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ORR’s London-Cardiff open access rejection could be challenged

PROPOSED open access services between London and Cardiff have been turned down by the Office of Rail and Road, but the decision could face a legal challenge.

Grand Union Trains had wanted to run seven daily return trains from Cardiff Central in December and also serve Swansea and Carmarthen from December 2023, but the ORR has decided that the additional services do not pass the ‘abstraction of revenue’ test.

If passengers were to be diverted to Grand Union, the lower revenue earned as a result by GWR’s existing South Wales services would ultimately be a cost met by the Department for Transport.

The ORR said: ‘At this time, and taking account of the pandemic’s impact on railway finances, we consider the passenger benefits would not outweigh the significant negative impact on public funds that this might have.’

Grand Union Trains managing director Ian Yeowart said the decision was a ‘shock’.

He continued: ‘We are not going to accept the decision as it is because it is not right. Our lawyers are looking at it to see how we progress.’

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