Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (13 December) welcomed the news that LNER have commenced its first direct train from Middlesbrough to London, the station’s first service in more than 30 years.
The inaugural direct weekday connection, originally announced by Mayor Houchen earlier this year, saw one of LNER’s new Azuma trains leave Middlesbrough at 07:08 for a London King’s Cross arrival time of 10:22. A return service from London’s Kings Cross will also operate at 15:25.
The train arrived following the first phase of a £34million station overhaul, supported by £22.5million from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, which saw a 75-metre extension to platform 2 completed in June.
Work is now being carried out to make the station even better for travellers, including opening up the dilapidated undercroft to provide a new entrance. A further phase will see a new platform 3 built to the north of platform 2 to increase train capacity within the station, with completion expected by summer 2023.
Mayor Houchen said: “The first Azuma train has now rolled into Middlesbrough station, giving the town a vital link to London so people from across Teesside Darlington and Hartlepool have even more options when travelling to the capital.
“I pledged we’d see them by the end of the year and, after months of critical work and an investment of £22.5million to upgrade the station, the service is finally here. This connection will become increasingly important as we drive forward Teesworks and the Teesside Freeport and capitalise on all of the opportunities these provide. It will make it easier for our businesses to seek out new partnerships and grow, as well as boosting the potential for inward investment in our region.
“Work is still going on to make Middlesbrough station even better, and we’re making improvements at stations right across our region to give local people the fast, reliable and smooth transport network they deserve.”
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.”