FirstGroup Applies to Operate New London to Sheffield Service

FirstGroup has applied to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) to operate a new open-access rail service between London and Sheffield, expanding the company’s award-winning Hull Trains business.

The proposed service is expected to consist of two daily return journeys from London King’s Cross, calling at Retford, Worksop, Woodhouse and Sheffield.

An image of a blue train waiting at a platform at London King's Cross station
The new proposed route will give Sheffield the first regular service from London King’s Cross since 1968

If successful, it would be the first regular service between King’s Cross and Sheffield since 1968, as well as the first regular direct London train through Worksop in several decades, increasing rail availability for roughly 350,000 potential passengers (according to FirstGroup).

The new application follows the success of FirstGroup’s previous open-access service, Lumo, which was launched in October 2021 and has seen rail overtake air travel as the preferred mode of transport between Edinburgh and London.

FirstGroup Chief Executive Officer, Graham Sutherland said:

“We want to leverage our extensive experience of running open access services and repeat the success of Hull Trains and Lumo through this new route that connects London and Sheffield. We have seen the level of growth and opportunity that is possible with open access, as well as the positive effect it can have on the wider market, including economic and environmental benefits.

“The new service will help to drive modal shift from road to rail by offering customers a more sustainable travel alternative between the two cities. We will be working closely with stakeholders as we build our application and our case for this new offering.”

Following the required approvals from the ORR, services are expected to begin by 2026.

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