Grand Central leases ‘90s’ and Mk 4s for Blackpool service

Grand Central is leasing five Class 90 locomotives and 24 Mk 4 vehicles to operate its new open access service between Blackpool and London Euston. It says the service will start later this year but has not confirmed an exact date.

The ‘90s’ are from DB Cargo, with four to be in service at a time with one maintenance spare, with maintenance by DBC at Crewe Electric Maintenance Depot. They will haul four rakes, each comprising five Mk 4 carriages and a driving van trailer. These have been leased from Eversholt Rail until December 2026 and will be maintained at Alstom’s Wembley depot and serviced overnight at Northern’s Blackpool depot. The coaches are receiving a £1.5 million refurbishment at Alstom’s Widnes technology centre, which will include application of GC’s livery and an interior refresh. Facilities will include first class carriages, free Wi-Fi throughout, a buffet, accessible toilets and wheelchair spaces.

The open access service was approved by the Office of Rail and Road in June 2018. Up to five services will operate each day between London Euston and Blackpool North, calling at Milton Keynes Central (most trains), Nuneaton, Preston, Kirkham & Wesham and Poulton-le-Fylde.