Rugby Rail Users Group

The Voice Of Rugby Rail Users

News

Notice of Annual General Meeting and Members' Meeting, Wednesday 4 October (updated 05.09.17)

The 2017 Annual General Meeting of Rugby Rail Users Group will be combined with a Members' Meeting and held on Wednesday 4th October.  The venue will be The Claremont Centre (Age UK), 43 Clifton Road, Rugby CV21 3QE.  Doors open at 19.15 for a 19.30 start.
In addition to the business of the AGM, we will have Francis Thomas of London Midland as our guest speaker.  He will give us his plans for the remainder of the franchise, which has now been extended until December.  There will be the opportunity to ask questions following his presentation.  It is possible a representative from Virgin Trains will also be present, but we are currently awaiting confirmation of this.
We have also been advised that our MP, Mark Pawsey, intends to come to this meeting.
All RRUG members are invited to attend.  If you are not currently a member but would like to come to this meeting, you will be able to pay the annual subscription of £8 at the door.

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
    • 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..

May timetable change (updated 11.05.17)

The interim timetable change on National Rail will take place on Sunday 21 May.  There are no changes affecting train services at Rugby, except as shown below.
Virgin Trains
The 06.20 Virgin train from Rugby to Euston will start back from Birmingham New Street at 05.45.  It will then call at Birmingham International and Coventry before arriving at Rugby at 06.17, and then go forward at 06.20 to London Euston via Northampton as now.
 London Midland
The 07.38 to Birmingham New Street will depart at 07.37 and call additionally at Berkswell.
The 07.59 to Birmingham New Street will no longer call at Berkswell.
Further details of these and all other train services, both before and after the May timetable change, are shown in the National Rail Journey Planner.

Changes to bus routes 10 and 12 serving Rugby station (posted 16.03.17)

The route of buses 10 and 12 between Rugby town centre and the railway station will be altered on and from Monday 27 March.  From this date buses on these two routes going towards the station will now pick up in North Street outside New Look, (i.e. on the other side of the road) rather than outside Peacocks as at present.  The more frequent no. 4 bus service to the station will continue to pick up outside Peacocks.  The route of buses 10 and 12 in the opposite direction (from the station to the town centre) will remain unchanged.
These changes are being made in connection with other changes to routes 10 and 12, including a diversion to serve Crackthorne Drive in Central Park.  The new timetable and route maps are available here.

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.