Grand Union
Franchise(s)Open access operator
Parent companyIan Yeowart
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Grand Union is a prospective open access operator who are proposing to operate train services in the United Kingdom from England to Wales and Scotland. Grand Union is headed by Ian Yeowart, who founded previous open access operators Alliance Rail Holdings and Grand Central before selling both to Arriva.

In December 2022, the company was authorised by the Office of Rail and Road to operate trains between London Paddington and Carmarthen from December 2024.



Grand Union first proposal was to operate a two-hourly services between London Paddington and Cardiff Central calling at Reading, Bristol Parkway, Severn Tunnel Junction, Newport and Cardiff Parkway. From 2023, the service would have been increased to hourly and extended to Llanelli calling at: Swansea and Llanelli, with possibly a further extension to Carmarthen. In its April 2019 submission to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), it proposed operating hourly services between London Paddington and Cardiff Central.[1][2]

In July 2019, the application was withdrawn and replaced with an amended one.[3][4] In May 2020, the application was replaced again seeing the introduction of a proposed extended service running to Carmarthen, with the initial two-hourly service starting in December 2021.[5] In February 2021 the application was rejected.[6][7] In April 2021 an amended application was lodged.[8][9]

Grand Union proposed to operate with LNER Class 91s and Rail Operations Group Class 93s hauling nine-car Mark 4s and a Driving Van Trailer.[10][11]

In December 2022, the ORR approved Grand Union's plan for the new rail service from Paddington to Carmarthen, directing Network Rail to enter into a contract with the operator. A fleet of new bi-mode trains will be used. The project is being developed in partnership with European investment company Serena Industrial Partners and Spanish rail operator Renfe. The new service is scheduled to commence in December 2024.[12] The service will call at Bristol Parkway, Severn Tunnel Junction, Newport, Cardiff Central, Gowerton and Llanelli.[13]


In August 2019, Grand Union lodged an application to operate four trains each way per day between London Euston and Stirling calling at Milton Keynes Central, Nuneaton, Crewe, Preston, Carlisle, Lockerbie, Motherwell, Whifflet, Greenfaulds and Larbert with InterCity 225s from May 2021.[14] In June 2021, Grand Union lodged an amended application proposing to use LNER Class 91s and Rail Operations Group Class 93s hauling nine-car Mark 4s and a Driving Van Trailer.[15]


  1. ^ Open-access London - Cardiff service proposed International Railway Journal 8 April 2019
  2. ^ Trains to London: Proposal for faster service from Cardiff BBC News 15 June 2019
  3. ^ Trains to London: Cardiff to Paddington plan expands BBC News 19 July 2019
  4. ^ Grand Union Trains London-Cardiff/Swansea and Llanelli Application Office of Rail & Road 10 July 2019
  5. ^ Grand Union Trains London to Carmarthen Application 5 May 2020
  6. ^ ORR rejects Grand Union'a Cardiff open access plans Rail issue 925 24 February 2021 page 12
  7. ^ ORR Rejects Grand Union’s Cardiff trains Rail Express issue 299 April 2021 page 13
  8. ^ Grand Union submits new Paddington - Wales proposal Rail issue 928 7 April 2021 page 26
  9. ^ Grand Union tries again for South Wales Modern Railways issue 872 May 2021 page 16
  10. ^ Cardiff - London open access plan Railway Gazette International 19 June 2019
  11. ^ OA form Office of Rail & Road 27 March 2019
  12. ^ "Trains: Plans for new London-west Wales services approved". BBC News. 1 December 2022. Retrieved 1 December 2022.
  13. ^ ORR approves Grand Union London - Carmarthern trains Rail issue 972 14 December 2022 page 17
  14. ^ Grand Union Trains London Euston to Stirling Application Office of Rail & Road 23 August 2019
  15. ^ Grand Union plans 93s to Stirling Modern Railways issue 875 August 2021 page 17