Rugby Rail Users Group

The Voice Of Rugby Rail Users


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Virgin Trains have announced that off-peak restrictions on Friday afternoon departures from London Euston are being withdrawn with effect from tomorrow, Friday 2nd November.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This restriction has been withdrawn following a shift in travel patterns whereby fewer people are now travelling on Fridays.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.
In summary, the principal change is that where there is only one possible route, no routeing will be shown on the ticket.
For further details, see the Rail Delivery Group press release.  However, this is misleading in that it implies that phrases such as "route any permitted" and "London terminals" will no longer be used.  This is incorrect and has been clarified by rail fares expect Barry Doe, who has raised this directly with the Rail Delivery Group.  The information as displayed above is therefore correct.

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.
The Track Access Application is currently with Network Rail for comment.  It will then be considered for approval by the ORR and, if approved, will see the above changes introduced with the December 2018 timetable.
Full details are shown in the Track Access Application.

More through trains to the North West in May timetable (posted 20.04.18)

With the completion of electrification to Blackpool, Virgin Trains are introducing three new through trains between London and Blackpool North from the May timetable change.  These trains, which start on Monday 21 May, will call at Rugby, then Warrington, Wigan, Preston and Blackpool North.
On Mondays to Fridays the northbound trains will call at Rugby at 07.40, 09.46 and 11.25.  Southbound calls at Rugby will be at 12.59, 15.06 and 17.06. The existing service at 17.23 from Rugby to Blackpool will continue to run.
A similar service will operate on Saturdays, except there will be only two northbound services from Rugby, with the third northbound train starting from Birmingham.  All three southbound trains from Blackpool on Saturdays  will run to London, calling at Rugby.
These new services provide a welcome improvement in through services between Rugby and the North West, something for which RRUG has been campaigning for many years.  The full timetable is available on the Virgin Trains website.
For an updated summary of through trains between Rugby and the North West, effective from 21 May, click here.

Kenilworth station to open on Monday 30 April (posted 25.04.18)

Kenilworth station will finally open on Monday 30 April.  It will be served by a new shuttle service running between Coventry and Leamington Spa.  This will run hourly on Mondays to Saturdays.  At present there will be no Sunday service.  Journey times from Rugby to Kenilworth, with a change at Coventry, will be about 27 minutes, which is considerably quicker than is currently possible by bus.
The new service is now showing on the National Rail Journey Planner.

Reduced frequency for bus link to town centre (posted 17/08/18)

From Saturday 28 April, the frequency of  Stagecoach bus route 4, which is the main bus link between the rail station and the town centre, will be revised to run every 15 minutes instead of every 12 minutes.  Stagecoach say this will improve the reliability of the service. The new timetable for route 4 is available here.