I’m writing this whilst travelling on Grand Central’s 06:55 service from Bradford to London Kings Cross. I’m a regular user of their trains as they get me from Halifax to the capital in just over 3 hours. They’re comfortable with very competitive fares and have free wifi throughout the train. The West Riding services first started running in May 2010. In the early days passenger numbers were sparse, nowadays they can be full & standing – even in First Class!
Grand Central’s trains are popular with both business and leisure travellers as they offer the residents of Yorkshire a fast direct service to London that allows you to go there & back in a day if you want to. As an aside, GC regularly top the Passenger Focus poll as Britain’s highest-rated long distance train operator for customer satisfaction.
But, hang on – this is something the opponents of High Speed 2 say is what’s bad for the North. They claim Hs2 will suck all the economic life out of the North & only benefit the capital. This train (and me) are perfect examples of why this is nonsense. You see, for 25 years I lived in London. Now I live in Yorkshire – and the only way I can make that possible is by better rail connections between the two. A lot of my work is centered on London. If I don’t have easy access to it I have to move closer or move back. As it is now, I can command a London wage & transfer that spending power back home to Yorkshire. I’m not alone in this as the growing numbers of business travellers using Grand Central’s trains attest to.
So, next time you hear Hs2 opponents like Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman banging on about how Hs2 would be bad for the North, remind them of the success of Grand Central & how it’s allowed Southerners like me to move away from London – & bring our prosperity with us.