Open access operator Hull Trains restarted its passenger service on April 12, following a third hibernation period in response to the pandemic.
HT had suspended services on January 9 after the UK entered another lockdown. It returned to the East Coast Main Line two weeks after fellow open access operator Grand Central, which restarted trains on March 29 (RAIL 928).
Unlike franchised operators, open access companies rely on ticket revenue for most of their income, and apart from the staff furlough scheme receive no Government support.
A limited timetable was introduced initially, with two services in each direction between Hull and London King’s Cross on weekdays and an additional northbound train on Fridays. On Saturdays and Sundays there will be three trains in each direction. The number of trains will increase from May 17, in line with the next stage of the roadmap out of lockdown.
HT has introduced technology allowing passengers to see in real time how many people are on board a train. This is designed to help passengers make informed decisions regarding their travel.
Passengers can use either the HT app or website to see the data, which is supplied by on-board managers. It will use a simple traffic light system showing red, amber and green codes, as well as location of toilets and priority seating.
“Welcoming people back onboard safely is vital to the future of the business,” said Hull Trains Managing Director Louise Cheeseman.