First Hull Trains has revealed that passenger numbers rose by 50,000 (a massive 8%) in 2013.
The open-access operator, which runs 90 services a week between London King’s Cross and Hull’s Paragon Interchange, carried 815,400 passengers throughout 2013 – breaking through the 800,000 mark for the very first time. This continues a year-on-year trend that has seen passenger numbers rise annually since trading began back in 2000.
The news follows last year’s announcement that First Hull Trains is seeking extend its current track access agreement beyond December 2017.
The company is also working with public and private sector partners in an attempt to finance and build an innovative and value creating £94m electrification project intended to modernise a 35-mile stretch of railway west of Selby, through to Hull. If approved, the move will physically join the East Coast Main Line with the route to Hull by overhead electric cables and will see new modern electric trains operating all the way from the city to London for the very first time.
It is hoped that the ambitious plans will be given the green light in the coming weeks, enabling the first electric rolling stock to enter into service in 2017 – during Hull’s City of Culture year.
Will Dunnett, managing director at First Hull Trains, said: “Once again, it has been a strong trading year for us and we are very pleased with the fact more people continue to recognise us as their local link to London.
“2012 and 2013 saw significant investment in engineering overhauls to our entire fleet and this, linked to the relentless efforts of our team, has really paid dividends. It has given us a solid foundation to build on the fast and reliable service that people say they want and need.
“We also signed a new maintenance contract in the early part of last year and this has really paid dividends. Our aim is to provide the best possible journey every time someone steps aboard.”
In 2013, First Hull Trains also saw strong growth in online sales with more passengers buying print at home and mobile telephone tickets than ever before. New on board, travelling cleaners and upgrade of all toilet facilities are also proving to be a big hit with passengers.
Mr Dunnett continued: “Our business is powered by our great people, running a service that our customers love with a range of great value fares.
“This increase has already seen us invest in and grow our on board hosts by 10 per cent and has allowed a contract extension for the new members of staff. Additional services over the festive period as well as an innovative route that went straight through to St Pancras, to ensure First Hull Trains were the only operator to be offer direct trains to passengers, has all helped to achieve this amazing uplift.
“I’d like to thank our customers for choosing to travel with First Hull Trains.”
Calling at Hull, Brough, Howden, Selby, Doncaster, Retford and Grantham, the organisation continues to strengthen its position as the transport operator of choice between Hull and London King’s Cross.