UK-based train operating company Grand Central has abandoned plans to launch a new service between Blackpool and London due to the impact of Covid-19.

The decision comes after months of assessment found that the launch will not be feasible due to economic uncertainty and changed travel patterns following the pandemic.

Grand Central managing director Richard McClean said: “So much effort has been put into these exciting plans to launch services between London and Blackpool, that it is heartbreaking to have to abandon them at this point but the pandemic and its effect on our expansion plans have just proved too big an obstacle.

“Because Grand Central operates under an Open Access business model, we receive no external financial help and we rely completely on what we generate in ticket sales.

“Despite months of work to adjust our costs, and monitor travel  behaviour for signs of change it became more obvious to us that to invest in what is essentially a start-up enterprise in this climate was simply not feasible and therefore we reluctantly reached the very tough decision to cease the project permanently.”

The planned North West route train service would have connected Blackpool, Preston, Nuneaton and Milton Keynes directly to London Euston.

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By GlobalData

Grand Central also established offices in Blackpool and hired new staff for the service.

The company has started talks with employees, rail unions and executives over potential job losses.

A part of the Arriva Group, Grand Central Railway Company provides direct rail services from towns and cities in Yorkshire and the North East of England with London.