New open access plan for Waterloo to Southampton

The Office of Rail & Road is considering an application to run open access services on the South Western Main Line using the stored Class 442 EMUs.

Open Access operator Alliance Rail Holdings, the Arriva/Deutsche Bahn subsidiary that is set to operate Great North Western Railway services on the West Coast Main Line from May 2018, has applied to the Office of Rail and Road for a track access agreement to operate services on the Waterloo-Southampton line. The company would trade as Grand Southern Railway.

This is a notable development because to date open access operators, such as Grand Central and Hull Trains, have applied to run services on routes that do not already have a significant service to the capital.

In this case, Grand Southern would be in direct competition with the franchised operator South West Trains. However, the company says that the proposed services will exceed the ORR’s ‘Not Primarily Abstractive’ threshold, which states that any new services must generate at least 30p of new revenue for every £1 abstracted from existing services.

Read more in the January issue of Rail Express

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