Train operator East Coast will introduce a weekday and Saturday evening service from London King’s Cross to Harrogate – the first direct high speed service to the town from the capital in 20 years.
The service is part of a major new timetable being launched by East Coast in May, which will see a number of new services introduced at East Coast destinations in Yorkshire.
East Coast expects the new Harrogate service to provide a major boost for business and leisure passengers who will be able to spend the day in the capital and then travel back on the same day using the direct service.
Visitors, including the hundreds of thousands of conference delegates and tourists who travel to Harrogate throughout the year, will now have a direct link to the town from London and the South East.
The train is currently being scheduled to depart King’s Cross at 17.33 and arrive into Harrogate at 20.28, complementing the existing Monday – Saturday morning train that operates from the town directly to the capital.
East Coast Chairman Elaine Holt said: “This is great news for Harrogate and the result of the very positive relationships we have developed with stakeholders, including the Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce, the local authorities and the regional tourism agency, Welcome to Yorkshire.
“We made it our priority to engage with stakeholders and customers as we developed the biggest timetable change to the East Coast route for 20 years.
“We have listened to some very persuasive arguments for the economic and social benefits that an inter-city daily return service between Harrogate and London could bring to the town.
“We appreciate that there remains an aspiration by stakeholders to deliver more services to the town. Capacity issues on the network continue to make this very difficult to achieve but we will continue to explore our options.
“In the meantime, we will work closely with stakeholders to make the new daily service a success.”
The new service has become possible after East Coast successfully carried out tests for an electric train to use on the Skipton – London route, freeing a diesel-powered train to travel to Harrogate. Subject to final industry approval, the timetable and service will be introduced in May and tickets will be available from next month.
The timetable will bring 19 more services to the East Coast route, three million more seats and faster typical journeys for millions of customers.