Rugby Rail Users Group

The Voice Of Rugby Rail Users

News

Strikes on Virgin Trains in December and January (updated 09.12.17)

There will be strikes by RMT and TSSA staff working for Virgin Trains on the following dates
  • Friday 15 December
  • Friday 22 December
  • Friday 5 January
  • Monday 8 January
  • Friday 26 January
  • Monday 29 January
Virgin Trains have announced they will run six trains an hour from Euston on these days.  There will be one fewer train per hour to Manchester and Birmingham, and no trains to Chester and North Wales (except for one single working each way).  There will be no catering on Virgin Trains on strike days, and the on-board shop will be closed.
Revised timetables will be available in due course, with further information available from the Virgin Trains website.
We understand the strikes are over a pay offer.

No changes to train times in December timetable (posted 03.12.17)

The National Rail Timetable principle change date this year is December 10 2017.  As far as Rugby is concerned, the principal change will be that services currently operated as 'London Midland' will instead be operated under the name 'London Northwestern'.  This follows the awarding of the franchise to a group of companies headed by Abellio (Dutch Railways), who will take over from GoVia (the operators of London Midland)..
There are no changes to the timetables themselves of trains serving Rugby, except for some minor revisions of a minute or two to the arrival times of some trains at Birmingham New Street and London Euston.  A summary of peak time train services, also through trains to the North West, is available on the Current Rugby Timetable page.

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.

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
    • Trainline.com 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.