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Grand Central

Grand Central are a small 'Open-Access' train company that runs between the North of England and London. Here's our guide to them and their trains.

Grand Central is owned by Arriva, and has been running trains since 2007. It’s an ‘Open-Access’ operator, which means that it runs trains without any financial help from the government. It runs services to 15 different stations and has a fleet of 10 trains.

As Grand Central has to make money in order to keep running, it’s in their interests to offer some competition! Here’s what we see if you’re looking to travel from York to London a week in advance:

The positive with Grand Central is that their trains are also non-stop after York, so they can be a popular option. If you’re on the Bradford route, the trains run non-stop between Doncaster and London.

Another useful ticket is the Anytime Return between Sunderland and York if you’re looking for a cheap last-minute way to get there from Tyneside and Wearside. It’s just £24.20 and you can use any Grand Central train, returning within a month.

On board services


You’ll find a number of luggage stacks throughout the train as well as overhead luggage racks. The overhead racks are very narrow though, so they’ll only fit the smallest items.

Food & Drink

There’s a buffet car in Coach C. You can also scan a QR code and ‘click and collect’ your order online.


Free WiFi is available on all Grand Central trains.


There are three bike spaces for non-folding bikes on each train. Two are reservable, and one is available on a first-come, first-served basis. You’ll need to reserve a space at least 24 hours before travel by calling 0345 603 4852. There’s more information in our dedicated guide to travelling with bikes.

Special Assistance

You can find out more about Passenger Assist on our dedicated page.

Standard Class

Most services are operated by Class 180 ‘Adelante‘ trains, and they all have five carriages.

In Standard Class, all seats are in a 2+2 layout, while it’s a 2+1 layout in First Class. All of the windows on these trains have access to at least one power socket.

If you’re going to/from Sunderland, then you’ll find a small number of unreserved seats in Coach B if you don’t have a reservation. From our experience, the unreserved seats are usually the low-numbered ones behind the driver’s cab. The Bradford services don’t have a dedicated unreserved seating area.

Can I upgrade to First Class?

Yes, you’ll find a First Class option on every Grand Central train.

First Class entitles you to complimentary drinks and snacks while you travel. While not as substantial as on LNER, you’ll find that the First Class fares on Grand Central are typically lower.

You can find the list of snacks on their website.

Information about routes

  • Sunderland – Hartlepool – Eaglescliffe – Northallerton – Thirsk – York – London King’s Cross
  • Bradford Interchange – Low Moor – Halifax – Mirfield – Wakefield Kirkgate – Pontefract Monkhill (selected trains only) – Doncaster – London King’s Cross.

Approval has recently been given for certain services to stop at Peterborough from early 2024.