Rugby Rail Users Group

The Voice Of Rugby Rail Users

News

Avanti West Coast changes its timetable again (posted 14.08.21)

Avanti West Coast say the staffing situation with train crews has improved to the extent they can now restore two trains in each hour from Euston to both Birmingham and Manchester.  As a result, from Monday 16 August, Avanti trains calling at Rugby will revert to the Covid 19 special service that was operating prior to 26 July .  Trains towards Birmingham will generally depart at xx.51 minutes past each hour except at peak times, and to London Euston at xx.22 or thereabouts, again with variations at peak times.  The summary timetables shown on the Current Rugby timetable page of this website will therefore once more apply.
Please note however that the 18.34 from Euston to Manchester will now run non-stop to Rugby arriving at 19.23. It will no longer call at Watford Junction or Milton Keynes Central.
It is now expected trains will continue to operate in similar times until the Principal Timetable Change date on 12 December2021.

Improved bus links to Rugby station (posted 10.08.21)

Stagecoach Midlands are changing some of their bus services in Rugby from Saturday 14 August in order to provide a bus service to Houiton. Changes to bus routes serving the railway station are as follows:
  • Routes 1 & 2.  These routes, running from Central Park to the Town Centre, will be extended along the Hillmorton Road and then via the Hillmorton and Lower Hillmorton loop.
  • Route 86.  This route, running from Coventry to Rugby town centre, will be extended  via the Rail Station and Houlton to DIRFT.
  • Route 96, running from Rugby town centre to Northampton, will be diverted to run via the Rail station and Houlton to DIRFT.
As a result of these changes, there will be two extra buses each hour between the Rail station and Town Centre (routes 86 & 96) as well as new direct links to Hillmorton / Lower Hillmorton (routes 1 & 2), New Bilton / Long Lawford (route 86) and Houlton (routes 86 & 96).
Timetables for these routes, and all other buses in Rugby, are available from the Warwickshire public transport website.

Revised requirements for face coverings (posted 26.07.21)

Government guidance on wearing face coverings has changed, and it is no longer a legal requirement to wear them on public transport in England.  However, it is recommended they are still worn in crowded places on trains and stations, and train companies can impose their own restrictions.  It is still a legal requirement to wear face coverings on public transport in Scotland and Wales, and Transport for London have made it a Condition of Carriage that they are worn on all TfL services (this includes Docklands Light Railway, London Overground and TfL Rail as well as the Underground.)
As far as train services from Rugby are concerned, Avanti West Coast and London Northwestern have issued the following:
Avanti West Coast
In line with government guidance, you are no longer required by law to wear a face covering. However please respect others and, unless exempt, wear a face covering in crowded spaces throughout your journey.
London Northwestern
In line with government guidance, from Monday 19 July you will no longer be required by law to wear a face covering. However, London Northwestern Railway are asking passengers to keep wearing face coverings, unless exempt, as Covid restrictions are eased.
Please note that the requirements are different, in that Avanti West Coast are saying face coverings should be worn if trains or stations are crowded, while London Northwestern are asking that passengers still wear them whatever the conditions are.  Other train companies are also issuing their own guidance, and you are advised to check the requirements on the appropriate train company's website before travelling.

Covid alerts bring further service reductions (updated 25.07.21)

An increase in the number of train crew having to self-isolate following a Covid alert has resulted in fewer staff available to run the train service.  A further reduced timetable will therefore be introduced from Monday 26 July for both Avanti West Coast and London North Western.
Avanti West Coast
Train services will generally revert to the previous lockdown frequencies of hourly on all routes, with a minimal service to Chester and North Wales. As a result, off-peak train services through Rugby will still run approximately hourly but at different times.  Off-peak trains to London will depart at xx.43 and call at Milton Keynes and Watford Junction.  Off-peak trains will return from Euston at xx.35 (or thereabouts) but there will be no train at 12.35. Off -peak trains to Birmingham will depart Rugby at xx.32, but with no train at 13.32.  Trains from Birmingham to Rugby will depart at xx.10.    Most trains to and from Birmingham will continue to Wolverhampton, Crewe and Preston, then alternately to Edinburgh or Blackpool.
There will also be alterations to peak time trains, when the stopping patterns may be altered.
The new timetables for 26 - 30 July are now available on the Avanti West Coast website.  We understand this will be updated weekly, so you are strongly advised to check this before travelling.
London North Western
Most changes to London Northwestern train services will affect stations south of Northampton, and on the Bedford and St Albans branches.  The existing two trains per hour service through Rugby is expected to continue, but with the ever-changing situation you are also advised to check the London Northwestern website for the latest information.
At present it is not known how long these further alterations  will continue, but it is expected to be fat least until Monday 30 August.

New GB rail timetable (posted 03.07.21)

Following the devise of the Great Britain National Rail Timetable, which until recently appeared in printed form published by Middleton Press, a pilot version of a new comprehensive National Rail Timetable is now available in digital form.
This timetable has been produced by Fabrik Communications.  It is clearer to understand and more accurate than the rather poor electronic National Rail Timetable produced by Network Rail and available on the National Rail website.
A link to this new timetable is available here. This link provides access to the station index and individual timetables..

Railways shake up - Williams Review finally published (updated 21.05.21)

The long awaited review into the structure of the railways by Keith Williams has finally been published.  It has been retitled "The Williams Shapps Review" to reflect the government input by the Department for Transport and the Treasury..
Some highlights are as follows:
  • A new public sector body "Great British Railways" will be responsible for overseeing the network and setting timetables and fares.  The functions of Network Rail will be subsumed into this new body.
  • The franchising system will be abolished and replaced by Passenger Service Contracts.  These will be set by Great British Railways who will specify the timetables and fares.  This will work in a similar way  similar to London Overground and Docklands Light Railway, where a private operator provides services to the specification of Transport for London.
  • Most passenger services will be marketed under the Great British Railways name, for which new branding will be devised.  It is expected names like Avanti West Coast and London Northwestern will disappear, although these companies will, initially at least, continue to operate the train services under Passenger Service Contracts.
  • Fares will be set and collected by Great British Railways. The use of digital technology will increase with many tickets being available online, either on your mobile phone or to print at home.  Flexible season tickets, allowing 8 journeys within 28 days, will be introduced.
  • There will be further electrification where this is perceived as the most viable option, with battery or hydrogen powered trains introduced elsewhere, to meet carbon reductions targets
  • Rail travel will be integrated further with other forms of transport to make multi-modal journeys easier.
  • To reflect the expected increase in leisure travel over commuting, train interiors will be updated where possible to better suit this traffic.  Mention is made of getting rid of the "ironing board" seats!
The Williams Shapps Review has been published as a government White Paper, meaning it will form the basis of the necessary legislation to enable the proposed changes.  You can read the full Williams Shapps Report here.

Revised train times for Rugby in May timetable change (posted 06.05.21)

A new special Covid timetable will be introduced for both Avanti West Coast and London Northwestern train services from 17 May.  While there are only minor changes for London Northwestern, Avanti West Coast services at Rugby will be altered to more closely resemble the normal (pre-Covid) service.  Changes to train times for Rugby are summarised below.
Birmingham trains
Train from Rugby to Birmingham at off-peak times will leave at xx.00 (LN), xx36 (LN) and xx.51 (AV).  Trains from Birmingham to Rugby at off-peak times will leave at xx.14 (LN), xx.50 (AV) and xx.53 (LN).  Stopping patterns will generally remain the same.  Some minor alterations will also be made at other times.
London trains
Fast trains from Rugby to London will leave at xx.22 (AV) and xx.53 (LN).  Journey times on Avanti West Coast services to London will be increased by several minutes.  We assume this is in connection with work for East West Rail at Bletchley and HS2 at Euston.
Fast trains from London to Rugby will leave at xx.46 (LN) and xx.59 (AV).  In the evening peak, the 17.33 from Euston will now run only on Fridays, meaning there will be a gap in Avanti trains from London to Rugby from 17.00 to 18.03 on other days.  Journey times on Avanti West Coast services will be increased by a few minutes, mainly to allow for a stop at Watford Junction.
Through trains to the North West
The same services as at present will apply with a few minor timing changes, and the following additional trains:
  • 11.25 from Rugby to Crewe and Chester
  • 20.42 arrival from Blackpool, which runs via Birmingham.
A summary of peak time trains between Rugby and Birmingham, also between Rugby and London is shown on the Current Rugby timetable page of this website, where there is also a summary of through trains between Rugby and the North West.

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.

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.