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Open access services cancelled again

THE new lockdown in England has prompted open access operator Hull Trains to suspend its services from Thursday until further notice. Unconfirmed reports say Grand Central is following suit.

The RMT reacted by claiming that open access operators have become the ‘poor relation’ in the rail sector because they do not qualify for state support, unlike the former franchises which are now running under Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements.

It will be the second time this year that lockdowns have caused the withdrawal of all open access services between London King’s Cross and Hull, Sunderland and Bradford.

Hull Trains passengers were notified by a Tweet yesterday afternoon, which said: ‘We are sorry to announce that Hull Trains is temporarily suspending all services as a result of the lockdown from 00.01 on Thursday, November 5, until further notice.’

The message continued: ‘Thank you to everyone who has travelled with us since August, please stay safe and we look forward to seeing you on our services again in the future. We plan to return to service as soon as we can.’

Grand Central has yet to make a statement, but has not denied reports of a lockdown suspension.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘‎RMT is calling for more government support for these essential services between Humberside, West Yorkshire, the north east of England and London consistent with statements about levelling up the country. We are talking about the long term future of important transport links to the north backed by the 5,800 people who have signed an RMT petition calling for government support for the services provided by open access operators.

‘RMT is building political support, and we will do everything in our power to secure the futures of the staff working on Hull Trains and Grand Central.’

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