Rugby Rail Users Group

The Voice Of Rugby Rail Users


ADVANCE NOTICE:  Francis Thomas to outline West Midlands Trains' future plans at RRUG meeting on Wednesday 26 September (posted 17.06.18)

An RRUG members' meeting will be held on the evening of Wednesday 26 September, time and venue to be confirmed.  The guest speaker will be Francis Thomas, Head of Corporate Affairs for West Midlands Trains.  Together with some support staff, he will give a presentation on future plans for West Midlands Trains, including new trains and service proposals.
Francis has a deep understanding and knowledge of rail services in this area, having previously worked for the London Midland franchise.  We look forward to what he will be telling us about train services in our area in the future.  If you use the trains from Rugby, this will be an event not to be missed!
All RRUG members are welcome to attend.  If you are not yet an RRUG member, you are welcome to attend on payment at the door of the annual subscription of £8.

Closure of London Euston for three weekends this Summer (posted 05.06.18)

We have been advised by Network Rail that there will be no trains to or from London Euston on the following weekends this Summer:
  • 18-19 August
  • 25-27 August
  • 1-2 September
This is in connection with major track works in the Wembley area.
Although we do not yet have any details of revised train services, we expect these to be similar to previous shutdowns of the south end of the West Coast Main Line.  This would mean no Virgin trains south of Milton Keynes, and London Northwestern services turning back at Hemel Hempstead, with replacement coaches from there to Stanmore on the Jubilee line of the Underground.
It is expected that, as usual, Rugby - London tickets will be valid on Chiltern Railways services from Warwick Parkway and Leamington Spa into Marylebone as a recommended alternative route to London.
Further details will be available from the National Rail Journey Planner when these are known.

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.

Virgin Trains West Coast contract extended until at least March 2019 (updated 09.02.18)

The Department for Transport have announced that the franchise with Virgin trains to operate the West Coast Main Line will now continue "at least until March 31 2019".  There is an option for a further extension for up to one year, i.e. to 31 March 2020.  This means that we will have Virgin Trains providing train services at Rugby for up to a further two years.
As a result of this extension, Virgin Trains have announced a package of improvements, including free wi-fi for all passengers.  For details see the Virgin Trains press release.
For further details of the franchise extension, see the Global Rail News item and the DfT announcement.

Fares to rise by an average of 3.4% on 2 January (posted 27.12.17)

The annual fares rise on National Rail services will take effect from 2 January 2018, when fares will rise by an average of 3.4%.  This is in line with the rate of inflation last Summer, as specified by the government.
The 3.4% average applies only to regulated fares, these being mostly saver fares and season tickets.  Train Operating Companies have the freedom to set all other fares, these being advance fares, open fares and other special offers, at whatever they consider to be a commercial rate.
Further details are available from National Rail Enquiries.  You can find your new fare by visiting the National Rail Enquiries Journey Planner and entering details of the journey you intend to make.  For season tickets use the Season Ticket calculator.  If you want to see  a list of all possible fares from a particular station, visit BR

Virgin Trains strikes called off (posted 21.12.17)

The strikes on Virgin Train West Coast, which were to take place on Friday 22 December and four dates in January, have been called off.
On Friday 22 December, Virgin Trains will run a near normal service, but due to the late notification some trains and / or train crew may be in the wrong place resulting in a few cancellations.
We have received the following from Virgin Trains:
Virgin Trains West Coast - Statement
Virgin Trains has confirmed that industrial action affecting its services on 22 December 2017 and 5, 8, 26, 29 January 2018 has been called off.
Phil Whittingham, Managing Director for Virgin Trains on the west coast, said: “We’re pleased that we’ve come to an agreement with the RMT and TSSA unions, and can focus on providing the best possible service to our customers. We’ll do everything we can to run a full service on Friday 22 December, but because the strike has been called off at the last-minute there may be some cancellations. We’ll be working hard to make sure our customers can make it home as quickly and easily as possible for Christmas.”
Virgin Trains recommends customers still check their journey before they travel. This is because the rosters put in place for tomorrow cover roles not affected by this action and will have to be re-drawn. The revised timetable will not be live on our website until the early hours of Friday morning.

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
    • 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.