|Franchise(s)||Open access operator|
Not subject to franchising
25 September 2000 – December 2029
|Main region(s)||Hull and Selby Railway|
East Coast Main Line
|Fleet size||5 Class 802 Paragons|
Beverley & Hull to London
Hull Trains is an open access operator in England owned by FirstGroup. It operates long-distance services between Hull/Beverley and London King's Cross. It has a track-access agreement until December 2029.
In 1999, there was only one through train per day each way between Hull and London King's Cross, GNER's Hull Executive. In May 1999, former British Rail managers Mike Jones and John Nelson lodged an application to operate an open access service through their Renaissance Trains business. A joint venture was formed with GB Railways taking an 80% shareholding and Jones and Nelson each holding 10%.
In December 1999, a four-year track access agreement was granted by the Office of Rail Regulation with operations commencing on 25 September 2000. In September 2002, the access agreement was extended for ten years.
In June 2008, Hull Trains was rebranded as First Hull Trains, adopting FirstGroup's corporate blue, pink and white colours. In January 2009, the access rights were extended until December 2014, and in February 2010 was further extended until December 2016. It was later extended until December 2019.
In August 2014, FirstGroup purchased the remaining 20% shareholding. In 2015, it resumed trading as Hull Trains. In March 2016, First Hull Trains obtained approval for a further 10 year open access agreement until 2029, allowing them to proceed with ordering five Class 802 electro-diesel multiple-units which had been announced by the operator on 3 September 2015.
At the end of March 2020, Hull Trains temporarily suspended all services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, there was concern that the company would be unable to survive without help from the government. However, Hull Trains were able to resume service on 21 August 2020.
Following the second lockdown announced by the government, Hull Trains announced on 2 November 2020 that they would once again be temporarily suspending all services from 5 November 2020. After the second lockdown ended, Hull Trains resumed service on 3 December 2020 with a limited timetable.
|London King's Cross to Hull||5||Stevenage (limited)*, Grantham, Retford, Doncaster, Selby, Howden, Brough |
4 trains per day on Sundays.
Stevenage served by 2 trains on Sundays for set down southbound / 1 train pick up northbound only.
|London King's Cross to Beverley||2||Stevenage, Grantham, Retford, Doncaster, Selby, Howden, Brough, Hull, Cottingham |
1tpd at weekends and selected Bank Holidays. Retford not called at on 1st Saturday southbound service.
Hull Trains operates up to five daily return services between Hull and London King's Cross on weekdays and a twice daily service between Beverley and King's Cross. On weekends there are five daily services between Hull and King's Cross only.
On 4 February 2015, one service per weekday was extended from Hull to Beverley in each direction. In December 2015, one service was extended to Beverley on weekends. In May 2019, a further service in each direction was extended from Hull to Beverley.
In 2008, First Hull Trains applied for track access rights to run services between Harrogate and London King's Cross via York under the First Harrogate Trains banner and from Cleethorpes to King's Cross via Lincoln and Spalding. In January 2009, the Office of Rail Regulation released its decisions on the ECML route planning and rejected First Harrogate Trains' application.
In September 2015, Hull Trains announced a £60 million order for five new 5-car bi-mode high-speed trains from Hitachi with seating for 320 people. In its proposed track access application, Hull Trains confirmed that these would be Class 802s. In August 2019, Hull Trains announced they would branding their new trains as the 'Paragon' fleet. The first unit entered service on 5 December 2019 with the Class 180 fleet not seeing service again following service suspension on 19 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Class 802 units, Coach A is standard seating with wheelchair accommodation, Coach B and Coach C are both standard seating, Coach D is both standard and first class seating and Coach E is completely first class seating with wheelchair accommodation. In response to customer requests, the units do not have a cafe bar compared to the Class 180 units they replaced.
|Trainset||Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Carriages||Routes operated||Built|
|Hitachi AT300||Class 802 Paragon||Bi-mode multiple unit||125||200||5||5||Beverley/Hull – London King's Cross||2017–20|
Hull Trains began operations with 3-car Class 170 Turbostars hired from sister GB Railways company Anglia Railways. There was at least one occurrence of an Anglia Railways Class 86 and Mark 2 set operating as far as Doncaster.
When the Strategic Rail Authority changed its policy on allowing train operating company assets to be hired out, Hull Trains needed to acquire its own fleet. It ordered four 3-car Class 170 Turbostars, the first entering service in March 2004. These were intended only as an interim solution as four 4-car Class 222 Pioneers were ordered at the same time, but because the former were part of a speculative order already placed by Porterbrook they would be available in time.
The Class 170 Turbostars entered service in March 2004. It was planned that after being replaced, they would then be used on new services, but these services were never introduced, so the Class 170 trains were transferred to First ScotRail. The Class 222 Pioneers entered service from May 2005.
In January 2007, a Class 222 Pioneer was damaged when it was dropped off a maintenance jack; it would ultimately take two years to repair. After making do with only three trains, in January 2008 a Class 86 was hired from the AC Locomotive Group to haul a set of Mark 3s hired from Cargo-D for weekend London King's Cross to Doncaster services.
The first set of Class 180 Adelante units entered service with First Hull Trains in April 2008, which allowed the current locomotive-hauled fleet and Class 222 Pioneer trains in the fleet at the time to be transferred elsewhere. Later in 2008 another two were leased to release the Class 222 Pioneers for transfer to East Midlands Trains in 2009.
The Class 180s helped First Hull Trains gain more capacity by an extra carriage, but when the units first arrived they were plagued by technical difficulties, and a period of poor reliability for the company followed. However, First Hull Trains has improved reliability dramatically since their introduction. The units have also been given a refresh internally with new seat covers and a deep clean. New catering facilities for first class have also been provided, and externally the units have been repainted in FirstGroup's neon blue livery.
Following further reliability problems being encountered with the Class 180s, an InterCity 125 HST set was hired from Great Western Railway in February 2019. In April 2019, Hull Trains introduced another HST to their network following more reliability problems. Both of these HST sets returned to GWR in December 2019.
Following the introduction of the Class 802 units, the Class 180 units were transferred in stages to East Midlands Railway to replace their three 6-carriage HSTs inherited from Grand Central. The first two units transferred to Derby Etches Park in January 2020 and after a period in storage at Crofton Depot, the final two followed in summer 2020.
|Class 86||1965–1966||1||2008||Replaced by Class 180 Adelante and stored|
|Driving Van Trailer||1988||1|
|InterCity 125||Class 43||1975–1982||2 sets formed of 5 carriages each||2019||Following unreliability issues of the Adelantes, 2 HST sets formed of 5 carriages each were temporarily hired in from Great Western Railway. Following the introduction of the new Paragon fleet in late 2019, both of the 2 HST sets have now returned to GWR.|
|Bombardier Turbostar||Class 170||1999–2004||4||2005||Replaced by Class 222 Pioneer and transferred to First ScotRail|
|Bombardier Voyager||Class 222 Pioneer||2005||2009||Replaced by Class 180 Adelante and transferred to East Midlands Trains|
|Alstom Coradia||Class 180 Adelante||2000–2001||5||2020||Replaced by Class 802 Paragon and transferred to East Midlands Railway|
Maintenance of the Class 180 Adelantes was undertaken at Old Oak Common Depot alongside First Great Western's fleet until this depot closed in 2018. Two sets (or occasionally three if there were no sets on maintenance) were stabled and serviced each night in Hull sidings by Hull Trains staff (where there were usually two fitters on at night to undertake basic fault repair and diagnostics) with fuelling and emptying of toilet tanks being undertaken at Arriva Rail North's Botanic Gardens TMD. The third service set was stabled at either Bounds Green or Old Oak Common as service requirements dictated. A day fitter was based at Hull from Bombardier at Crofton TMD. The Class 802s are maintained by Hitachi at Doncaster, with routine maintenance undertaken at Bounds Green depot.
- Companies House extract company no 3715410 Hull Trains Company Limited
-  FirstGroup plc Annual Report 2015
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- "New link launched from Hull to London" Rail issue 392 20 September 2000 page 14
- Happy 10th Birthday for Hull Trains Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Rail Express 23 September 2010
- Ten Year Access Granted Hull Trains 18 June 2002
- Hull Trains Company Limited Annual Accounts 2002
- GB Rail Offer Unconditional FirstGroup 14 August 2003
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- The Pioneer Issue seven Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine. First Hull Trains Magazine Spring 2008.
- ORR announces its proposed decision on East Coast Main Line track access applications Office of Rail Regulation 29 January 2009
- ORR Approves East Coast Main Line track access applications Office of Rail Regulation 11 February 2010
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- "Six trans a day for HT" Rail issue 515 8 June 2005 page 13
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- More HT services for Beverley Today's Railways UK issue 211 July 2019 page 16
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- "Three companies want East Coast paths" Today's Railways UK issue 78 June 2008 page 6
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- "Hull Trains reveals name of new fleet". www.hulltrains.co.uk. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
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- "Hull Trains presses 86101 into action" Rail issue 576 10 October 2007 page 20
- "Preserved 86 enters service with Hull Trains" Railway Magazine issue 584 30 January 2008 page 11
- "Hull Trains replaces Class 86 with Class 180" The Railway Magazine issue 1286 June 2008 page 74
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- "Hull Trains to go all Adelante" Rail Express issue 153 February 2009 page 4
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- HST enters service with Hull Trains Rail Express issue 265 April 2019 page 79
- Beardsley 2020, p. 41.
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- Beardsley 2020, p. 38.
- Beardsley, Ian (December 2020). "It's never dull in Hull". Today's Railways. No. 226. Sheffield: Platform 5. ISSN 1475-9713.
Media related to Hull Trains at Wikimedia Commons