Today (23 May 2011) East Coast mainline expanded their services to Harrogate with the addition of a direct train from London Kings Cross.
The service is the first new direct service to Harrogate for 25 years and is targeted at people attending conferences or looking to spend a weekend in the town. Although there are frequent services to London via York or Leeds some people are reluctant to use them as the local connecting services are not always well-timed. Harrogate station has 2 million passengers pass through it each year.
Local Photographer Giles Rocholl travelled on the train: “I didn’t realise the direct train was running yet and was surprised to see Harrogate on the departure board – I was even more surprised to of been met by a civic reception!”
Andrew Jones MP who had seen the train depart at Kings Cross commented : “The new direct East Coast Main Line service will give a shot in the arm to business and commerce in Harrogate. Improved transport links with the capital mean more convenient travel for businesses and tourists. Our town’s economic development relies on good transport links and it was great working with others such as the Chamber of Trade and East Coast Main Line to be able to make this new service a reality.”
London Kings Cross – Harrogate
Weekdays: 17.33 – 20.29
Saturdays: 17.35 – 20.29
Sundays: 18.05 – 21.07
Harrogate – London Kings Cross
Weekdays: 07.28 -10.38
Saturdays: 08.13 – 11.33
Sundays: 17.05 – 20.12
Karen Bosell the managing director of East Coast travelled on the 17:33 service this evening and although there were problems due to high winds, made it to the Harrogate station on time.
A civic reception was hosted in the station ticket hall with the chief executive of Harrogate Borough Council, Wallace Sampson, Harrogate Mayor, Les Ellington and representatives from the local business community.
Karen Boswell addressed the reception and commented on how the route made business-sense for East Coast too.
The event was hosted by the Harrogate chamber of trade and commerce. Simon Cotton, the president and Brian Dunsby, the chief executive, had both been involved with helping to establish the new service.
Simon Cotton commented “To enable Harrogate International Centre to compete with the other major Conference Towns in the UK we really need several direct trains to and from London every day.”
This is the first step of a longer-term strategy with the next being 2 direct trains each-way per day before eventually having 7 trains each way per day.