AN EXTRA train service is being planned to run from the North East to the capital.

Grand Central has received approval to operate an additional daily return service between Sunderland and London King's Cross, passing through North Yorkshire, until at least 2021. This brings its Monday to Saturday services to six in each direction and five on Sundays.

Planning for the new services is now underway, with the start date to be announced. This follows the completion of Grand Central’s £9 million refurbishment programme.

This additional return service will provide 3,800 extra seats each week.

The new services will depart at about 10am from Sunderland and at about 2.30pm from King's Cross, Monday to Saturday. The new Sunday service will leave Sunderland at about 10.30am with the return departing King's Cross at about 3.30pm.

Richard McClean, managing director at Grand Central, said: “We’re delighted to be able to run an extra return daily service on our North East route between Sunderland and London. These additional services will support continued economic growth along our routes by enabling communities to thrive and providing more opportunities to connect people and places.“New services are essential to providing choice in the rail market and to connecting communities and businesses. We’re pleased that the ORR shares our vision for sustainable investment in the rail industry. By offering low fares and benefits which are valued by our customers, we aim to make train travel and attractive and affordable option.”