Grand Union Trains have submitted a notification to the Office of Rail and Road to run the service which would run from Stirling via Larbert and on to Motherwell before joining the West Coast Main Line to London.
A daily service of around three to four trains per day in each direction between Stirling and London Euston is proposed using Class 91 electric trains, with up to nine coaches, which are currently operated by LNER on the east coast mainline and are due to be replaced by the new Azuma trains.
Open Access Operator Grand Union Trains – a company running a service on infrastructure owned by a third party which buys access on a chosen route – is also proposing to start running a Llanelli to London service via Cardiff in 2021.
Grand Union Trains chief executive Ian Yeowart this week pointed out the application process would take 18 months.
He added: “We have started discussions with stakeholders about making this become a reality.
“We are focusing on delivering a number of new direct journey opportunities including linking a number of central Scotland stations (Stirling, Larbert, Greenfaulds and Whifflet) directly with London. We are very grateful for the positive response we have received.”
Open Access Operator Grand Central Trains is currently offering similar services from Sunderland and Hartlepool via York and from Bradford and Halifax via Doncaster, both linking with the East Coast Main Line to London Kings Cross.
Mr Yeowart emphasised that Grand Union Trains’ proposed Stirling-London service would compete on prices and quality.
He said: “It’s a long journey – five and a half hours each way to and from Stirling –and so the seating has to be comfortable.
“There will be competition for passengers between Stirling and other stations like Edinburgh and Glasgow and pressure on prices as well as providing a quality service.
“We believe we have a unique selling point with full size trains with between seven to nine coaches.
“And we expect the Stirling service to drive up usage at stations further afield which is one of the things we found occurred with the North East and West Yorkshire open access routes.”
The Grand Union Trains application for the Stirling-London service to the Office of Rail and Road pointed to three to four trains daily in each direction.
It stated: ‘Depending on final pathing, first up service (Stirling to London) would depart at around 5.30am, then operate roughly every three to four hours (depending on number operated) with last up service around 4.30pm.
`First down service (London to Stirling) at around 8.33am would then operate roughly every three to four hours (depending on number operated) with last down service around 4.38pm.’