Video report by Jonny Blair.
A long-awaited new rail link between Middlesbrough and London King's Cross has launched today (13 December).
It is the first direct link between Teesside and the capital in over 30 years.
The daily weekday service in each direction also connects nearby Thornaby directly with London.
The new service departed Middlesbrough at 07:08 and Thornaby at 07:15, arriving at London King’s Cross via York at 10:22.
Northbound services will depart London at 15:25, stopping at York and arriving in Thornaby at 18:08 and Middlesbrough at 18:18.
More regular, direct services are planned by LNER in the future following the completion of further Middlesbrough station works which are currently being drawn up by Network Rail.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says this is a sign of promises to level up the North East