Rail passengers could be able to catch a train from Seaham direct to London from as early as next year after an operator applied to expand its offering.

Grand Central, which already runs services through Sunderland, Hartlepool, Eaglescliffe and Northallerton to Kings Cross hopes to add a stop at Seaham on its London trains.

The service would connect the County Durham coastal town directly to the capital with four daily trains.

It would be the town’s first and only direct link to London.

The new service could launch as early as May 2025, Grand Central’s parent company Arriva said.

The firm has started the official process to launch the route, applying to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) who must approve any new services.

Also included in the plans are an additional 550,000 seats a year between the North East and the capital, and extra trains to Bradford and York from London.

David Brown, Managing Director of Arriva’s UK Trains division, commented: “These proposals would bring more services and choice to passengers, building on the success of Grand Central’s open access operations, which connect a number of under-served communities in both the North East and West Yorkshire to London.

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“This is a growth opportunity for the railway and a positive development for passengers and our colleagues at Grand Central.

“By delivering additional services through open access, we can encourage more train travel, which is good for the environment and communities, helping to ensure Britain’s rail system can thrive long into the future.”