A RAIL firm's managing director is to leave his post, three months after it was bought by Arriva.

North-East based Arriva bought Grand Central, which launched services between the capital and Sunderland in 2007, in November for an undisclosed fee.

At that time York based Grand Central, employing 125, said it would continue with the same management team, but now Arriva has announced its managing director Tom Clift is to leave.

Mr Clift, who has been in his role since the firm's launch, said: "I have enormous pride in the small, committed and professional team that has worked so hard to make Grand Central the success it is today.

"I thank them all for their support over the years."

Richard McClean will become managing director of the open access operator, in addition to his current role as managing director of Arriva's Tyne and Wear Metro operation.

Mr McClean said: "Grand Central's passengers, and the communities it serves, are incredibly loyal and this is a credit to Tom and our people who work hard every day to deliver services.

"Tom leaves the business with firm foundations, which we will build upon in the years ahead."

Sean English, currently Grand Central's operations director, will take on the new role of general manager and be responsible for the day-to-day delivery of its services. He will report to Mr McClean.

Prior to buying Grand Central for an undisclosed sum Arriva, employing more than 47,000, already ran a number of rail franchises, including CrossCountry, which has services from the North-East to the South-West, but not London, Arriva Trains Wales and Chiltern Railways.

Grand Central achieved the highest rating for customer satisfaction, 95 per cent, in last month's independent National Passenger Survey, published by Passenger Focus last month.