Hull Trains

Hull Trains suspends services for second time due to COVID-19

Hull Trains is suspending its daily services to London for the second time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rail company will stop its four services a day to and from the capital on November 5.

Hull Trains previously shutdown at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 29 and reopened with a reduced timetable on August 21.

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The RMT union called on the government to provide financial support to the firm which operates on an “open access” basis.

The company said “ticket sales are central to Hull Trains’ income stream” and added that unlike services run under a franchise, it did not receive additional financial support from the government given to other rail operators during the previous lockdown.

Hull Trains managing director Louise Cheeseman said: “Sadly we are reluctantly suspending all our rail services in response to the national lockdown.

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“This is the second time we have temporarily suspended services and the decision has been made to safeguard the future of the business.

“It would be foolhardy of us to run trains when people are being asked to stay at home and our business isn’t in a position to be generating an income from passengers buying train tickets.”

The RMT described open access operators as the “poor relation in terms of support for the rail sector, denied the guaranteed financial support underpinning the franchise holders, leaving staff living on a knife edge with no security.”

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The union is backing a debate in parliament on more support for the rail industry.

The Department for Transport said: “We recognise the important role that Britain’s open access rail services play in the communities they serve and hope to see them return to normal as soon as is possible.

“We will continue to work closely with these companies during this difficult period.”

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Sam Hewitt

Let off some steam...