YORK train operator Grand Central has decided to temporarily suspend all rail services after the new lockdown is launched.

The company, which provides a non-stop express service from York to London, will halt all its rail services from the end of service on Friday.

It says customers with tickets to travel between Saturday and December 2 can claim a full refund or change their ticket to a later date, and tickets remain on sale for trains departing from December 3 onwards.

A spokesman said that after careful weighing up of its options and discussions with the Department for Transport and trade union representatives, it was clear that the 'difficult but necessary' measure of taking a 'short period of hibernation' was its only course of action.

"We enjoyed tremendous support from our customers after resuming services following the first national lockdown, and we thank them for their patience once again," he said.

"Grand Central’s Open Access business model means, unlike most train operators, we rely exclusively on income from ticket sales, with no subsidy from Government.

"The new lockdown will bring an inevitable fall in passenger numbers, meaning it is not possible to continue operating during this period.

"With no trains in service some of our crew and associated staff will be supported by the Government furlough scheme during this period. Our staff continue to be a source of great pride to Grand Central thanks to their understanding, professionalism and commitment. We thank you.

"We also understand our passengers may have questions over refunds and cancelled services, and we have a dedicated web page to answer those queries and guide you to the relevant source of information. Click here https://bit.ly/324OVEI to take you to the page."