Alliance Rail Holdings

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Alliance Rail Holdings
Alliance Rail Holdings.svg
Formation 2009
Managing Director
Ian Yeowart
Parent organization
Arriva UK Trains

Alliance Rail Holdings[1] is developing plans to operate passenger trains in the United Kingdom through its subsidiaries Great North Western Railway Company Limited (GNWR),[2] Great North Eastern Railway Company Limited (GNER).[3] and Grand Southern Railway Company Limited (GSR).

Alliance has undertaken detailed timetabling and economic work to support its applications to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). Alliance is headed by Ian Yeowart,[4] founder and former managing director of Grand Central Railway. A new development team was announced on 12 August 2010.[5] The venture is majority owned by Arriva.[6]

Great North Western Railway[edit]

In August 2015, the ORR announced Alliance Rail's application to operate six trains per day between London Euston and Blackpool calling at Milton Keynes, Nuneaton, Tamworth, Lichfield Trent Valley, Crewe, Preston, Kirkham & Wesham and Poulton-le-Fylde had been successful. A 10-year access agreement was awarded with operations to commence in May 2018.[7][8] These services will be operated by fellow Arriva subsidiary Grand Central.[9]

Rolling stock[edit]

In 2010, it was proposed that services be operated by dual-mode (diesel + electric) Polaris trains,[10] capable of 140 miles per hour (230 km/h).[11] Sixteen trainsets were expected to be ordered, with a capacity of up to 350 passengers each.[12] However, the Polaris deal was not finalised and Alliance has indicated that it is investigating purchasing Pendolino type train sets from Alstom.[13]

Alliance is looking to use trains that operate at 125 mph with six carriages. A mixture of first and standard class seating is proposed, seating approximately 330 passengers.[14]

Previous applications[edit]

In 2010, GNWR lodged an application to operate services between Euston and Bradford Interchange, Whitehaven, Windermere, Southport and Morecambe. However, these were rejected in 2011 by the ORR.[15] An amended application was lodged in 2011.[16]

In June 2014, GNWR successfully concluded negotiations with Network Rail for access paths to run between Euston and Blackpool, Huddersfield and Leeds from 2017 using Pendolino trains.[17] However, in January 2015 and despite Network Rail support, the ORR refused these proposed GNWR services citing capacity issues and failing the not primarily abstractive test, meaning most of its revenue would be at the expense of existing others rather than new custom.[18] An amended application with changes to station served was accepted in August 2015.[8]

Great North Eastern Railway[edit]

Great North Eastern Railway

GNER, resurrecting the name of the defunct Sea Containers subsidiary lodged an application to operate between London King's Cross and Cleethorpes, Bradford Foster Square, Ilkley and Edinburgh from 2018.[19] These were rejected in May 2016.[20]

It also proposed in 2009 to operate services between London King's Cross and Scarborough via the Yorkshire Coast Line, Skegness, Sheffield via Grantham, Grimsby and Middlesbrough, but these were rejected in 2010 by the ORR. It was also proposed in December 2013 that services would run services between Kings Cross and Skipton, but these were withdrawn in 2014 by the ORR.

Grand Southern Railway[edit]

In November 2016, Alliance began a consultation for a proposed London Waterloo to Southampton service. It is proposed to operate seven off-peak services from December 2017 calling at Hook, Basingstoke, Winchester and Eastleigh, with two peak services proposed from December 2018. It is proposed to use Class 442s.[21]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 7026295 Alliance Rail Holdings Limited
  2. ^ Companies House extract company no 6938935 Great North Western Railway Company Limited
  3. ^ Companies House extract company no 6938889 Great North Eastern Railway Company Limited
  4. ^ Lynch, Russell (25 September 2009). "Rail veteran bids to revive GNER services". The Independent. London. 
  5. ^ "New development team announced" (Press release). Alliance Rail. 12 August 2010. 
  6. ^ Silvester, Katie (October 2010). "Interview: Ian Yeowart". Rail Professional. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  7. ^ Milner, Chris (7 August 2015). "Green light for Alliance Holdings service to Blackpool". The Railway Magazine. 
    - "Alliance Blackpool Service Approved". Modern Railways. Vol. 72 no. 804. September 2015. p. 8. ISSN 0026-8356. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
    - "ORR approves Blackpool open access trains" Rail Magazine issue 781 19 August 2015 page 22
  8. ^ a b "Blackpool open access services approved" Today's Railways issue 166 October 2015 page 9
  9. ^ "Alliance Blackpool Service Approved" Modern Railways issue 804 September 2015 page 8
  10. ^ Miles, Tony (December 2010). "Blackpool through service proposed in West Coast path frenzy". Modern Railways. London. p. 6. 
    - Wild, Laura (9 June 2010). "Full steam ahead for Rochdale to London train service". Rochdale Online. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  11. ^ Kilner, Will (20 October 2010). "Rail operator plans new 140mph service to London". Telegraph & Argus. Bradford. Archived from the original on 23 October 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  12. ^ Abbit, Bethany (4 November 2010). "Bid to connect Cumbria to London with pioneering new trains". The Westmorland Gazette. Kendal. Archived from the original on 7 November 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  13. ^ New Edinburgh – London Rail Services Alliance Rail Holdings 12 December 2013
  14. ^ "Frequently asked questions". Alliance Rail. 
  15. ^ "GC slams ORR over WCML" Today's Railways issue 113 May 2011 page 14
  16. ^ "Alliance submits bid for West Coast paths" Modern Railways issue 757 October 2011 page 9
  17. ^ "GNWR granted access to West Coast main line",, 12 June 2014 
  18. ^ "West Coast Main Line open-access bid rejected" International Rail Journal 8 January 2015
    - "ORR rejects Great North Western's Leeds ambitions" Rail Magazine issue 766 21 January 2015 page 21
  19. ^ Great North Eastern Railway Alliance Rail Holdings
    - "Alliance reveals London-Edinburgh plan" Rail Magazine issue 776 10 June 2015 page 18
  20. ^ Applications for the East Coast Main Line Office of Rail and Road 12 May 2016
    - First Group to run Edinburgh to London budget rail service BBC News 12 May 2016
    - VTEC and FirstGroup granted East Coast Main Line paths Railway Gazette International 12 May 2016
  21. ^ Projects Alliance Rail Holdings
    - Southampton - London open access service proposed Railway Gazette International 8 November 2016
    - Great Southern signals more choice on railways The Times 9 November 2016

External links[edit]