviced each night in Hull sidings by Hull Trains staff (where there were usually two fitters on at night to undertake basic fault repair and diagnostics) with fuelling and emptying of toilet tanks being undertaken at Arriva Rail North's Botanic Gardens TMD. The third service set was stabled at either Bounds Green or Old Oak Common as service requirements dictated. A day fitter was based at Hull from Bombardier at Crofton TMD.
The Class 802s are maintained by Hitachi at Bounds Green depot with overnight servicing continuing to take place at Northern Trains Hull Botanic Gardens TMD.
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