Arriva subsidiary Great North Western Railway (GNWR)’s proposals to introduce a new direct train service between north Manchester and London have been rejected by the UK Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

The company submitted proposals to provide a new direct train services between London and Blackpool, and between London, Huddersfield and Leeds from May 2017 and December 2018 respectively.

The decision letter sent by ORR said that the decision has been taken based on the view that the proposed services would not generate enough new revenue as it has to compete with the Virgin-operated West Coast franchise.

"The ORR’s reasons came as something of a surprise to GNWR."

GNWR managing director Ian Yeowart said: "We are naturally disappointed with the ORR’s decision, especially as we reached agreement with Network Rail in May last year that there was sufficient capacity to operate these trains on the West Coast Main Line and across the Pennines.

"The ORR’s reasons came as something of a surprise to GNWR, particularly as GNWR was told last July that forecasts of generation from the first part of the five-stage test were relatively high compared with previous open access applications that have been approved by the ORR."

Arriva said the new services would have created competition to other stations on the route such as Milton Keynes, Nuneaton and Preston.

GNWR will carry out a detailed review of the ORR’s decision letter, Yeowart said.

However, its sister company Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) will continue with its application to operate new fast services between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh, and to Cleethorpes and Bradford.