^ Pick up northbound,
set down southbound;
selected weekday services only

  • Note: No First Hull Trains services stop at Peterborough.


File:Hull trains logo.png

First Hull Trains[1] (formerly Hull Trains) is an open-access operator in the United Kingdom owned by FirstGroup and two former British Rail managers.[2] It operates seven long-distance services per day between Hull and London King's Cross, also serving Brough, Howden, Selby, Doncaster, Retford, Grantham and Stevenage. It has a track-access agreement until December 2016.


Previously there had been only one through train per day each way between Hull and London. The idea of running more frequent through trains on the route was conceived by former British Rail managers, Mike Jones and John Nelson, through their Renaissance Trains business. Each took a 10% shareholding in Hull Trains with GB Railways the remaining 80%. This structure remains in place, albeit with First having acquired GB Railways' share when it purchased the company in August 2003.[3][4]

In 2000 Hull Trains was granted a four-year track-access agreement by the Office of Rail Regulation, and operations started on 25 September 2000.[5] In June 2002 it was awarded access rights for ten years.[6] In June 2008 Hull Trains was rebranded as First Hull Trains, adopting First's corporate blue, pink and white colours.[7] In January 2009 the access rights were extended to December 2014,[8] and in February 2010 was further extended to December 2016.[9]


File:222102 A KGX.JPG

First Hull Trains operates up to seven daily return services between Hull and London King's Cross serving Brough, Howden, Selby, Doncaster, Retford, Grantham and Stevenage.

Hull Trains commenced running three services per day between on 25 September 2000. In 2002 a fourth daily service commenced, in May 2004 a fifth.[10] in 2005 a sixth and later a seventh.


Official performance figures for First Hull Trains released by the ORR for the second quarter of the financial year 2010/11 are 83.6% PPM and 85.9% MAA.[11] These figures are both up on those of last quarter and the last twelve months respectively.

In July 2011 First Hull Trains was recognised as one of the highest-rated rail operators in the UK, with 95% of passengers rating the service good. However, in the same month the company was plagued with yet more Class 180 problems, forcing it to run a much-reduced timetable and make a public apology.[12]

Expansion proposalsEdit

Main article: First Harrogate Trains

In 2008 First Hull Trains revealed that it was applying for track access rights to run services between Harrogate and London King's Cross via York under the First Harrogate Trains banner and from Cleethorpes to King's Cross to via Lincoln and Spalding.[13] In January 2009, the Office of Rail Regulation released its decisions on the ECML route planning and rejected First Harrogate Trains' application.

Rolling stockEdit

Hull Trains commenced operations with three-carriage Class 170 Turbostars hired from sister GB Railways company Anglia Railways. There was at least one occasion of an Anglia Railways Class 86 and Mark 2 set operating as far as Doncaster.[14]

With the Strategic Rail Authority changing its policy on allowing TOC assets to be hired out, Hull Trains needed to acquire its own fleet. It ordered four three-carriage Class 170 Turbostars the first entering service in March 2004. These were only intended as an interim solution as four four-carriage Class 222 Pioneers were ordered at the same time, but because the former were part of a speculative order already placed by Porterbrook they would be available in time.[15][16]

Hull Trains Class 170 Turbostars entered service in April 2004. It was planned that after being replaced, they would then be used on new services, but this didn't eventuate so they were transferred to First ScotRail.[17] The Class 222 Pioneers entered service from May 2005.[18]

In January 2007 a Class 222 Pioneer was damaged when it was dropped off a maintenance jack and would ultimately take two years to repair. After making do with only three trains, in early 2008 a Class 86 was hired from the AC Locomotive Group to haul a set of Mark 3s hired from Cargo-D on weekend King's Cross to Doncaster services.[19]

In April 2008 two Class 180 Adelantes were leased to replace the locomotive hauled set and allow a maintenance backlog that accrued on the Class 222 Pioneers to be cleared.[20] Later in 2008 another two were leased to release the Class 222 Pioneers for transfer to East Midlands Trains in 2009.[21]

These trains helped First Hull Trains gain more capacity by an extra carriage, however when the units first arrived, they were plagued by technical difficulties, and a string of poor reliability for the company soon followed. However, First Hull Trains has improved reliability dramatically since introduction.

The units have also been given a refresh internally with new seat covers and a deep clean. New catering facilities for first class have also been provided, and externally the units have been repainted in First Group's neon blue livery.

In the Class 180s, Coach A is the quiet coach where mobile phones and personal music devices are not allowed, Coach B is standard class including the buffet/shop, Coach C is standard seating, Coach D is first class, and Coach E contains airline-style seating and wheelchair accommodation.

Current fleet Edit

 Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Routes operated   Built 
 mph   km/h 
Class 180 Adelante 100px diesel multiple unit 125 200 4 Hull - London King's Cross 2000-2001

Past fleet Edit

Class Image Type Built Number Withdrawn Notes
Class 170 Turbostar 100px diesel multiple unit 1999–2004 4 2005 Replaced by Class 222 Pioneer and transferred to First ScotRail
Class 222 Pioneer 100px diesel multiple unit 2005 4 2009 Replaced by Class 180 Adelante. Class 222s transferred to East Midlands Trains, locomotive hauled stock stored.
Class 86 100px Electric locomotive 1965–1966 1 2008
Mark 3 Carriage 100px Passenger Carriage 1975–1988 5 2008
100px Driving Van Trailer 1988 1 2008


Maintenance of the Class 180 Adelantes is undertaken at Old Oak Common Depot alongside First Great Western's fleet. Two sets (or occasionally three if there are no sets on maintenance) are stabled and serviced each night in Hull sidings by FHT staff (where there are usually two fitters on at night to undertake basic fault repair and diagnostics) with fuelling and CET being undertaken at Northern Rail's Botanic Gardens Depot. The third service set is stabled at either Bounds Green or Old Oak Common as service requirements dictate. A day fitter is based at Hull. Previously much of this work was undertaken by Bombardier at Crofton and only one set left in Hull each night.


  1. Companies House extract company no 3715410 Hull Trains Company Limited
  2. FirstGroup Annual Report 31 March 2012
  3. Hull Trains Company Limited Annual Accounts 2002
  4. Template:Cite press release
  5. "Happy 10th Birthday for Hull Trains". Rail Express. 23 September 2010.
  6. Template:Cite press release
  7. The Pioneer Issue seven. First Hull Trains Magazine Spring 2008.
  8. Template:Cite press release
  9. Template:Cite press release
  10. Template:Cite magazine
  11. Script error
  12. Script error
  13. Hull Trains - Track Access Rights on the East coast Main Line Office of the Rail Regulator, 19 March 2008.
  14. Rail Magazine Issue 428 6 February 2002 Page 53
  15. New Trains for Hull Trains as As Company Announces Million Investment Hull Trains Press Release 20 September 2002
  16. Rail Magazine Issue 445 2 October 2002 Page 9
  17. Rail Magazine Issue 516 22 June 2005 Page 10
  18. Rail Magazine Issue 515 8 June 2012 Page 8
  19. Rail Magazine Issue 576 10 October 2007 Page 20
  20. Rail Magazine Issue 588 26 March 2008 Page 62
  21. Template:Cite journal

External linksEdit

Template:Commons category

Template:Current UK TOCs Template:FirstGroup