Stagecoach in legal action over pensions row (posted 09.05.19)Stagecoach, which owns a part share in Virgin Trains West Coast, is taking legal action against the Department of Transport (DfT). This is to challenge the DfT's decision that Train Operaing Companies should bear the financial responsibility for the railway pension fund. While this action is principally about the DfT disqualifying Stagecoach from bidding for the East Midlands franchise, if its legal challenge is successful this could also affect the DfT's decision to disqualify Stagecoach from its bid for the West Coast Partnership franchise, which as it stands would see the end of Virgin Trains as a train operator. For further details see the BBC News item.
Major improvements to LNW services from May (posted 24.04.19)There will be some major improvements to London Northwestern train services from the May timetable change on May 19. These are the improvements postponed from the December timetable change, and the effects on Rugby rail users are summarised as follows:.
- The Trent Valley line service will run direct from Stafford to Crewe, giving reduced journey times to that destination. Connections for Stoke will be available at Stafford.
- Nearly all services which currently terminate at Birmingham New Street will be extended to either the Cannock line to Rugeley, or Liverpool Lime Street via Crewe, or Crewe via Wolverhampton and Stoke-on-Trent. This will give through trains to all these destinations from Rugby, although in some cases it will still be quicker to change trains and travel part way by Virgin Trains.
- Some stopping services to London Euston will have reduced journey times due to the reduction in layover time at Northampton
- The existing gaps in the three train per hour service to / from Birmingham will be abolished, e.g. the 16.14 from Birmingham will now run through to Rugby and Northampton.
- The xx.48 from Rugby to Birmingham will be retimed to depart at xx.00 and will no longer be overtaken at Coventry by the following Virgin train.
- Sunday services on the London - Rugby - Birmingham line will increase to three per hour after 12.00.