LNER's Sunderland-London train service to be scrapped

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The service will end in December

LNER is to end its Sunderland to King's Cross service.LNER is to end its Sunderland to King's Cross service.
LNER is to end its Sunderland to King's Cross service.

Passengers will be losing out on a direct link to the capital after rail operator LNER announced it is scrapping its Sunderland to Kings Cross service ‘due to low passenger numbers and a lack of trains’.

The service will instead start from Newcastle.

The Sunderland-London route began in 2015, but LNER say it has always had low ticket sales. The announcements ends three years of speculation.

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Critics say unsociable journey times are behind the lack of interest. The LNER train leaves Sunderland at 5.39am. A return service arrives back in Wearside at 11.22pm.

The decision was reached following a 2021 consultation by the train company.

An LNER report also said passengers felt that scrapping the service would badly affect Sunderland's economy.

The report also said that passengers could still travel to Newcastle to use an LNER service.

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It further stated that a timetable change or increase in services was not possible due to "limited track capacity" and not having enough trains.

An LNER spokesperson said: “The once-daily services in each direction, outside of peak hours, typically see substantially fewer customers onboard as travel patterns have shifted in recent years from business to leisure."

Deputy leader of Sunderland's Lib Dems, Cllr Heather Fagan said: "This is a bitter blow for the city at a time when we need more direct train services to and from London from LNER, not fewer.

“The Government must now intervene to make sure that LNER, which is publicly-owned, retains its existing daily direct service and introduces more throughout the day at a range of times to improve the number of people using them.

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The news also comes after the Labour Party said it expects, if elected, to renationalise most of England’s passenger rail services within five years and save the taxpayer £2.2 billion a year.

LNER is to end its Sunderland to King's Cross service.LNER is to end its Sunderland to King's Cross service.
LNER is to end its Sunderland to King's Cross service.

The Government and rail companies say nationalisation will cost more in the long run. The Government and rail companies say nationalisation will cost more in the long term.

LNER was recently named in a study as the fifth least train reliable operator with 10.43% of all trains being either cancelled or "seriously late".

Grand Central, which also runs Sunderland-King's Cross services, was named second worst with 12.32%.

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