London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is celebrating the launch of direct Azuma services between Middlesbrough and London King’s Cross with Teesside becoming the latest destination to benefit from the arrival of LNER’s world-class trains.
The daily weekday service in each direction will be the first direct link between Middlesbrough and the capital in more than thirty years and will also connect nearby Thornaby directly with London
King’s Cross, offering journey times of around three hours.
The inaugural southbound service will depart Middlesbrough on Monday 13 December 2021 at 07:08, Thornaby at 07:15, arriving at London King’s Cross via York at 10:22. Northbound services will depart London at 15:25 each weekday, stopping at York and arriving in Thornaby at 18:08 and Middlesbrough at 18:18.
David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, said: “We’re proud to be introducing our revolutionary Azuma services between Middlesbrough and London King’s Cross. Their arrival will transform travel for customers and generate further economic opportunities for the area, with our direct services making business, leisure and international travel simpler, smarter and greener.
“Our Azuma trains offer customers greater comfort and space, keeping people connected with free onboard Wi-Fi and sockets at every seat. Our superb at-seat catering offers in both Standard and First further enhance our customer experience.”
Azuma also provides significant environmental benefits with bi-mode trains using overhead wires to run on electric power for around 220 of the 239-mile journey to and from Middlesbrough.
LNER has invested in every aspect of its customer experience, including the LNER mobile app which makes it easier for customers to book direct. Customers are also rewarded for their loyalty by signing up to LNER Perks.
To coincide with the launch of its latest destination, LNER has introduced great value family tickets between Middlesbrough, Thornaby and London King’s Cross. Fixed price all-in-one return fares for two adults and up to four children are priced at £129, providing savings of up to 48 per cent of the equivalent Standard tickets.
Additional LNER Middlesbrough services are planned in the future following the completion of further works around Middlesbrough station which are currently being drawn up by Network Rail and following a significant timetable change on the East Coast Main Line.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “This Government is committed to levelling up the whole of the UK and improving rail connectivity is key in helping us to build back better and greener, while allowing everyone to experience the best places our country has to offer.
“This direct service between Middlesbrough and London will be a huge boost for the North-East, joining our Integrated Rail Plan in providing better access to jobs and opportunities, connecting families and friends, and increasing tourism.”
Andy McDonald, MP for Middlesbrough, said: “I am delighted that, after nine years of campaigning since I was first elected, this new direct link from Middlesbrough to London is finally here.
“It is hugely welcome and a positive step towards much needed improved rail connectivity for the area. Being able to travel to Parliament from my hometown will make for a far more convenient commute and I am sure local travellers, both business and pleasure, will benefit from this new service.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I pledged to get direct trains to London and after critical months of work, I’m delighted to see the first Azuma roll in. Phase one of our £34million upgrade is complete with phase two following early next year.
“This connection will become increasingly important as we drive forward Teesworks and the Teesside Freeport and capitalise on all of the opportunities these provide. We’re making
improvements at stations right across our region to give local people the fast, reliable and smooth
transport network they deserve.”
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston added: “Middlesbrough really is making huge strides towards an exciting and prosperous future, and this is another major milestone on that journey. We’re all about creating opportunity, jobs and aspiration for young people, and 21st century transport links like this are key to making that happen.
“This is just the start – it’s an important step, but there’s so much more to come.”
Matt Rice, North and East Route Director for Network Rail, said: “It’s so pleasing to have worked alongside LNER to deliver the people of Middlesbrough their eagerly-awaited direct service to London.
“This isn’t the end of the upgrades for Middlesbrough or the Tees Valley region, and we’ll continue working with industry partners and stakeholders on delivering those as quickly as possible.”
Advance single tickets between Middlesbrough and London King’s Cross start from £20.60 in
Standard or £60 in First Class when booked online at lner.co.uk
Customers are reminded that it is a legal requirement to wear a face covering onboard trains and in stations, unless exempt. Seat reservations are also recommended so customers have the comfort of a seat for the duration of their journey. These can be made up to five minutes before departure using the LNER website, LNER app or at a travel centre.
Record levels of enhanced cleaning continue to be carried out onboard LNER trains and managed stations to ensure customers can travel with confidence.
Photo credit: LNER