YORK-BASED train operator Grand Central is to launch a fifth daily service to and from London.

The company, which currently runs four trains a day in each direction, says it wants to give passengers and businesses more flexibility in travelling between York and Kings Cross, and also the north-east.

The additional service, which will be launched on December 8, will leave York for London on weekdays at 15.52 and leave York for the north-east at 13.22, but will only travel as far as Hartlepool.

On Saturdays, it will leave York for London at 17.02 and leave York for Sunderland at 15.18.

Managing director Richard McClean said the extra service was a great step for Grand Central, which was constantly striving to enhance and improve services for the benefit of passengers and businesses.

“We have been working hard for some time to obtain these extra trains and have successfully demonstrated to the Office of Rail Regulation that these services will have a positive impact on rail users and local communities.”

A spokeswoman said the new trains were classed as Off-Peak services, with Advance Purchase tickets available up to 12 weeks in advance.