Rugby Rail Users Group

The Voice Of Rugby Rail Users


Steam train at Rugby - Saturday 25 November (posted 13.11.17)

A special steam train hauled by the steam locomotive 'Tornado' will call at Rugby on Saturday 25 November.  On the outward journey, it will stop at Rugby for water from 10.08 to 10.29.  On the return journey it will stop at Rugby from 20.32 to 20.34 (in the dark).  The train is a special charter train organised by UK Rail Tours from London Euston to Chester.  It only calls at Rugby for operational purposes, and is not available to passengers joining or alighting.
See here for the full timings.
Tornado at Taunton

New name for London Midland services on West Coast Main Line (updated 02.11.17)

As previously reported, a new operator headed by Abellio will take over the train services currently operated by GoVia as 'London Midland' on and from 10 December.
The new operator has announced that long distance services on the West Coast Main Line, such as London - Northampton - Birmingham and London - Rugby - Crewe, will be rebranded 'London Northwestern'.  Local services in the West Midlands will become 'West Midlands Railway'.
For further details, including images of the proposed London Northwestern and West Midlands Railway liveries, see the Abellio announcement and the Rail Technology Magazine article.

Changes to bus routes 10 and 12 serving Rugby station (posted 24.10.17)

In connection with service revisions in the Daventry area, bus routes 10 and 12, which link Daventry with Rugby town centre, rail station and Central Park, will be renumbered D1 and D2 respectively, from Sunday 5 November.  These services will also be extended from Daventry via Weedon to Northampton.
The revised timetable is available here.

New trains for West Midlands (posted 17.10.17)

West Midlands Trains, who will run the trains currently operated by London Midland from 10 December, have ordered over 100 new trains.  There will be 45 new 5-car electric trains for longer distance services such as London to Birmingham and Crewe.  these trains will be capable of running at 110 mph. Other new electric trains will be 36 3-car electric trains for Metro services, principally the Cross City line in Birmingham.
There will also be 26 new diesel trains for non-electrified routes such as those serving Birmingham Moor Street and Snow Hill stations.  these will be a mixture of 2-car and 4-car trains.
For  further details see the Railnews news item.

GoVia to lose London Midland franchise (posted 13.08.17)

GoVia, the operator of London Midland, are to lose the franchise from December.  The new operator will be West Midlands Trains Ltd, a consortium of companies comprising Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui.
General improvements promised include:
  • free wi-fi on all main line services by the end of 2019
  • compensation if services are delayed by 15 minutes or more
  • improved access for those requiring extra assistance, including disabled people
  • 400 new or refurbished carriages
  • £60 million invested in station improvments.
Specific improvements to train services affecting Rugby rail users will include:
  • additional trains between Rugby and Birmingham on Mondays to Fridays by December 2018
  • later last train from Birmingham to Rugby and Northampton on Mondays to Fridays by December 2018
  • Sunday frequency between Birmingham, Rugby and Northampton increases from 1 to 2 services an hour by May 2021
  • Trent Valley line trains will run direct from Stafford to Crewe, reducing journey times, by December 2018
  • a later last train from London Euston to Rugby and Crewe, serving Trent Valley line stations, on Mondays to Saturdays by December 2018
  • an earlier first train on Sundays from Crewe and Trent Valley line stations to Rugby and London Euston by May 2021.
For further details see the Department for Transport announcement.

Major engineering work at Liverpool Lime Street from 30 September until 22 October (posted 04.08.17)

A major capacity upgrade is be taking place at Liverpool Lime Street.  This project will provide an additional platform and upgraded signalling to allow more trains to use the station. Phase One of this work will take place from 30th September until 22 October, both dates inclusive.
During this time Liverpool Lime Street station will be closed except for a limited service of a few Northern Rail trains on some days.  Both Virgin and London Midland services will terminate at Liverpool South Parkway throughout this period, with passengers continuing their journeys into central Liverpool by Merseyrail services.  This means that the two through Virgin trains from Rugby to Liverpool at 18.22 and19.22 on Monday to Friday evenings will terminate instead at Liverpool South Parkway.  Similarly the 06.51 and 22.31 arrivals at Rugby from Liverpool will start their journeys at Liverpool South Parkway.
Further details of this project are available on the special page on the National Rail website.

London Midland franchise extended until  December (updated 29.08.17)

London Midland have announced that the DfT have extended their franchise "until at least December".  The DfT have postponed the start of the new contract for at least eight weeks until 10 December.  Although no reason has been given for the delay, we suspect the DfT will say the general election has caused a delay to franchising awards.
This means that London Midland will continue to operate their existing train services until 10 December, when the new franchise awarded to West Midlands Trains will commence (see separate story).
For further details see the London Midland press release.

Three bidders shortlisted for West Coast partnership (posted 22.06.17)

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that it has shortlisted three bidders for the West Coast partnership franchise.  The successful bidder will run train services on the existing West Coast main line and the first stage of the new high speed line HS2.
The three shortlisted bidders are are:
  • First Trenitalia West Coast Ltd, a joint venture between First Rail Holdings Ltd and Trenitalia SpA
  • MTR West Coast Partnership Ltd, a joint venture between MTR Corporation (UK) Ltd and Guangshen Railway Company, with the following key sub-contractors:
    • Deloitte MCS Ltd
    • Panasonic Systems Europe
    • Snowfall AB
    • Ltd
    • WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff
  • West Coast Partnership Ltd, a joint venture between Stagecoach Group plc, Virgin Holdings Ltd and SNCF C3.
The shortlisted bidders have until Spring 2018 to prepare and submit their bids.  The successful bidder will be announced in November 2018 and their franchise will start in April 2019.  For further details see the DfT announcement.

Competitive applications for London - Blackpool trains, possibly calling at Rugby? (posted 16.06.17)

Virgin Trains have submitted a Track Access Application to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) for three additional trains between London Euston and Blackpool North each Monday to Saturday.  If approved, Virgin Trains intend to start these trains from the supplementary timetable change date in May 2018. The trains would be operated by class 390 'Pendolino' trains and call at Rugby, Warrington, Wigan, Preston and Blackpool North.  Some of these trains might also call at Watford Junction or Milton Keynes, plus one or two of the Trent Valley line stations.  If approved, these additional trains would give Rugby a better service to and from the North West during the middle of the day.  The trains would leave Euston at 06.46, 08.53 and 10.53, and return from Blackpool North at 10.45, 12.45 and 14.45.
However, Alliance Rail are also hoping to introduce a London to Blackpool service once electrification is completed. These services would operate under the name 'Great North Western Railway' and would use class 91 locomotives with Mark 4 rolling stock made redundant from the East Coast Main Line, but these services would call at Nuneaton and not at Rugby.
It is unlikely both these competing Track Access Applications will be accepted, so we will have to wait and see which one finds favour.  For further details see the Virgin Trains Track Access Application and the Alliance Rail Track Access Application..

DfT release West Coast Partnership prospectus (posted 19.01.17)

The Department for Transport (DfT) have published a prospectus for the forthcoming West Coast Partnership.  This will be the new franchise which will combine the existing West Coast main line services with those of High Speed Rail, and is due to start in April 2019.
The document is thin on deatil, but it does say that the new franchisee will be expected to "maintain and improve" the existing West Coast services, along with passenger facilities and a simplified fares system.
The prospectus is available here.

National Rail Conditions of Travel revised (posted 27.10.16)

A revised version of the National Rail Conditions of Travel, formerly known as the National Rail Conditions of Carriage, came into effect on 1 October.  The new version has been completely rewritten using less jargon and is, in the main, easier to understand than before.
There are three changes of note.  Firstly, it now makes it clear that anyone travelling with a standard class ticket who wishes to travel first class must upgrade their ticket before starting their journey.  It also makes it clear that if standard class accommodation is full, you are not entitled to travel in first class without prior permission from the on-train staff.  Where a penalty fare system is in operation, this also means that you would be charged a penalty fare for doing so.
Secondly, the rules about split ticketing have been relaxed in respect of  travelcards, ranger and rover tickets.  Passengers holding such tickets who wish to extend their journey beyond the boundary stations of such tickets no longer need to travel on a train which calls at that boundary station, provided they have bought a ticket from that boundary station to their ultimate destination.  This brings the rule into line with season tickets, where it has always been the case that you do not need to travel on a train which calls at the boundary station in these circumstances.
Thirdly, two children under 5 years of age accompanying a fare-paying adult used to travel free.  This restriction has now been lifted, so a parent travelling with more that two children under 5 will not have to pay for any of them.
The new edition of the National Rail Conditions of travel is available here.