Hull Trains

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Hull Trains
802301 Kings Cross.jpg
Franchise(s)Open access operator
Not subject to franchising
25 September 2000 – December 2032
Main region(s)Hull and Selby Railway
East Coast Main Line
Fleet size5 Class 802 Paragons
Parent companyFirstGroup
Reporting markHT
Route map
Route map
Hull Trains:
Beverley & Hull to London
Hull Paragon
London King's Cross London Underground
Most trains run fast between Grantham
and London King's Cross.

Hull Trains[1] is an open-access railway operator in England owned by FirstGroup.[2] It operates long-distance passenger services between Hull / Beverley and London King's Cross. It has a track-access agreement until December 2032.


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.[3] A joint venture was formed with GB Railways taking an 80% shareholding and Jones and Nelson each holding 10%.[4][5][6]

In December 1999, a four-year track-access agreement was granted by the Office of Rail Regulation. Operations began on 25 September 2000.[7][8][9] In September 2002, the access agreement was extended by ten years.[10]

In August 2003, GB Railway's shareholding was included in the sale of the business to FirstGroup.[11][12][13][14]

In June 2008, Hull Trains was rebranded as First Hull Trains, adopting FirstGroup's corporate blue, pink and white colours.[15] In January 2009, the access rights were extended until December 2014,[16] and in February 2010 was further extended until December 2016.[17]

In August 2014, FirstGroup purchased the remaining 20% shareholding. In January 2015, the track access agreement was extended until December 2019.[18] That year, it also resumed trading as Hull Trains. In March 2016, First Hull Trains obtained approval for a further 10-year open-access agreement until 2029,[19] allowing it to proceed with ordering five Class 802 electro-diesel multiple-unit trains which had been announced by the operator on 3 September 2015.[20][21]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

At the end of March 2020, Hull Trains temporarily suspended all services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[22] Throughout the pandemic, there was concern that the company would be unable to survive without help from the government.[23] However, Hull Trains was able to resume services on 21 August 2020.[24]

In October 2020, a three-year extension on Hull Trains' access rights was granted.[25]

Following the second lockdown ordered by the government, Hull Trains announced on 2 November 2020 that it would once again be temporarily suspending all services from 5 November 2020.[26] After the second lockdown ended, Hull Trains resumed service on 3 December 2020 with a limited timetable.[27]

Following the third lockdown introduced by the government, Hull Trains announced on 5 January 2021 that they would be once again temporarily suspending all services from 9 January 2021.[28] Following this, services were resumed on 12 April 2021.[29][30]


Hull Trains
Route tpd Intermediate stops
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 first 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. At weekends there are five daily services between Hull and King's Cross only.

Hull Trains began operating three services per day on 25 September 2000. In December 2002 a fourth daily service started, followed by a fifth in May 2004, a sixth in May 2005, and a seventh in December 2006.[31][32]

On 4 February 2015, one service per weekday was extended from Hull to Beverley in each direction.[33] In December 2015, one service was extended to Beverley at weekends.[34][35] In May 2019, a further service in each direction was extended from Hull to Beverley on weekdays.[36][37][38]

Expansion proposals[edit]

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.[39][40][41] In January 2009, the Office of Rail Regulation released its decisions on the ECML route planning and rejected First Harrogate Trains' application.[42]

Rolling stock[edit]

Current fleet[edit]

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.[43][44] In its proposed track access application, Hull Trains confirmed that these would be Class 802s.[45] In August 2019, Hull Trains announced that it would branding its new trains as the 'Paragon' fleet.[46] 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.[47]

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.[48] In response to customer requests, the units do not have a cafe bar compared to the Class 180 units they replaced.[49]

Family  Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Carriages   Routes operated   Built 
 mph   km/h 
Hitachi AT300 Class 802 Paragon 802301 Kings Cross.jpg BMU 125 200 5 5 Beverley / HullLondon King's Cross 2017–20
Hull Trains Class 802 3.png

Past fleet[edit]

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.[50][51]

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.[52] 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.[53][54][55][56]

The Class 170 Turbostars entered service in March 2004.[52] 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.[57][58] The Class 222 Pioneers entered service from May 2005.[59][60]

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.[61][62] 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.[63][64][65]

The first set of 5-car Class 180 Adelante units entered service with First Hull Trains in April 2008. In total, four sets were introduced releasing the locomotive-hauled fleet and the three Class 222 Pioneer sets.[66][67] The latter was transferred to East Midlands Trains along with the unit that was damaged.[68]

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.[69] In April 2019, Hull Trains introduced another HST to their network following more reliability problems.[70] Both of these HST sets returned to GWR in December 2019.[71]

Following the introduction of the Class 802 units, the Class 180 units were transferred in stages to East Midlands Railway to replace EMR's 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, and the final two followed in summer 2020.[citation needed]

Trainset[clarification neededdiscuss] Class Image Built Number Withdrawn Notes
Loco-Hauled Stock
Class 86 86101 Hull Trains 1.jpg 1965–1966 1 2008 Replaced by Class 180 Adelante and stored
Mark 3 Mk3 Hull Trains 3.jpg 1975–1988 5
Driving Van Trailer 82115 DVT Hull Trains 2.jpg 1988 1
InterCity 125 Class 43 12.25 Newcastle to King's Cross races through Hitchin, November 3, 2011. - panoramio.jpg 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.
Mark 3 BR HST Mk.III TSMB No.40101 (6887462535).jpg 1975–1988
Multiple Unit
Bombardier Turbostar Class 170 Hull Trains 170.jpg 1999–2004 4 2005 Replaced by Class 222 Pioneer and transferred to First ScotRail
Bombardier Voyager Class 222 Pioneer 222104 at Kings Cross 3.jpg 2005 2009 Replaced by Class 180 Adelante and transferred to East Midlands Trains
Alstom Coradia Class 180 Adelante Hull - Hull Trains 180110.JPG 2000–2001 5 2020 Replaced by Class 802 Paragon and transferred to East Midlands Railway
Hull Trains Class 180.png


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.[72][73] 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 Bounds Green depot.[74]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 3715410 Hull Trains Company Limited
  2. ^ "FirstGroup plc Annual Report and accounts 2015" (PDF). First Group PLC. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 February 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
  3. ^ "New operator plans London-Hull trains" Rail issue 357 19 May 1999 page 5
  4. ^ "Joint venture for London-Hull trains" Rail issue 365 8 September 1999 page 8
  5. ^ "GB buys into Hull Trains" Rail Business Intelligence issue 111 30 September 1999 page 5
  6. ^ "Renaissance and GB Railways join to form Hull Trains Co" Rail Express issue 41 October 1999 page 7
  7. ^ "Hull Trains – Three services just the start" Rail issue 374 12 January 2000 page 5
  8. ^ "New link launched from Hull to London" Rail issue 392 20 September 2000 page 14
  9. ^ Happy 10th Birthday for Hull Trains Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Rail Express 23 September 2010
  10. ^ "Ten Year Access Granted" (Press release). Hull Trains. 18 June 2002. Archived from the original on 7 February 2003.
  11. ^ Hull Trains Company Limited Annual Accounts 2002
  12. ^ "GB Rail Offer Unconditional" (Press release). FirstGroup. 14 August 2003.
  13. ^ "First Group buys GB for $22million" The Railway Magazine issue 1229 September 2003 page 10
  14. ^ "GB Railways is bought by First Group for £22 million" Rail Express issue 88 September 2003 page 8
  15. ^ The Pioneer Issue seven Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine. First Hull Trains Magazine Spring 2008.
  16. ^ ORR announces its proposed decision on East Coast Main Line track access applications Office of Rail Regulation 29 January 2009
  17. ^ ORR Approves East Coast Main Line track access applications Office of Rail Regulation 11 February 2010
  18. ^ "First Hull Trains records a record year and secures three year extension to run services until 2019" (Press release). First Hull Trains. 20 January 2015.
  19. ^ "First Hull Trains track access extended until 2029". European Railway Review. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  20. ^ "Electrification delays force Hull Trains to go bi-mode" The Railway Magazine issue 781 19 August 2015 page 14
  21. ^ "Hull Trains plans bi-mode fleet" Modern Railways issue 804 September 2015 page 9
  22. ^ "Coronavirus". First Hull Trains. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  23. ^ "Hull Trains faces struggle to survive". Business Traveller. 23 June 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  24. ^ Clinnick, Richard (31 July 2020). "Hull Trains to return to the mainline". Retrieved 31 July 2020 – via Twitter.
  25. ^ "Hull Trains Company Limited 19th SA decision letter" (PDF). Office of Rail and Road. 20 October 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  26. ^ Riley, Anna (2 November 2020). "Hull Trains suspends all services as second lockdown announced". Hull Daily Mail. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  27. ^ Farrell, Stephen (2 December 2020). "Hull Trains to resume services following lockdown pause". Insider Media. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  28. ^ "Hull Trains cancels all Hull to London trains as third lockdown takes a hit". RailAdvent. 5 January 2021. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  29. ^ "Hull Trains announce return date for Hull Paragon to London Kings Cross trains". RailAdvent. 1 March 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  30. ^ "Hull Trains resumes East Coast Main Line passenger services". Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  31. ^ "Hull Trains starts fifth London train" Rail issue 486 28 April 2004 page 13
  32. ^ "Six trans a day for HT" Rail issue 515 8 June 2005 page 13
  33. ^ MP delighted at new direct train service from Beverley to London First Hull Trains 3 February 2015
  34. ^ "Hull Trains proposes weekends to Beverley" Rail issue 785 14 October 2015 page 11
  35. ^ Burton, James (5 December 2015). "New weekend service for direct rail link to capital". Hull Daily Mail. p. 2.
  36. ^ "Application to the Office of Rail Regulation for a passenger track access agreement, or amendment to a passenger track access agreement under sections 17-22A of the Railways Act 1993" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 April 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  37. ^ "Hull Trains to run additional services". Insider Media. 13 May 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  38. ^ More HT services for Beverley Today's Railways UK issue 211 July 2019 page 16
  39. ^ Hull Trains – Track Access Rights on the East coast Main Line Archived 25 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine Office of the Rail Regulator 19 March 2008
  40. ^ "Three companies want East Coast paths" Today's Railways UK issue 78 June 2008 page 6
  41. ^ "Hull Trains applies to serve Harrogate four times a day" Rail issue 594 18 June 2008 page 12
  42. ^ "Grand Northern set for Bradford" Rail issue 611 11 February 2009 page 20
  43. ^ Clinnick, Richard (3 July 2019). "Hull Trains expect November start for new Class 802/3s". Rail. No. 882. Peterborough. p. 32.
  44. ^ "Hull rail firm to buy 140mph trains". BBC News. 3 September 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  45. ^ "3.2". Proposed Track Access Contract Between Network Rail Infrastructure Limited and Hull Trains Company Limited under Section 17 of the Railways Act 1993 (PDF) (Report). Office of Rail and Road. 7 October 2015. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  46. ^ "Hull Trains reveals name of new fleet" (Press release). Hull Trains. 2019. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  47. ^ "Hull Trains debuts Hitachi-built Paragon trainsets". Business Traveller. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  48. ^ "The Benefits of Travelling with Us". Hull Trains. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  49. ^ "New High Speed Trains | Paragon". Hull Trains. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  50. ^ "Hull Trains uses Anglia 86 on ECML after 170 failure" Rail issue 428 6 February 2002 page 53
  51. ^ "GB Rail runs Class 86 and push-pull set on ECML" The Railway Magazine issue 1211 March 2002 page 33
  52. ^ a b "Hull Trains takes 170s" Rail issue 485 14 April 2004 page 29
  53. ^ "New Trains for Hull Trains As Company Announces Million Investment" (Press release). Hull Trains. 20 September 2002. Archived from the original on 24 January 2003.
  54. ^ " Hull Trains buys 222s and 170s from Bombardier" Rail issue 445 2 October 2002 page 9
  55. ^ "Hull Trains goes for Voyager-style units" The Railway Magazine issue 1219 November 2002 page 9
  56. ^ "New trains for Hull Trains" Entrain issue 11 November 2002 page 15
  57. ^ "Hull Trains Class 170s heading for Scotland" The Railway Magazine issue 1244 page 64
  58. ^ "Hull Trains Class 170s now in Scotland" Rail issue 516 22 June 2005 page 10
  59. ^ "Hull Trains' 125mph Pioneer starts East Coast service" Rail issue 515 8 June 2012 page 8
  60. ^ "Hull Trains" The Railway Magazine issue 1252 August 2005 page 95
  61. ^ "Hull Trains short of stock as unit falls from jacks" Rail issue 558 31 January 2007 page 15
  62. ^ "Hull Trains Pioneer damaged after liftng jack collapses" The Railway Magazine issue 1271 March 2007 page 11
  63. ^ "Hull Trains presses 86101 into action" Rail issue 576 10 October 2007 page 20
  64. ^ "Preserved 86 enters service with Hull Trains" Railway Magazine issue 584 30 January 2008 page 11
  65. ^ "Hull Trains replaces Class 86 with Class 180" The Railway Magazine issue 1286 June 2008 page 74
  66. ^ "Hull Trains takes delivery of first 180" Rail issue 588 26 March 2008 page 62
  67. ^ "Hull Trains to go all Adelante" Rail Express issue 153 February 2009 page 4
  68. ^ "222/1s for EMT" Today's Railways UK issue 86 February 2009 page 57
  69. ^ HST enters service with Hull Trains Rail Express issue 265 April 2019 page 79
  70. ^ "Hull Trains loans another high-speed train as it waits for arrival of new £60m Hitachi fleet". Rail Technology Magazine. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  71. ^ Beardsley 2020, p. 41.
  72. ^ "Hull Trains to maintain Adelantes at Old Oak" Rail issue 639 10 March 2010 page 28
  73. ^ "Old Oak to maintain Adelantes" The Railway Magazine issue 1309 May 2010 page 81
  74. ^ 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.

External links[edit]

Media related to Hull Trains at Wikimedia Commons