ANOTHER train operator is to suspend its services because of the huge impact on travel caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Grand Central, which runs trains from Bradford Interchange to London's King's Cross, said services will stop from the end of Friday.

Managing director, Richard McClean, said: "So far we have offered a rail service, under a reduced timetable, in order to keep key workers moving at a time of crisis.

"This comes with all the costs of running a train service, while bringing no ticket revenue to our business. This situation is unsustainable and, following several days of discussion with the Department for Transport (DfT), we have no alternative but to suspend our services."

"Customers who have a ticket to travel with Grand Central can claim a full refund from the place they bought their ticket.

"People who absolutely need to travel, in line with government restrictions, can use their Grand Central ticket to travel on other train companies' services.

"We have also paused, until early 2021, the preparations for our new Blackpool to London Euston services, and the launch of our planned extra daily trains on Grand Central's Sunderland to King's Cross route.

"I emphasise that while these measures are necessary now, we are planning for them to be temporary."

Grand Central is owned by transport giant Arriva and is an open-access passenger train operator, which means it does not receive subsidy from, or pay any premium to, the Department for Transport.

Hull Trains has also suspended its services because of the current crisis.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said: "RMT is frankly appalled that Grand Central is not intending to make up the full wages of the staff who are being stood down and is instead intending to just pay the 80% covered by the Government scheme.

"Arriva, who own Grand Central, are a wealthy company which can afford to make up the 20% difference and that is what we are calling on them to do.

"There are nearly 250 hard-working rail staff caught in the crossfire of the Grand Central service suspension plan.

"RMT's preference was for those workers to be kept operational in an arrangement between the DfT and the company which would have kept trains running.

"If that isn't possible the very least we expect is for their wages to be covered in full, with all current jobs protected, while services are suspended.

"We will continue to campaign and fight for just that."

Manuel Cortes, leader of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, said Grand Central needs to keep running so key workers can travel.

He said: "When Hull Trains stopped running, LNER put on a replacement direct train service from Hull to London.

"LNER is also planning to start running trains to replace some Grand Central services.

"If they're going to do that why not just take on the whole shebang?

"Across Britain's rail network there's been a 95% drop in passenger numbers because of coronavirus which companies like LNER can cope with because they're in Government hands.

"But companies like Grand Central and Hull Trains are 'open access' operators that don't have any Government support so this drop in passenger numbers has hit them hard.

"Grand Central and Hull Trains are furloughing their staff because otherwise they'd go bust during the pandemic.

"LNER taking over the companies would give staff vital security in terms of jobs and incomes, and would reassure passengers that the train services will be running reliably again at the end of the crisis."

A DfT spokesman said: "Grand Central has decided to suspend services and hibernate the company to protect their financial viability during this time of reduced passenger numbers.

"We have made available a range of measures to support businesses and staff, including operators like Grand Central, and will work with them to support their return to the network."