West Midlands Railway Business Update - November 2018 (posted 02.11.18)West Midlands Trains have issued what is intended to the first of regular business updates. This issue includes, among other things, details of new trains, postponement of the service changes proposed for December and 180 years of services between London and Birmingham. The Business Update is available here.
Virgin Trains scraps Friday afternoon off-peak restrictions (posted 01.11.18)Virgin Trains have announced that off-peak restrictions on Friday afternoon departures from London Euston are being withdrawn with effect from tomorrow, Friday 2nd November. This means that if you have an off-peak ticket you will be able to return from London at any time after the morning peak on Fridays. This restriction has been withdrawn following a shift in travel patterns whereby fewer people are now travelling on Fridays. Regular travellers will know it had created a "false peak" whereby trains immediately after the peak restrictions ended were always very crowded. For Rugby passengers this was particularly true with the 19.03 ex Euston. A trial during the Summer showed the overcrowding on these after-peak services was substantially reduced, with loadings being spread more evenly throughout the evening. This arrangement has now been made permanent. For further details, including a summary of the effect on train loadings, see the Virgin Trains website.
Information on rail tickets to be 'simplified' (posted 22.08.18)The Rail Delivery Group has issued details of changes to the information shown on travel tickets, which will take place 'from September'. The aim is to cut out some of the jargon which can confuse passengers. No change to the existing validity of tickets is being made. The changes can be summarised as follows:
- Route "direct". When there is only one possible route with no changes, no routeing information will be shown on the ticket.
- Route "any permitted". If the ticket is valid for one specific route, this will be shown on the ticket. Where the ticket is valid for multiple routes, the ticket will continue to show "route any permitted".
- Tickets to group stations. For short journeys where the ticket is valid to one specific destination station, this will be shown on the ticket, e.g. Adderley Park to Birmingham New Street. Where it is valid to a group of stations, it will specify the group as now, e.g. Leamington Spa to Birmingham stations, or Dartford to London Terminals.
West Midlands timetable improvements postponed from December 2018 to May 2019 (updated 16.07.18)The Rail Delivery Group has announced that, following the problems with the May timetable changes on Thameslink and Northern services. the number of changes to take place at the next timetable change in December is being reduced from what had originally been planned. Unfortunately, this means that the service improvements planned for London Northwestern and West Midlands Trains will not now take place until the subsidiary timetable change date in May 2019. Further details are available in the Rail Delivery Group Press release. RRUG has also issued a press release on this.
West Midlands Trains apply for service improvements (updated 13.07.18)As part of their franchise commitment, West Midlands Trains have applied to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) for a Track Access Agreement to run revised train services from the December 2018 timetable change. However, since this application was submitted, the Rail Delivery Group has now decided that the timetable changes in the West Midlands will be deferred to the May 2019 timetable change (see above). Improvements which will affect Rugby include:
- Diversion of the Trent Valley stopping service to run direct from Stafford to Crewe instead of diverting via Stoke-on-Trent. There will be some additional trains on this route, closing existing gaps in the service. Stations between Stone and Alsager via Stoke-on-Trent will be served by a new Birmingham - Stafford - Stoke - Crewe service.
- Linking of one of the Euston - Northampton - Birmingham services with a Birmingham - Rugeley Trent Valley service. This will provide a through link between Rugby, Walsall and Cannock.
- Additional trains from Rugby to Birmingham at 08.48 and Birmingham to Rugby at 16.14 on Mondays to Fridays, closing gaps in the service.
- Some Leamington - Coventry services will be linked with the existing Coventry - Nuneaton services to provide through links across Coventry. There will also be a new Leamington - Coventry service on Sundays, providing Kenilworth with a train service on that day.