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Grand Central extends Covid hibernation to late March

OPEN ACCESS operator Grand Central has extended the suspension of its services to 27 March, following the Prime Minister’s announcement about the timetable for easing lockdown restrictions.

Grand Central had been planning to return on 1 March, but managing director Richard McClean said I’m encouraged by recent reductions in the national R” rate and a drop in COVID-related hospitalisations. This, along with the ongoing vaccination programme, leaves me hopeful that when we return to service it will be permanent, albeit cautious and incremental. Grand Central’s Open Access business model means, unlike other train operators, we rely exclusively on income from ticket sales – an essential factor in our business decisions.’

Seat reservations issued for dates between 1 and 26 March will be transferable to later dates without any additional charge, and Mr McClean said GC is ‘also working with fellow train operators on transferring your GC reservation to one of their services’.

He concluded: ‘I can confirm we will continue to make use of the Government’s furlough scheme, including flexible furlough, to support our return to service. This allows us to closely monitor Government easing of restrictions and passenger demand – all major factors in our return. I would like to extend my, and my fellow GC executives’, gratitude for the patience, understanding and professionalism of our employees throughout what has been a very difficult year.

‘Finally, a huge thank you to our customers, who continue to show their support and loyalty to GC on a near daily basis. For now, I ask you all to stay safe, follow official advice and we will welcome you on board again soon.’

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