Grand Central Rail
The train operator has begun consultation with other train companies and the infrastructure operator Network Rail to operate more trains per day.
Businesses on Wearside could be set to receive a major boost if Grand Central is successful in expanding its rail network.
The operator is in discussions with Network Rail and other train companies to increase the number of services it operates.
If successful, it will see Grand Central increase the number of trains per day serving Sunderland and London from five to six and will include a direct service to Peterborough.
Richard McClean, managing director of Grand Central, said: “The proposed additional services are an important part of Grand Central’s longer term strategic development, building on the strong growth we have seen on our existing routes.
“We believe that expanding our operations will benefit both our existing and potential new passengers, as well as grow existing markets.
“As well as bringing additional benefits to our customers, we see these additional services as continuing the economic growth we have supported in communities along our routes by enabling social mobility and enabling communities to thrive.
“The proposed services are essential to encouraging competition in the rail market and to connecting communities and businesses.
“By offering low fares and benefits which are valued by our customers such as free WiFi and plenty of legroom, we aim to make train travel an attractive and affordable option.
“We’re pleased to present these growth proposals and we hope the ORR and the wider rail industry share our vision for sustainable investment in the long term.”