Rugby Rail Users Group

The Voice Of Rugby Rail Users


Full Avanti West Coast service not expected until December (posted 30.03.21)

We understand from a recent West Coast Partnership stakeholder conference that Avanti West Coast's plan is  a partial restoration of some services from the May timetable change, with the full timetable not reinstated until December.
These plans would see the Birmingham and Manchester services increased to two trains each hour from May, and to three trains each hour from December.  The regular Chester / North Wales services would also not be restored until December.  Avanti West Coast services at Rugby will therefore continue to run at different times until the full service is restored in December.
We currently have no information about London Northwestern Railway's plans, but expect the current two trains per hour to Birmingham and Northampton to continue into the May timetable as currently shown in the National Rail Journey Planner.

RRUG supports plan to restore rail link to Leicester (posted 16.03.21)

RRUG is supporting plans to restore a direct rail link between Rugby and Leicester.   The scheme is being proposed by Sustainable Transport Northamptonshire, and would see the proposed line taking the former route over the Avon Valley viaduct at Rugby, before turning onto a new formation towards Lutterworth.  Here it would run along the former Great Central route through Lutterworth, before joining the Nuneaton to Leicester line near Narborough.  A station would be provided at Lutterworth, and a possible branch line could be constructed to serve Magna Park for freight traffic.  The new link would be of benefit to Rugby as existing public transport links to Leicester are very poor, with the X84 bus service taking almost two hours.  The new rail link proposal claims the journey time would be just 28 minutes.
Trains could start from Northampton and run to Rugby before turning onto the new line, and may also be extended from Leicester to Nottingham.   These trains would serve the new station at Rugby Gateway if this separate scheme is progressed.
The scheme is one of several submitted under the government's "Restoring Your Railway" initiative, which aims to restore some of the lines closed by the Beeching Report in the 1960s. The application has been made for consideration under the the third round of proposals, and if successful would provide a grant to develop the business case.  The full list of proposals for all three stages is available here.
For further details see the Sustainable Transport Northants website.   The Rugby Observer news item shows a local newspaper's take on this..

Line reopened after Hillmorton landslip (posted 13.02.21)

The work on the landslip at Hillmorton has now been completed and all lines are open to traffic.
The reduced Covid service has been restored and train will run as outlined in the next item. To check your train times, please consult the National Rail Journey Planner.

Covid timetables expected to continue until at least May (posted 29.12.20)

The special reduced Covid timetables currently in operation have been advertised by the Train Operating Companies as continuing until the May timetable change.  In summary, the basic off-peak services to Birmingham and London are as follows:
  • Rugby to Birmingham at xx.00, xx.17* and xx 37 minutes past each hour.
  • Birmingham to Rugby at xx.14, xx30* and xx53 minutes past each hour.
  • Rugby to London at xx.05* and xx.53 minutes past each hour.
  • London to Rugby at xx.23* and xx.46 minutes past each hour.
* Denotes Avanti West Coast service.  Reservations are required for travel on these trains.  If you do not have a reservation, you may not be able to travel on the train of your choice.
Through services to and from the North West have been reduced to a service similar to that which operated before the introduction of the direct Blackpool trains, which are not running at present.
A summary of peak time services to Birmingham and London, as well as a summary of the remaining through services to and from the North West, are available on the Current Rugby timetable page.

Station bus stops moved (posted 02.12.20)

The rail station bus stops in Murray Road have been moved.  The southbound (towards the town centre) stop has been moved to the other side of Abbey Street, opposite the entrance to the Travelodge and Tesco Metro.  The northbound (out of town) stop has been moved closer to the junction with Station Approach.
These changes are to facilitate the construction of a new pelican crossing, which is expected to be installed in the New Year.
There is no change to bus services 1, 2 and 4, but because of the increased distance between the station and the southbound stop you might need to allow a little more time to walk to and from the station.

December timetable changes postponed (posted 28.11.20)

The timetable changes which were expected to be introduced on 13 December have been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  Network Rail have announced: "The December 2020 NRT has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the volume of change on the operational timetable. This level of change means we cannot produce an NRT that represents a high standard of accuracy and therefore would not benefit our customers. We will update the site in future when we have a proposed date for the NRT to be published."  (NRT = National Rail Timetable)
This means the special reduced timetables currently in operation will continue to apply, with fewer but longer trains where possible to facilitate social distancing.
Avanti West Coast have not yet published their timetables from 13 December.  The revised hourly service currently in operation between Euston, Rugby and Birmingham  is expected to continue, although there are likely to be some peak time changes to other trains which call at Rugby.  See the Avanti timetable page for up to date information.
London Northwestern Railway will be operating a similar service to now, with two trains per hour to Birmingham and Northampton, plus the hourly Euston - Rugby - Trent Valley stations - Crewe service.  See the London Northwestern Railway timetable page for up to date information.

Avanti West Coast reduced service from 14 November (posted 07.11.20)

Avanti West Coast services on the Birmingham and Manchester routes will be reduced to two trains per hour from Saturday 14 November.  As a result, train times to and from Rugby will change.
London to Rugby
There will still be an hourly service of Avanti West Coast between Rugby and London Euston.  Trains will depart London Euston for Rugby at xx.23 minutes past each hour, and from Rugby to London Euston at xx.04 minutes past each hour.  These trains will call at Watford Junction in both directions.
Rugby to Birmingham
There will still be an hourly service of Avanti West Coast trains between Rugby and Birmingham.  Trains will depart Rugby for Birmingham at xx.17 minutes past each hour, and from Birmingham New Street to Rugby at xx.30 minutes past each hour.  As now, these trains will call at Coventry and Birmingham International.
Timetables are not available at present on the Avanti West Coast website, but the new train times are on the National Rail Journey Planner.

Existing train and bus services set to continue during lockdown (posted 04.11.20)

Train services from Rugby station are set to continue at their present level during the four week lockdown announced by the Government to start on 5 November.
London Northwestern have issued a press release explaining this and what the new restrictions on travel will be.  Avanti West Coast have, at this time, made no special announcements about the lockdown, and the timetables published on their website for this week and next are the same as have been operating since September.
Buses to Rugby station will continue as now "for the time being" according to the Stagecoach coronavirus website.  Temporary timetables are available here (scroll to the bottom for Rugby timetables).

September timetable changes bring no improvement for Rugby (updated 02.09.20)

The next change to the temporary timetables for Covid 19 will occur on Sunday 6 September.  These changes, although being promoted as "an improvement" by the Train Operating Companies, will see little change in services for Rugby.  Although London Northwestern claim they will be operating 90% of their normal service, this does not apply to the Birmingham - Rugby - Northampton line, where only 66% of the service will continue to operate (2 trains per hour).
In summary, train services at Rugby will remain as follows:
Avanti West Coast
  • Hourly fast trains to Birmingham and London
  • Some additional services at peak times
  • Very few through trains to the North West via the Trent Valley line.
Timetable are available here.
London Northwestern Railway
  • Two stopping trains per hour to Birmingham.  Lea Hall, Stetchford and Adderley Park will be served by a New Street - International shuttle.
  • Two trains per hour to Long Buckby and Northampton, one of which will run through to / from London Euston.
  • Hourly Trent Valley line services, which will run fast between Euston and Rugby calling only at Milton Keynes, then all stations to Crewe.
Timetables are now available on line as follows:

Revised Avanti West Cost timetable from 6 July (posted 02.07.20)

A revised Avanti West Coast timetable will operate from Monday 6 July.  This further revised timetable will be very similar to the normal timetable which operated pre coronavirus lockdown, with a few exceptions.   Changes for Rugby passengers are as follows:
  • the Blackpool services, including the 16.33 from Euston, will not operate
  • there will be no lunchtime train from Rugby to Crewe and Chester
  • the 16.23 from Euston will have an additional stop at Rugby
  • there will be an additional stop in a train from Wolverhampton to Euston at 07.04
  • the 07.07 to Euston is retimed to 07.12
  • there is no train at 16.23 from Rugby to Euston
  • other trains may have timing changes of a few minutes..
Other changes include the Chester / North Wales services running a limited service to / from Crewe only, and most of the Glasgow services leaving Euston at xx.10 instead of xx.30.  In both directions, these trains will call additionally at Crewe to replace the withdrawn Chester / North Wales trains.
The full timetable for Mondays to Fridays is available here.

Rail station bus services - revised timetables from 1 June (posted 29.05.20)

Stagecoach Midlands are revising the temporary bus timetables for the routes serving Rugby station with effect from Monday 1st June.  Changes are as follows:
  • routes 1 and 2, Town centre - rail sttaion - Central Park.  Buses will retain the same combined frequency of hourly as at present, but with some timetable changes.  Some journeys will be extended, as route 3, to Lower Hillmorton.
  • route 4,  Cawston Grange - town centre - rail sttaion - Brownsover.  Buses will still run only every 20 minutes, but there will be additional morning journeys and the service will continue until approximately 19.30 in the evening.
Passengers are reminded they should only make essential journeys by bus.  Capacity on buses will be limited to about 8 per vehicle due to social distancing requirements.
For the new timetables, please see the Stagecoach Midlands coronavirus web page.

One way system for Rugby station (posted 16/05/20)

Avanti West Coast have advised us that they will be introducing a one-way system at Rugby station from Monday 18 May.  All passengers entering the station will have to use the front entrance, and passengers leaving the station will have to do so via the rear (post office) entrance.
This is an attempt to enforce social distancing.  It does mean however that all passengers will have to walk through the Mill Road tunnel in one direction.

May timetable changes in suspended animation (posted 14.05.19)

In normal circumstances the subsidiary change date for timetable alterations  would be 18 May.  This would mean some timetable changes from this date, However, the coronavirus situation means that the special timetables currently in force will continue until further notice, albeit with some further amendments ( see next item).
The timetable changes that were due to come into force on 18 May will be introduced at a later date when it becomes possible to reintroduce the normal service.  If you are interested to see what these changes will be, they are now available on the Electronic National Rail timetables page of the National Rail website from Friday afternoon,15 May.

Revisions to LNW and Avanti timetables from 18 May (updated 15.05.20)

An improved temporary timetable will operate on both London Northwestern services and Avanti West Coast from Monday 18. May.  Principal changes are as follows:
London Northwestern Railway
  • Rugby to Birmingham.  Two trains an hour will run between Rugby and Birmingham.  Lea Hall, Stechford and Adderley Park will not be served by these trains, for which there will be a separate shuttle between Birmingham New Street and International. The first train from Rugby will be at 06.19, and the last train back from Birmingham at 22.55
  • Rugby to Northampton.  Two trains an hour will run between Rugby and Northampton, calling at Long Buckby.  One train each hour will be extended from Northampton through to London Euston, calling at all stations to Leighton Buzzard then fast to Euston.  First train from Rugby to Northampton will be at 05.49, last train back from Northampton at 22.56.
  • Trent Valley line services.  These trains will be restored to run between London Euston and Crewe, calling at Milton Keynes, Rugby, then all stations.  This will restore the fast LNW service between Rugby and Euston, including the peak hour non-stop train from Rugby to Euston at 07.11. First train from Rugby to Crewe will be at 05.42, last train back from Crewe at 21.53.
These times apply on Mondays to Fridays.  For the full timetable, see the London Northwestern Railway website.
Avanti West Coast
An important change is, to assist as far as possible with social distancing, passengers are asked to make reservations for all journeys on Avanti West Coast services.  This should be done on-line and reservations can be made up to 5 minutes before departure.  Where it is not possible to reserve in advance, priority will be given to passengers with reservations and you may not be able to travel on the train of your choice.
The at-seat service in first class will remain unavailable. The shop on Pendolino trains (only) will be available as this is effectively a take-away outlet.  First class passengers will be entitled to free snacks from the shop, on presentation of a first class ticket.  However, reusable drink cups will not be accepted.
For further details on Avanti's response to the coronavirus outlet, see the coronavirus page on the Avanti West Coast website.
Train service alterations will include the following:
  • Services between Euston and Birmingham will be increased to two trains per hour.  Of these, the xx.23 from Euston and xx.30 from Birmingham will call at Rugby
  • the 06.45 from Rugby to Glasgow will be restored
  • there will be an additional evening peak train from Euston to Rugby to 17.59.
  • there will be six peak hour trains from Rugby to Euston between 06.03 and 07.30.
For the full timetable, see the special timetable on the Avanti West Coast website.
Please note the engineering work on the direct line between Rugby and Milton Keynes via Weedon will finish on 17 May, following completion of work in Kilsby tunnel.  Fast trains between Euston and Rugby will no longer be diverted via Northampton.

Reduced train services from Monday 23 March due to coronavirus outbreak (updated 13.04.20)

Both Avanti West Coast and London Northwestern Railway will be running reduced train services from Monday 23 March due to the coronavirus outbreak.  These reduced services will apply until further notice.
In summary, the train services at Rugby will be:
  • Avanti West Coast: 1 train per hour between Euston, Milton Keynes, Rugby, Coventry, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Sandwell & Dudley and Wolverhampton.  There will be no additional trains at peak times. The first train from Rugby to Euston will be at 06.49. Apart from a morning service from Holyhead and a couple of late evening trains in each direction, there will be no direct service between Rugby and the North West.
  • London Northwestern Railway Birmingham services. Generally there will be 3 trains per hour between Euston, Northampton, Rugby and stations to Birmingham New Street, with some exceptions. The calling patterns of these trains will be altered, with several trains to / from Birmingham calling only at Coventry and Birmingham International. The first train from Rugby to Birmingham will be at 06.34.
  • London Northwestern Railway Trent Valley services. There will be 1 train per hour between Euston and Crewe via Rugby and the Trent Valley line. Please note that these trains will run via Northampton and call at additional stations between Euston and Rugby until the afternoon, when they will call only at Milton Keynes as per the normal service.
Most trains will run at different times compared with the normal timetable. timetable.  For further details see the Avanti West Coast website and West Midlands Trains website. The full revised Monday to Friday timetable for Avanti West Coast is available here and for London Northwestern Railway is available here.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The timetable for London Northwestern Railway has been further reduced - see above item.

Bus services to station reduced from 30 March (updated 12.04.20)

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, and along with other bus companies, Stagecoach Midlands have reduced the frequency of their bus services with effect from Monday 30 March, with further revisions from Monday 6 April..  From this date, the no. 4 bus, the main route which links Rugby rail station with the town centre, also Brownsover and Bilton, will operate a Sunday service all week (every 20 minutes) with some additional early morning journeys on Mondays to Saturdays for essential workers.  Bus routes nos. 1 and 2, which link the rail station with Central Park and the town centre, will be reduced to an hourly service.
The revised timetable for route 4 is available here, and for routes 1 and 2 is available here.

RRUG gives cautious welcome to HS2 announcement (posted 13.02.20)

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the High Speed Rail Project known as HS2 is to go ahead.  Within a decade, it is hoped the first high speed trains will be running on phase 1 between London and Birmingham.  Phase 2, which will extend services to Manchester and Leeds, is subject to a further review to see where further cost savings can be made, and a decision on this is expected later this year.
For the first few years, the London terminus of HS2 will be at Old Oak Common, from where passengers will have a direct link to both the west end and city of London via the new Crossrail link.  The reason for the delay is that the existing proposals for the new terminus at Euston are not considered satisfactory. A separate body, independent of HS2, will be established to redesign the layout.
The Birmingham terminus will be at Curzon Street, close to the existing Moor Street station.  An extension of the Midland Metro tram to Digbeth, passing Curzon Street, has already been authorised.
Although HS2 will not serve Rugby, many of the long distance trains which run non-stop through Rugby will transfer to the new line.  This will provide much needed additional capacity on the West Coast Main Line, which will give the opportunity for improved services to existing stations.
RRUG therefore gives a cautious welcome to the project, provided that:
  • the opportunity is taken to provide additional train services at Rugby, particularly to and from the North West
  • as a minimum, the existing levels of service and journey times to both London and Birmingham are maintained, and improved if possible
  • disruption due to construction work at Euston is kept to a minimum, with line closures restricted to weekends and holiday periods.
Further details are available in the Department for Transport press release.
In other political news, following the cabinet reshuffle of 13 February, Grant Shapps is to retain his post as Secretary of State for Transport..

London Northwestern stakeholder conference briefing (posted 25.01.20)

A London Northwestern stakeholder conference was held in Milton Keynes on 22 January, at which RRUG was represented.
The presentation slides contain details of the challenges and problems they  face, together with some claimed successes, along with plans for the May and December timetable changes.  The presentation is available here.

New West Coast operator reveals its plans (posted 07.12.19)

First Trenitalia, who take over the franchise for West Coast Main Line services from Virgin Trains on 8 December, have revealed their new trading name and future plans.
The trains will be operated under the name "Avanti West Coast".  Avanti means "Forward" in Italian.  A green and black livery will be used - see picture.
Additional train services will be introduced from December 2022.  These will include an additional train each hour between London and Liverpool.  In total, there will be 263 additional trains each week.  It is not known which, if any, of these will stop at Rugby.  The existing timetable will continue basically unaltered until December 2022.
The diesel Voyager trains will all be withdrawn.  In their place will be 13 new Hitachi 5-car bi-mode (electric / diesel) trains, and 10 7-car electric trains.  The new trains are expected to be similar in appearance to the new Hitachi trains already running on Great Western Railway and LNER.   The Pendolino trains will be refurbished and continue in service.
Rugby station will have new ticket issuing facilities and a first class lounge.
For further details see the First Group press release.

Pendolino in Avanti West Coast livery

                     Pendolino in Avanti West Coast livery

RRUG response to draft Warwickshire County Council Rail Strategy (posted 14.09.2019)

Rugby Rail Users Group has sent a detailed response to Warwickshire County Council's draft Rail Strategy for the next 15 years.  This states that RRUG is broadly in agreement with the council's proposals, while maintaining the importance of good links to London and Birmingham, plus the continuation of the recently improved services to the North directly via the Trent Valley.  We have also stated we support proposals for a through Coventry - Leicester service which, with good connections at Coventry, would provide improved links between Rugby and the East Midlands.
Our full response to the council's proposals is on our Correspondence page, or you can click here for a direct link. The full draft consultation document is available from the Warwickshire County Council website.