Train operator Grand Central has confirmed it plans to run new services between Blackpool and London from spring 2020.

The company said it would run up to five new direct train services every day, meaning Blackpool will gain direct services to London on Sundays and later trains from Monday to Saturday.

Poulton-le-Fylde and Kirkham and Wesham stations would each get new direct London services seven days a week.

All trains would stop at Preston and Nuneaton, with most stopping at Milton Keynes.

The services were approved by the UK’s rail regulator in June 2018, though were initially intended to be operated by Great North Western Railway (GNWR).

Grand Central and GNWR are both owned by Arriva UK Trains, which runs three rail franchises and two rail contracts, covering a fifth of the entire UK network.

Arriva has been a subsidiary of Germany’s Deutsche Bahn since 2010.

Grand Central currently operates direct trains between towns and cities in Yorkshire and the North East of England and London.

It is an ‘open access’ operator, meaning it does not receive any subsidies from the Department for Transport.

It has a fleet of Class 180 Adelante trains which it is in the process of refurbishing for £9 million.

Richard McClean, Managing Director of Grand Central, said: “We are delighted to announce our plans to operate direct train services between London and Blackpool from early next year.

“We will bring our operational expertise and industry-leading customer service to this new route, offering more choice for existing rail users and new opportunities for people to travel by train. The expansion of our services will bring significant economic benefits, empower communities along the routes and offer fantastic new career opportunities.

“For more than a decade, we have been dedicated to making travel affordable and enjoyable for people in the North East and across Yorkshire. This new chapter opens up these opportunities to the other side of the Pennines and beyond, ensuring rail remains relevant and accessible to as many people as possible.”