Rugby Rail Users Group

The Voice Of Rugby Rail Users

News Archive

Your chance to see the plans for Coventry station redevelopment (updated 11.12.17)

Coventry Rail Users Group have advised us of an opportunity to see the plans for the redevelopment of Coventry station.  This event, sponsored by Coventry City Council, will take place on Tuesday 12 December at the Council House in Earl Street.starting at 18.30.   Please go to the main reception desk who will direct you to the allocated meeting room  Please note change of venue.
We understand that the plans include a second footbridge across the tracks and a new entrance in Warwick Road, as well as a bay platform for the Nuneaton shuttle.
This event is open to the public.  All are welcome to attend.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Steam train at Rugby - Saturday 25 November (posted 13.11.17)

A special steam train hauled by the steam locomotive 'Tornado' will call at Rugby on Saturday 25 November.  On the outward journey, it will stop at Rugby for water from 10.08 to 10.29.  On the return journey it will stop at Rugby from 20.32 to 20.34 (in the dark).  The train is a special charter train organised by UK Rail Tours from London Euston to Chester.  It only calls at Rugby for operational purposes, and is not available to passengers joining or alighting.

See here for the full timings.

_________________________________________________________________

Annual General Meeting and Members' Meeting this Wednesday 4 October (updated 03.10.17)

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.

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.

 __________________________________________________________________

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.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

No trains to London Euston this coming weekend (updated 21.08.17)

No trains will run from Rugby to London Euston on Saturday and Sunday of 26 and 27 August.  This is due to the commissioning of a new power supply at London Euston and preparatory work for the new high speed rail line (HS2).

Special services will be in operation with Virgin Trains from the north terminating at Rugby or Milton Keynes, and London Midland trains not running south of Hemel Hempstead.  If you are travelling to London on 26 or 27 August, you are advised to travel by Chiltern Railways from Warwick Parkway / Leamington Spa to London Marylebone, on which Rugby - London tickets will be valid..  However, if you do not already have a ticket to travel on these dates, you might find it cheaper to buy a Chiltern Railways ticket for your journey on their services.

A revised train service will be in operation between Rugby, Birmingham and the north in consequence of these works.

On Monday 28 August a reduced train service will operate to and from London Euston until 12.00, after which a normal bank holiday service will operate.

For further details see the National Rail website, the Virgin Trains website and the London Midland website.

_______________________________________________________________

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.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Members' meeting Wednesday 5 July - your chance to put your questions to Virgin Trains' managers (posted 27.06.17)

Rugby Rail Users Group is holding a meeting with managers from Virgin Trains at The Claremont Centre (Age UK), Clifton Road, Rugby on Wednesday 5th July, starting at 7.00 pm.

This will be your chance to question managers from Virgin Trains about the running of Rugby station, so if you have any issues that concern you this will be your chance to talk directly to those responsible for operating the station.

The meeting is open to all RRUG members, but if you are not already a member and would like to come, you can join RRUG at the door for the membership fee of £8.  Further details are shown in the RRUG press release.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

 __________________________________________________________________

Rail fares increased by an average of 2.3%  (updated 02.01.17)

Rail fares increased by an average of 2.3% from 2 January.  Regulated fares, which basically means saver tickets and season tickets, are restricted to a maximum 1.9% increase.  All other fares, such as open tickets and advance tickets are unregulated and Train Operating Companies are free to set the rates for these as they choose.

For further details see the announcement on the National Rail website.  To check your new season ticket price, use the season ticket calculator.  Other fares can be obtained by planning a journey on the National Rail Journey Planner, or to see a list of all possible fares for any particular journey see the BR Fares.com website.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Strike threat on London Midland called off (posted 02.02.17)

The threat of industrial action by London Midland conductors has been called off, following the company's agreement to stop using contracted security staff on its trains.

For further details see the BBC News item.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Strike threat on London Midland (posted 26.01.17)

The Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) are to ballot London Midland conductors on strike action.  This is in connection with the introduction of security staff on London Midland trains.  The possible effect on London Midland services is not yet known but if the strike action goes ahead it is likely to cause substantial disruption. Steve Helfet of London Midland has contacted us with this message:

"I am making contact with you as you may have seen a recent announcement by the RMT that they are balloting Senior Conductors at London Midland.

The issue is the introduction of security contractors on certain trains. The use of security contractors is commonplace across the rail industry. We have had contractors supporting our colleagues on trains out of Liverpool and across the West Midlands for three years.
The extra security contractors were deployed in December. This has come as a direct result of incidents of anti-social behaviour and vandalism, and requests from colleagues and customers for additional security.
We are very disappointed that the RMT is threatening to disrupt our passengers’ journeys. We have made it clear to the RMT from the very beginning that this is about the safety and security of our colleagues and customers.
We introduced additional security contractors based on feedback from front-line staff and passengers. The security contractors are in addition to the senior conductors and have different duties. This is about safety – as we have told the RMT many times, we have no intention of removing conductors from our trains.
If you would like to know more about this or any other issue relating to London Midland’s services please do not hesitate to contact me."
We will provide further updates when additional information becomes available.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Trial of former Underground train on Coventry - Nuneaton line cancelled due to fire (updated 09.01.17)

A prototype diesel train, which has been converted from former London Underground 'D' stock, was set to be trialled on the Coventry - Nuneaton line later in 2017.  The new train is formed of three coaches and would therefore increase capacity from the single car diesel train which operates at present.

Unfortunately this train suffered a fire at Kenilworth on 30 December while carrying out a test run.  As a result, the trial on the Nuneaton - Coventry line, which was due to start next month, has been cancelled.  This is because, by the time the incident has been investigated and any necessary modifications made,  there will be insufficient time to evaluate the train in passenger service before the London Midland franchise ends in October.  For further details see the BBC News item and the Vivarail website.

December timetable changes now in operation (updated 18.12.16)

The new National Rail Timetable started on Sunday December 11.  The principal changes affect London Midland services, arising from an agreement associated with the extension of the London Midland franchise.  The following service improvements have been made to London Midland services from the timetable change on December 11.

Trent Valley line evening services.  Two additional evening services on the Trent Valley line will run at 19.46 and 20.46 from London Euston.  These run fast from Euston to Rugby calling only at Milton Keynes, and then serve the normal Trent Valley line stations.

Earlier Sunday train to Birmingham. On Sunday mornings there is an earlier first train  from Rugby to Birmingham at 08.52.  This will call at Coventry, Tile Hill, Birmingham International and Marston Green.  This train will be the existing 09.42 Birmingham to Liverpool starting back from Rugby, and will provide a welcome alternative to the often overcrowded existing first train at 09.48.

Other timetable changes.  There are no other major changes to either London Midland or Virgin Trains services. The additional Virgin Train services between Rugby and the North West which were introduced in May continue to run.  There are, however, some minor retimings of a few minutes to some trains, in particular arrivals at Rugby of trains from Birmingham.

The Current Rugby Timetable page contains a summary of peak time trains to Birmingham and London, plus a summary of all through trains between Rugby and the North West.  The National Rail Journey Planner contains the full timetables which operate from the December 11 timetable change. 

_________________________________________________________________

New West Coast franchisee to be responsible for initial services on HS2 (posted 04.11.16)

The Department for Transport has announced that the successful bidder for the new West Coast franchise will also have the responsibility for providing the initial services on the new High Speed 2 (HS2) line from 2026.  The new franchise will be known as the West Coast Partnership and will start on 1 April 2019.  It will include "three to five years of the operation of HS2", meaning that the length of the new franchise could be for up to 12 years.  This means that the existing franchise, currently run by Virgin Trains, will now have to be extended to 31 March 2019.

We understand that the purpose of this arrangement is to avoid competition between HS2 and the West Coast Main Line, at least for stage 1 of the HS2 project.  Further details are available in the DfT announcement and the written statement from Paul Maynard, the Rail Minister.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Renewal of West Midlands rail franchise - invitation to tender issued by DfT (posted 30.08.16)

The Department for Transport (DfT) has issued the invitation to tender for the new West Midlands franchise, covering train services currently provided by London Midland.  This affects train services between Rugby and London (but not those provided by Virgin trains), as well as stopping trains to Birmingham, Northampton and Crewe.

The Invitation to Tender document sets out the minimum requirements.  Potential bidders have the option to increase this.  The principal change in the specification appears to be that the Trent Valley stopping service will now run direct between Stafford and Crewe, and a new service will run from Birmingham and Wolverhampton to Crewe via Stoke as a replacement.  This would give faster services between Rugby and Crewe, albeit with stopping trains, which has been something for which RRUG has been campaigning for some time.

Other promised benefits include:

  • free Wi-Fi on all main line services by the end of 2019
  • new ticket options for part time travellers which provide better value options for customers who travel fewer than 5 days a week
  • new direct peak time services between Walsall and London
  • longer peak time trains into Birmingham and London to give space for an extra 20,000 commuters.

The two potential operators are GoVia (the existing operator trading as London Midland) and Abellio.  These have until 29 November to submit their bids for consideration.  It is intended the new franchise will start in October 2017.

For further details see the Invitation to tender document.

__________________________________________________________________

RRUG responds to West Coast franchise consultation (posted 02.08.16)

Rugby Rail Users Group has commented in some detail on the franchise consultation document for the new West Coast Main Line franchise.  RRUG members who have logged in to this site can see the full response on  the Correspondence page of this website.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

New through trains to the North West now in operation (updated 16.05.16)

The two new daytime trains linking Rugby with the North West direct via the Trent Valley line started on Monday 16 May.

These trains, which run on Mondays to Saturdays, are as follows:

  • 13.04 to Crewe and Chester.  A good connection is available at Crewe for stations to Preston, Carlisle and Glasgow Central, arriving 17.17.
  • 10.40 from Glasgow Central, calling at Carlisle, stations to Preston and Warrington, then direct to Rugby arriving 14.23.

Rugby Rail Users Group has been pushing hard for such trains for a number of years.  We encourage you to use them to help show there is demand for them, and strengthen the case for more such services in future.

For a summary of all through trains between Rugby and the North West click here.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Increase in car parking charges (updated 25.08.16)

Virgin Trains have announced substantial increases in car parking charges at Rugby station, which will take place on 5th September.

Details of the increases are available here.

RRUG has issued a press release, which can be seen on the Press Releases page.  Mark Pawsey, our MP, has also taken the matter up directly with Virgin Trains - see the Rugby Observer news item.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Virgin reduce super off-peak fares to London (posted 18.05.16)

Virgin Trains have advised us they have slightly reduced their super off-peak fares to London.  A super off-peak single is now £31, and a super off-peak return is now £32.  These are walk-up fares with no advance booking necessary.

Full details of these and all other fares from Rugby area available from the BR Fares.com website, but a summary of the availability of these super off-peak tickets is as follows:

Monday to Friday - outward

Valid only on Virgin trains arriving Euston between 13.00 and 15.20, or after 20.30.

Monday to Friday - return

Valid only on Virgin trains leaving Euston between 11.00 and 13.40, or after 20.15.

Saturday and Sunday - outward

Valid only on Virgin trains arriving Euston between 12.000 and 17.45 or after 20.00

Saturday and Sunday - return

Valid only on Virgin trains leaving Euston between 10.30 and 16.30 or after 18.30.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bike Hubs now open at Rugby station (posted 04.05.16)

Two bike hubs are now open on platforms 2 and 4 at Rugby station.  You will have to pay to use them, but your bike will be stored securely.

A copy of the leaflet showing their location is available here.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

London Midland franchise extension brings improvements (updated 10.05.15)

London Midland have been granted a franchise extension which means they will continue to run train services throughout the West Midlands and on the West Coast Main Line until October 2017.

As far as Rugby is concerned, the following improvements will be made:

  • two additional weekday evening services on the Trent Valley line
  • an earlier train to Birmingham on Sunday mornings.

We understand London Midland are hoping to introduce these improvements from the December 2016 timetable.

For further details see the DfT press release.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Coventry Arena and Bermuda Park stations now open  (updated 10.05.16)

The new stations at Coventry Arena and Bermuda Park on the Coventry to Nuneaton line are now open. For the time being, these stations will be served by the existing hourly train service, pending further line improvements which would enable a more frequent service to be run.

The timetable for this line already included sufficient allowance for the stops at these two stations so it has not been altered.  However, Coventry Arena station will close for an hour after Wasps Rugby matches, Coventry City football matches and other events at the Ricoh Arena, as the existing single coach train will not be able to cope with the expected crowds.  London Midland say they do not have sufficient rolling stock to lengthen trains and that this situation will continue unless the organisers of events are prepared to charter special longer trains.  Despite a trial on a couple of Saturdays with hired-in trains, these did not prove sufficiently viable to continue.  This situation is unlikely to change for a couple of years, after which a rolling stock cascade caused by electrification elsewhere could result in some extra trains for London Midland becoming available.

For further information see the London Midland press release.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Mill Road partially closed until 20 June (posted 26.05.16)

In connection with water main works by Severn Trent Water, Mill Road is closed between Technology Drive and Butlers Leap until 20 June inclusive.  If you are coming to the station from the Brownsover or Clifton areas, you will need to find an alternative route.

Because of this road closure, bus route 10 and 12 will be diverted to run via Clifton Road and Butlers Leap to Boughton Road, and will not serve the railway station until the work is complete.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

RRUG response to franchise consultations (posted 30.03.16)

Rugby Rail Users Group has responded to two consultation documents concerning future franchises.

We have stated in our response to the West Midlands franchise consultation that our priority is for better connections to the North West and Scotland.  While our priority is for more fast trains to provide this service, we would also prefer the Trent Valley local service to run direct between Stafford and Crewe to provide faster journey opportunities by this route.  We also have expressed our concerns about the poor toilet facilities on thee London Midland class 350 trains, and do not approve of the suggestion that toilet facilities on these trains should be reduced to provide more passenger capacity.

As far as the Wales & Borders franchise consultation is concerned, we have stated our belief that the through services between Birmingham, the Cambrian Coast and North wales should be retained, and not split at Shrewsbury as has been proposed.

RRUG members who have logged in can see the consultation responses on the Correspondence page.

_________________________________________________________________

Trains to the North -  RRUG campaign scores a partial success (updated 08.03.16)

After an RRUG campaign which has lasted several years, Virgin Trains have told us they will provide an off-peak train between Rugby and the North West  from the start of the Summer timetable on 16 May.  This will be achieved by putting a Rugby stop in existing services as follows:

Mondays to Fridays

12:10 London Euston to Chester.  Rugby stop added (depart 13.04)

10:40 Glasgow Central to London Euston.  Rugby stop added (depart 14.24)

Saturdays

12:10 London Euston to Chester.  Rugby stop added (depart 13.05)

10:40 Glasgow Central to London Euston.  Rugby stop added (depart 14.24)

Although only one train in each direction, it is a welcome change of heart by Virgin Trains and, if well used, might open up the possibility of more trains in future.

For further details see the Virgin Trains announcement..  RRUG has also issued a press release about this improvement, and the Rugby Advertiser has issued a news item.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

London Midland business update (posted 10.02.16)

The February business update from London Midland is available here.

No changes in December timetable (posted 02.12.15)

The new National Rail timetable starts on Sunday 13 December 2015.   As far as Rugby is concerned, the train services serving the station are unaltered, apart from a few minor retimings of a minute or two to a few trains.

A summary of the new peak time services to Birmingham is available  here, and to London here.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

New Rugby Rail Operations Centre opens (posted 17.11.15)

The new Rail Operations Centre (ROC) in Rugby was officially opened by Councillor Michael Stokes, Leader of Rugby Council, on 11 November.  RRUG was fortunate in being able to send two members to represent the group at this event.

This new facility will eventually be responsible for the signalling and control of trains for much of the southern end of the West Coast Main Line,  At present only the Stafford area is controlled from the new ROC, with the new layout at Norton Bridge due to come on stream in the New Year.  The signalling of trains through the Rugby area will continue to be controlled by the Signalling Control Centre (SCC) for a while yet.

For further details see the Network Rail press release and the Rugby Observer news item..

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

London Midland stakeholder update (posted 11.11.15)

The November stakeholder update from London Midland is available here.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

9-car Pendolinos now have one first class coach converted to standard class (updated 09.11.15)

To provide additional standard class seating on its 9-car Pendolinos, Virgin Trains have converted the existing first class coach G to Standard class. New seating and décor has been installed, along with the necessary revised signage. The converted coach is lettered 'F' to bring it into line with standard class identification. These changes apply to 9-car trains only - all 11-car Pendolinos will retain the existing three and a half first class coaches.

As a result of this, coach 'H' in first class is no longer a quiet coach. This will apply to both 9-car and 11-car trains for uniformity.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

New Rugby Parkway station proposed (posted 15.10.15)

Warwickshire County Council has approved plans for a new railway station to be built off the A428 road near Hillmorton. The station would be called Rugby Parkway and would serve the new sustainable development being built on the radio mast site as well as DIRFT. People living to the east of Rugby would also benefit by having a more convenient station.

Two platforms would be built on the Northampton lines, linked by a footbridge, and there would be parking for 260 cars and a bus lay-by. The station would be served by trains on the Rugby - Northampton line, running two or three times an hour each way, i.e. the existing service. This would provide direct links to Coventry, Birmingham, Northampton, Milton Keynes and London. We understand that funding is dependent on a government grant from the next round of the New Stations Fund.

The approved plan is for platforms on the Northampton lines only, so Virgin Trains would not stop at the new station and are unaffected by the scheme.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Virgin Trains maintains its position on peak time fares with railcards (posted 06.10.15)

On 6 September Virgin Trains withdrew the concession whereby off-peak tickets bought with some railcards were valid on peak-time train services. Following public protest and a petition against this, RRUG wrote to Virgin Trains expressing our disapproval of the change. We have now received a reply, basically stating that it was a concession which was not a franchise requirement and all they have done is to bring the situation into line with all the other Train Operating Companies. This reply is available here.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Virgin Trains introduces 'Automatic delay repay' compensation scheme (posted 04.10.15)

Virgin Trains has introduced a scheme whereby holders of some tickets will be automatically compensated when their Virgin Train on the West Coast Main Line has been delayed by more than 30 minutes. The scheme will only apply when all of the following conditions have been met:

  • the journey is with Virgin Trains on the West Coast Mainline and your train has been delayed for more than 30 minutes
  • the transaction has been processed through www.virgintrains.com or the Virgin Trains app. Payment made through any other website or app., even though the journey is on a Virgin Train, will not qualify as Virgin Trains will not have a record of the payment details
  • the ticket is an Advance Ticket types where a specific train has been booked. – A seat reservation is not enough – the travel ticket itself must be for a specific train.
  • where Virgin Trains can be confident in the level of delay encountered. Therefore, where your journey also involves other train operators you will not be eligible for Automatic Delay Repay.

For any journey that does not meet all of the above conditions, you will still be able to claim compensation but will have to do this in the normal way as you will not receive it automatically.

Where all the above conditions have been met, you will initially receive an e-mail telling you you will be compensated for the delay, followed a few days later by the pay4ent being credited to the account you used to buy the ticket.

There is an obvious message here in that if you are booking in advance for a journey on a Virgin Train on the West Coast Main Line, you should do this through virgintrains.com or the Virgin Trains app, and not through Trainline or any other website.

For further details see the Virgin Trains press release

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Changes to bus services to and from Rugby station (updated 24.11.15

Stagecoach Midlands have revised their bus routes which serve Rugby station. The routeing of service 4 and services 10/12 between the station and Brownsover / Central Park has been reversed, so that route 4 operates via Technology Drive and Tesco, and routes 10 and 12 operate via Boughton Road. Also, services 10 and 12 have been extended into the new Rugby Gateway development close to junction 1 of the M6.

As a result of the changes, there is now a bus service between Rugby town centre, the railway station, Technology Drive and Elliots Field every 12 minutes on Mondays to Saturdays, and every 20 minutes on Sundays. These changes are principally in connection with the phased opening of the new Elliots Field retail park and the new retail park on Technology Drive. All stores in the first phase of the Elliots Field development are now open.

The new timetable for route 4 is available here, and for routes 10 and 12 available here.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Changes to bus services to and from Rugby station (updated 02.09.15)

Stagecoach Midlands have announced changes to their bus routes which serve Rugby station. From 5 September, the routing of service 4 and services 10/12 between the station and Brownsover / Central Park will be reversed, so that route 4 operates via Technology Drive and Tesco, and routes 10 and 12 operate via Boughton Road. At the same time, services 10 and 12 will be extended into the new Rugby Gateway development close to junction 1 of the M6.

As a result of the changes, there will be a bus service between Rugby town centre, the railway station, Technology Drive and Elliots Field every 12 minutes on Mondays to Saturdays, and every 20 minutes on Sundays. These changes are principally in connection with the phased opening of the new Elliots Field retail park and the new retail park on Technology Drive. The Next store is already open, Debenhams is planned to open on Thursday 3rd September and other stores will be opening progressively, with Marks & Spencer the last to open on 18th November.

The new timetable for service 4 is available here. The new timetables for services 10 and 12 are not yet available from Stagecoach Midlands (the link on their website is to the old timetable).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virgin Trains withdraw off-peak tickets with railcards on peak time trains (updated 02.09.15)

Virgin Trains have announced that, from 6 September, off-peak tickets bought with railcards will no longer be valid on peak time trains.

They have produced a short question and answer sheet, which is available here.

Disappointing though this is, Virgin Trains are only falling into line with other Train Operating Companies, which already prohibit off-peak tickets bought with railcards from being used on peak time trains. However, this will cause increases of over 100% in some cases, with holders of young person’s railcards travelling to college or work particularly severely hit. A petition against the changes, which has been set up by Georgia May of Rugby, is available here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Guest Pass system for when Rugby station has ticket gates (posted 25.08.15)

Work continues to provide automatic ticket gates for Rugby station, which should be commissioned on 30th September. When this happens, Welcome Hosts will be available to help passengers to use the gates.

We have also heard from Virgin Trains that they will be introducing a Guest Pass system for meeters and greeters and, apparently, for local residents using the underpass as a means of access to and from the town centre. These passes will be handed out by the Welcome Hosts to people who have a valid reason to be on the station but will not be travelling.

The information we have received from Virgin Trains is as follows:

GATING SCHEME AT RUGBY STATION

"I am writing to update you on the plans for new Automatic Ticket Gates (ATG) in the underpass at Rugby Station. Preparatory work is being carried out for their installation, ahead of the planned launch date of 30th September.

Gating at Rugby station is part of a wider franchise commitment to introduce gate lines at a number of stations along the West Coast Main Line. The aim of the scheme is to improve the customer experience of those using the trains, prepare for smart card functionality, and address the significant problem of ticketless travel.

A hundred new jobs will be created to support the introduction of gating, with seven new Welcome Hosts due to start at Rugby in the coming weeks. In addition to overseeing the Gate Lines the Welcome Hosts will be there to meet and greet customers, acting as ambassadors for Rugby.

To address some of the concerns raised in consultation with local stakeholders, we have decided to implement a Guest Pass system which will allow non-rail users, with valid reasons, access through the underpass. Our new Welcome Hosts can’t wait to get started and will be there to hand out the Guest Passes and ensure that people use the system responsibly. This could be for example for families wanting to wave off relatives or residents heading into the town centre or home.

As an important stakeholder who has taken an active role in the station and the gating proposals, we would be more than happy to take you through the plans once more to hear your feedback, and are available to meet whenever is convenient."

Richard Stanton

Communications Manager
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virgin Trains stakeholder newsletter (posted 25.08.15)

The latest Virgin Trains stakeholder newsletter is available here.

It includes details, among other things, of
• station ticket gates and the new Welcome Hosts which will be associated with them
• withdrawal of off-peak fares with railcards on peak time trains (see above item)
• Wi-Fi at stations, and
• minor changes to the interior of Voyager trains.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Open access finally agreed for West Coast Main Line (posted 08.08.15)

After several unsuccessful attempts, Alliance Rail Holdings have finally been given permission to run a service of 6 trains a day between London and Blackpool via the West Coast Main Line. This follows the granting of a Track Access Agreement by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). The new service, which is scheduled to start in 2018 will, unfortunately, not call at Rugby but some services will call at Nuneaton, Tamworth and Lichfield. It remains to be seen whether there will be any feasible connections for Rugby passengers into or from these trains at Nuneaton. Other calling points will be Crewe, Preston, Kirkham & Wesham and Poulton-le-Fylde.

The new service will be marketed as "Great North Western Railway" which will be part of Deutsche Bahn. It will use new "mini-Pendolinos" which we understand will be 6-car trains and able to run at 125 mph as do the existing Virgin Trains Pendolinos. The London terminus is likely to be Queen's Park at least initially, as there may not be room for these additional trains at Euston during the rebuilding work for HS2. Queen's Park has connections for Central London via the Bakerloo Line, and also directly to Euston by using London Overground services.

For further details see the ORR decision letter.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland rolling stock changes (updated 08.08.15)

London Midland have advised that, in connection with the extension of their franchise from September 2015 to June 2017 and the associated rolling stock leasing arrangements, the class 321 trains will not be available for the extended franchise. This means that, from September 2015, the services normally worked by class 321 trains will be taken over by class 319 trains, or be replaced by redeploying some class 350 units.

This should only affect the services currently worked by class 321s, namely Tring - Euston and Watford - St Albans, plus some peak hour Northampton - Euston trains. This change should therefore have no effect on trains serving Rugby although occasional out of course working could mean a class 319 working a train that serves Rugby.

The class 319 trains will come from Thameslink, where they are currently being replaced by new class 387 trains. It is expected they will be repainted in London Midland livery and given some minor refurbishment before being used by London Midland. These trains date from the 1980s and will be older than the class 321s they replace.

London Midland currently has six class 321 trains, but there will be only four replacement class 319 trains. The shortfall is to be addressed by more intensive use of the class 350 fleet.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

9-car Pendolinos to have one first class coach converted to standard class (posted 02.07.15)

To provide additional standard class seating on its 9-car Pendolinos, Virgin Trains are converting the existing first class coach G to Standard class. New seating and décor will be installed, along with the necessary revised signage. The converted coach will then be lettered 'F' to bring it into line with standard class identification. These changes will apply to 9-car trains only - all 11-car Pendolinos will retain the existing three and a half first class coaches.

As a result of this, coach 'H' in first class will no longer be a quiet coach. This will apply to both 9-car and 11-car trains for uniformity.

For further details see the Virgin Trains press release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Change to off-peak tickets to Euston on Virgin Trains (posted 15.06.15)

Virgin Trains have altered the restrictions on the use of off-peak tickets from Rugby, so that these tickets are now additionally available on the 10.23 from Rugby to London Euston. However, if you intend using this train be aware that it is normally only a 5-car Voyager, so seats will be limited.

The full restrictions for off-peak tickets on Virgin Trains is available here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virgin Trains stakeholder newsletter (posted 08.06.15)

The June issue of Virgin Trains stakeholder newsletter is available here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Work starts on ticket barriers for Rugby station (posted 08.08.15)

Work has now started to install ticket barriers at both entrances to Rugby station. The installation of barrier gates at stations served by Virgin Trains is a franchise commitment agreed with the Department of Transport (DfT) as part of a franchise extension deal. There will be staff on duty to assist at times when the gates are in operation, but at quiet times the gates may be left open with no staff in attendance.

RRUG had a meeting with Virgin Trains about barrier provision in October 2014. The notes of this meeting are available here, and we wait to see whether the issues raised at that meeting will be satisfactorily addressed.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Latest London Midland business update (posted 14.05.15)

The May 2015 London Midland business update is available for download here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Park your bike securely - a plea from the BTP (posted 13.03.15)

The British Transport Police (BTP) have asked that cyclists leaving their bicycles at Rugby station should park them securely. In particular, cyclists are asked to
• use a good quality securing device, and
• use only the cycle storage on platforms 2 and 4, and not use the rack at the front of the station.
A good quality securing device is one which cannot be easily cut through with bolt cutters. As a rough guide, the securing device should cost at least 10% of the value of the bicycle.

The cycle rack at the front of the station is the greatest cause of crime around the station. It has no CCTV coverage and is poorly illuminated at night. As a result, it is very easy for bicycles to be stolen from this rack undetected and there are several unresolved crimes relating to thefts from this area. There are far fewer instances of cycle theft from platforms 2 and 4 which have much better surveillance, and the offenders concerned have nearly all been apprehended and charged.

So if you want your bicycle to still be there when you come to collect it, please follow the above guidance from our local transport police.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trouble on the trains or stations? - text the BTP on 61016 (posted 12.03.15)

The British Transport Police (BTP) have a number with which you can use your mobile phone to text and discreetly report incidents on trains or stations. So if you become aware of an incident such as anti-social behaviour or vandalism, and this does not require an emergency response, you can discreetly text the details to 61016 and the BTP will respond to the incident. Remember to include in your text the station or train affected.

For incidents that require an immediate response you should continue to dial 999.

The discreet text scheme was launched in March 2013 and is considered to be a great success. For further information see the BTP news item.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland stakeholder briefings (posted 03.05.15)

London Midland have issued stakeholder briefings for both West Coast and West Midlands services, which are available by downloading the presentations from the following links:

West Coast stakeholder briefing
West Midlands stakeholder briefing
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mill Road car park increased charges (posted 03.05.15)

We have been advised that the charge for the independent car park in Mill Road (on the left as you drive away from the station) has been increased to £12 per day. There are no reduced rates for off-peak or part-day parking.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bicycle security marking and servicing event - 22 and 30 July (updated 22.07.15)

The British Transport Police are holding a "cycle security marking and servicing event" at Rugby station on Wednesday 22 and Thursday 30 July, from 1730 to 2100 each day. Cyclists will be entitled to a free service of their machines upon proof of making at least three train journeys. They will also be able to purchase a "D" lock for their bicycles.

For further details see the Warwickshire County Council press release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LM stakeholder update of Watford closure over Easter(posted 10.04.15)

London Midland have issued a stakeholder update on the work at Watford over the Easter weekend, which is available here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Passenger Focus rail satisfaction figures (posted 02.02.15)

Passenger Focus have published the latest scores showing satisfaction with rail journeys. These include both satisfaction with facilities at the station where the journey starts and on the train, plus satisfaction with how delays were handled. The scores and associated information are available here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland January business newsletter (posted 10.01.15)

The latest business newsletter from London Midland is available here. It includes a summary of the December timetable changes, details of a special offer giving 15% off advance fares and information on forthcoming line closures at Watford.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alternative car parking (updated 02.02.15)

The independent car park on the west side of Mill Road (i.e. on the left as you drive away from the station) is now known as 'Mill Road Parking' and is no longer run by Gary Ponder. We understand the daily parking charge is £7. This is currently more expensive than the Virgin Trains car parks, which charge £6 Monday to Friday, £3 at weekends. The car wash facility at the Mill Road car park remains in use.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virgin car park charges increased from 1st February (posted 02.02.15)

Car parking charges at the three Virgin car parks at Rugby station were increased with effect from Sunday 1st February. The new charges are:
• Peak times: £6.00 per day
• Off-peak (after 11.00) £4.00 per day
• Weekends £3.00 per day
• Weekly season £24.00
Charges for longer periods are available from the station.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No trains to London over the Easter weekend (posted 20.03.15)

Further major engineering work to renew track and signalling in the Watford area, and also to replace the Orphanage Road underbridge just south of the station, will take place over the Easter weekend. This will affect all lines in the Watford area (except for the local London Overground line) and as a result there will be no train services from Rugby to London Euston from Friday 3rd April to Monday 6th April inclusive.

Virgin trains to and from the north will terminate at Milton Keynes or Rugby. London Mildand will run a limited service as far south as Hemel Hempstead, from where there will be replacement bus services to Edgware London Underground station on the Northern Line. If you have to travel to London over the Easter weekend, you are recommended to travel from Warwick Parkway or Leamington Spa into Marylebone. For those of you living to the north or east of Rugby, you might find it easier to use the East Midlands Trains services from Market Harborough or Kettering. If you already have a ticket, it will be accepted on these alternative services. If you have yet to buy your ticket, it might be cheaper to pay for the journey you are actually making, rather than use a Rugby - London ticket.

Please note specially that on this occasion there will be no alternative Virgin Trains service between Euston and the West Midlands via the Chiltern line.

For further information please see the National Rail website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notice of RRUG AGM and plea for assistance (updated 07.02.15)

The Annual General Meeting of Rugby Rail Users Group will take place on Wednesday 11th March 2015 at Age UK Warwickshire, The Claremont Centre, 43 Clifton Road, Rugby, CV21 3QE. The AGM will be preceded by a Members' Meeting for which doors open at 19.15 for a 19.30 start.

The Members' Meeting will have a local focus particularly relating to Rugby station. We shall have guest speaker Helen Reid, Rugby Station Manager from Virgin Trains. We have also invited a representative from British Transport Police who now have a base at Rugby station.

The Annual General Meeting will then follow at about 20.45. Rugby Rail Users Group is looking for help from regular travellers to assist in both an official and unofficial capacity with the Group's work. Over the years some of the committee have ceased travelling regularly on the railway and we are looking to replace this with input from present day commuters. This could be either as members of the committee or in a less official way assisting with various projects the group is working on. If you feel you would be able to assist us, please e-mail secretary@rugbyrailusersgroup.org.uk to advise us of how you could help. For further information see this document.

All RRUG members are welcome to attend both the Members' Meeting and the AGM. If you are not an RRUG member but would like to attend, you can join at the door for the annual membership fee of £5.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Watford track closures cancelled in February (updated 12.02.15)

The planned closures of the West Coast Main Line at Watford, which were scheduled for 14/15 and 21/22 February have been cancelled. Through trains between Rugby and London Euston will now be able to run on these dates, although London Midland have announced they will be running a special timetable. However, the National Rail Journey Planner still wrongly shows the line as blocked and the replacement services, although this is expected to be updated within the next few days.

This is because the landslip at Harbury, between Banbury and Leamington Spa, has closed the alternative route between London and the West Midlands for several weeks. Passengers and freight traffic which normally use the Chiltern route are being diverted via Watford and the West Coast Main Line. The landslip also means that the alternative Virgin train service between London and the West Midlands via the Chiltern line would be unable to run.

Network Rail have yet to announce when the line closures at Watford will be rescheduled to take place. At present it is expected the planned closures over the Easter period will still take place, even though this would mean no Virgin shuttle service from London via the Chiltern line.

See also Network Rail's engineering works and service alterations page and the Virgin Trains and London Midland press releases.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No trains to London on 14/15 and 21/22 February (posted 02.02.15)

Further work to renew track and signalling in the Watford area, plus the renewal of Orphanage Road underbridge, will take place on Saturday and Sunday, 14 and 15 February, and also on 21 and 22 February. This work will mean no London Midland trains south of Hemel Hempstead and no Virgin Trains south of Milton Keynes.

This work is part of Network Rail's ongoing programme to replace outdated equipment in the Watford area. Passengers wishing to travel between Rugby and London on these dates are advised to use the Chiltern Railways services from Leamington Spa or East Midlands services from Market Harborough or Kettering, on which routes Rugby - London tickets will be accepted.

Revised timetables for both Virgin Trains and London Midland will be in operation on these dates on the sections of line which will remain open. If you are travelling on these dates you can use the National Rail Journey Planner which contains details of the revised train services, and see also the future engineering work website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
9-car Pendolinos to have one first class coach converted to standard class (updated 02.07.15)

To provide additional standard class seating on its 9-car Pendolinos, Virgin Trains are converting the existing first class coach G to Standard class. New seating and décor will be installed, along with the necessary revised signage. The converted coach will then be lettered 'F' to bring it into line with standard class identification. These changes will apply to 9-car trains only - all 11-car Pendolinos will retain the existing three and a half first class coaches.

As a result of this, coach 'H' in first class will no longer be a quiet coach. This will apply to both 9-car and 11-car trains for uniformity.

RRUG meets Virgin about ticket barriers at Rugby (posted 11.11.14)

Three members of RRUG met with representatives of Virgin Trains on 17 October to discuss proposals for ticket barriers at Rugby station. It was a useful meeting with matters such as access to the station from the Mill Road car parks and the use of the station subway to avoid using the road underpass being discussed.

Notes of the meeting area available here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New timetable now in operation (updated 16.12.14)

The principal timetable change date for National Rail train services this year was Sunday 14 December. Changes affecting Rugby are summarised as follows:

Virgin Trains
The only changes to Virgin train services at Rugby are in connection with the introduction of through services to Shrewsbury and Blackpool. In the morning, the 08.23 to London is now a 10 car Voyager instead of a Pendolino. This train conveys through carriages from Shrewsbury. In the evening, the 16.33 from Euston, which is already a 5-car Voyager, is extended from Preston to Blackpool North.

London Midland
London Midland timetable changes are as a result of more 110mph running between Rugby/Northampton and London Euston at peak times. There are some additional trains and consequential alterations to others. There are also two additional early morning trains from Crewe to London Euston on Saturdays. The changes for Rugby can be summarised as follows:
More weekday morning trains to London depart at 06.59 and 07.12
Faster and later weekday trains from London depart at 17.46, 18.49 and 18.52
New, fast Saturday morning trains to London depart at 07.43 and 09.03
New morning weekday train to Birmingham departs at 07.59
New evening weekday train to Birmingham departing 19.01
New evening trains from Birmingham to Rugby at 18.14 and 19.14 (these are trains which previously terminated at Coventry)

A summary of the new peak time services to London and Birmingham is available on our timetable page. Full details of the LM changes are available here.

In addition to the changes shown above, some other trains have minor timing alterations of a few minutes, so if you are a regular traveller please check the new timetable carefully.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland's latest business newsletter (posted 18.11.14)

London Midland's latest business newsletter is available here. Among other things it contains information on the new class 350/3 trains, the December timetable and the dates of further shutdowns at Watford.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland stakeholder review of August line closures (posted 14.09.14)

London Midland have issued a stakeholder update to all those affected by the line closures at Watford during weekends in August. It includes a time-lapse video of the work being carried out. The update is available here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Works starts on new stations on Coventry - Nuneaton line (posted 12.10.14)

Work to build the long-awaited new station at the Ricoh Arena is finally underway. The leader of Coventry City Council, Ann Lucas, put the first spade in the ground to herald the start of work on a new railway station to be built as part of the Coventry to Nuneaton ‘NUCKLE'* rail improvements project. Councillor Lucas said: “I am absolutely delighted that work on this project is finally set to start. “It means we will soon provide a much needed, upgraded rail link between Coventry and Nuneaton. We, and local residents, have been waiting for this improved link for too long. But now, with work underway, it’s time to celebrate. We are one of the best connected areas in the country and this will only improve these connections further. It will help us to create new jobs and attract new business too – which is great news.” The new Coventry Arena station should be complete in spring next year.

Work has also started at the other new station on this line, Bermuda Park on the outskirts of Nuneaton, where Claire Perry, Transport Minister, helped to cut the first sod. See the DfT announcement for further details.

Work on these two new stations will form part of a seven-figure 'NUCKLE'* upgrade programme which will also see longer platforms at Bedworth station and a new bay platform at Coventry. Upgrades to the line will mean that two-coach trains will run between Nuneaton and Coventry every 30 minutes in place of the single coach train which currently runs hourly. On match or major event days at the RICOH, trains will run between Coventry Station and Coventry Arena every 15 minutes.

Grant funding of up to £4.75million has been received from The Department for Transport towards the scheme. Further European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant funding has also been secured in which will strengthen the viability of the NUCKLE rail project.

'NUCKLE' is the acronym for the Nuneaton, Coventry, Kenilworth, Leamington rail upgrade project. Phase 1, which is currently underway, covers the improvements between Nuneaton and Coventry. Phase 2, which is not yet fully funded, will cover the extension of this service to Leamington, including the opening of a new station at Kenilworth.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virgin's Blackpool and Shrewsbury services get the go-ahead (updated 24.09.14)

The ORR has given the go-ahead for Virgin’s new direct services from London to Shrewsbury and Blackpool. These will start with the December timetable and will see one return trip form Blackpool to London and two return trips from Shrewsbury to London. All will be extensions of existing Euston - Wolverhampton or Preston services.

The only effect on Rugby will be that the 08.23 to Euston will be a 10 car Voyager instead of a Pendolino (5 cars of which will start from Shrewsbury) and the 16.33 from Euston (which is already a 5-car Voyager) will be extended from Preston to Blackpool North.

For further details see the ORR decision letter and the Virgin Trains press announcement.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New London Midland trains now in service (posted 07.10.14)

The ten new class 350/3 trains for London Midland have started to enter service. These new trains are 110mph capable and have 2 + 2 seating like the class 350/1s. They were ordered to ease overcrowding on Euston commuter services and allow three class 323 trains to be transferred from the Walsall - Birmingham International shuttle to the cross city line where the service to Redditch is being increased from half hourly to every 20 minutes from December.

RRUG expects these new trains to be merged with the rest of the class 350 fleet and used indiscriminately, despite the DfT announcement implying that they are for use between Northampton and London Euston only.

These new trains will facilitate LM's December timetable changes (see next item)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland Christmas services summary (posted 07.12.14)

London Midland have published a summary of services they will be operating over the Christmas period, which is available by clicking here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No trains to London until Monday 29 December (posted 24.12.14)

Train services across the network will shut down earlier than normal on Wednesday 24 December. No train services will call at Rugby on 25 and 26 December. On Saturday and Sunday, 27 and 28 December work will be taking place at Watford Junction which will mean no London Midland trains south of Hemel Hempstead and no Virgin Trains south of Milton Keynes.

This work is part of Network Rail's ongoing programme to replace outdated equipment in the Watford area. Passengers wishing to travel between Rugby and London on 27 and 28 December are advised to use the Chiltern Railways services from Leamington Spa or East Midlands services from Market Harborough or Kettering, on which routes Rugby - London tickets will be accepted.

For further details see the National Rail website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland business update (posted 18.09.14)

The September issue of London Midland's business update is available here. It is includes details of LM's first cycle hire scheme at Birmingham Moor Street.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virgin Trains franchise extension agreed (posted 19.06.14)

As expected the Department for Transport (DfT) have granted Virgin Trains an extension to the West Coast franchise until March 2017. The existing service will therefore continue to operate until that date, subject to the changes proposed below:
The 21 9-car Pendolino trains will have one first class coach converted to standard class by September 2015 (the 11-car Pendolino trains will remain unaltered)
Improvements to Pendolino train interiors, and new super-fast Broadband on all trains
More than £20 million to be spent on station upgrades, particularly improved waiting facilities and passenger information
Subject to approval by the Office of Rail Regulation, new direct services between London, Shrewsbury and Blackpool from December 2014. These would comprise two trains a day each way to Shrewsbury, and one train a day to Blackpool.
These changes will be of limited benefit to passengers from Rugby. The conversion of some coaches from first class to standard class might ease overcrowding at peak times, while improved train interiors and Wi-Fi connections will be welcomed by some. However, the proposed Shrewsbury and Blackpool trains will be extensions of existing services and will not therefore improve the service provision at Rugby. The Shrewsbury services are likely to be extensions of existing Euston - Wolverhampton trains, which do not call at Rugby. The Blackpool - London train is likely to be the 05.33 from Lancaster diverted to start from Blackpool North, which again does not call at Rugby. In the northbound direction the proposal is for the 16.33 Euston - Preston to be made a 5-car Voyager and extended to Blackpool. Although this train does call at Rugby, its extension from Preston to Blackpool North will have to be balanced by the use of a shorter train on this peak time service.

For further details see the Virgin Trains press release and the DfT announcement.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Government "considers" Crossrail link to West Coast Main Line (posted 07.08.14)

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced that the government will "consider" extending Crossrail to link with the West Coast Main Line (WCML), thereby providing through services between Crossrail stations in Central London and local stations between Harrow & Wealdstone and Tring. This would be achieved by a new connection between the Great Western Main line and the West London line at Old Oak Common, and enable some services currently provided by London Midland to be Crossrail trains instead.

A benefit of this scheme would be there would be more capacity at Euston during the works in connection with the proposed high speed line HS2, where it is proposed that some platforms will be taken out of use to facilitate the reconstruction of Euston. This would therefore lessen the disruption to longer distance WCML services, including those which serve Rugby.

As well as providing faster journey times between Hertfordshire stations and Central London, this proposal would remove the existing anomaly where it is proposed that several Crossrail trains will not run west of Paddington. Such trains could be extended to serve WCML stations as far north as Tring without disrupting the basic Crossrail service through the Central London tunnels.

The announcement only says the government will "consider" the proposal. Although it would bring several benefits to WCML users, considerable costs would be involved in the infrastructure works and additional Crossrail trains would need to be ordered. The scheme is only likely to go ahead if a cost-benefit analysis shows it would produce a favourable financial return.

For further details see the DfT announcement.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alliance Rail's revised proposals accepted by Network Rail (updated 02.08.14)

Following extensive discussions with Network Rail, Alliance Rail's proposal for open access services on the West Coast Main Line has been agreed by Network Rail.

The new services would be marketed as 'Great North Western Railway', and would provide 6 trains a day each way from London to both Blackpool and Leeds via Manchester Victoria, thereby giving a combined service of 12 additional trains over the southern section of the West Coast Main Line. Rugby is listed as an "additional calling point" meaning that some but not all trains would call. Any Rugby stops in these new services would be welcome as they would provide additional through services to the North West. The London terminus is likely to be at Queen's Park initially, as capacity at Euston may be restricted by reconstruction work in connection with the proposed new High Speed line HS2. New 6-car Pendolinos would be used, sharing the existing Alstom maintenance facilities. Both services are dependent on infrastructure changes in the north of England, so the Blackpool service would not start until 2017 and the Leeds service a year later.

Although this revised proposal has been agreed with Network Rail, it does not mean the go ahead for these services. The process is now for the Office of Rail Regulation to examine and consult on the proposals and to either grant or refuse permission for these services to operate, depending on whether certain criteria have been met. One of the most contentious issues is likely to be whether the new services would be "primarily abstractive" of revenue from other operators such as Virgin Trains, London Midland and Transpennine Express.

For further details see the Track Access Application and the Draft Track Access Agreement. All correspondence relating to this application is now available on the ORR website under the "Great North Western Railway" application.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Report on Rugby Rail Users Group Visit to DIRFT (posted 17.08.14)

A party of RRUG members visited Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT) on Tuesday 29th July. The group were shown the Railport operated by W H Malcolm where containers are transferred between road and rail and where trains are formed before departure. The Railport offices provide an excellent view of the terminal activities and members could see how containers were handled, moved about the site using Reach stackers and loaded to rail wagons. The Malcolm Group not only operate the rail terminal for trains run by a number of rail freight companies but also themselves run rail services between DIRFT and Grangemouth and Mossend in Central Scotland.

The group were given an excellent and informative presentation which explained how rail freight containers services operate, the importance to the UK economy and freight transport and the present and future plans for rail facilities at the DIRFT site. The development of DIRFT III has just been approved which will greatly expand the facility using the former mast site land between the A5 and M1 and requiring the provision of a new enlarged Railport to replace the existing facility.

Our thanks to David Turner and Warwick Ashbury of W H Malcolm for their hospitality and we hope to be able to repeat the visit in the not too distant future for those who were unable to attend this time.

Jeremy Thorne
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New "Two Together" railcard now available (posted 11.03.14)

A new railcard for two people travelling together has been introduced and is now available. The railcard costs £30 and entitles two people to travel together for a 33% reduction in the normal fare.

The railcard is available after 09.30 on Mondays to Fridays, and at all times on Saturdays and Sundays. The 33% reduction applies to Anytime, Off-peak and some Advance tickets. Advance tickets must be purchased in advance as applicable to the type of ticket. In addition to the "not before 09.30" rule, reduced-price tickets purchased with the Railcard will be subject to the same restrictions as the full price ticket from which they have been discounted.

The railcard can be used by any two people travelling together, whose names and photographs will be shown on the card. The card can be for any two people (not necessarily a couple living at the same address) but it is only valid for the two people named on the card and they must always travel together.

The Two Together Railcard can be purchased on-line or from any station ticket office. You will need photographs of both persons for whom the Railcard is for and a credit / debit card to pay for it. Railcards will be delivered within five days of ordering.

For further details see the Two Together Railcard website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

More trains for London Midland (posted 19.05.14)

A further ten class 350 trains are currently being delivered from train builder Siemens to London Midland. These trains will be used to enhance peak time services to and from London Euston from the December 2014 timetable change.

The new trains, which will be classified 350/3, will be similar to the first batch of class 350 trains, in that they will have 2 + 2 seating. They will not, however, be fitted with collector shoes and so will not be able to work over third rail electrified lines. This will not be a problem as LM trains do not normally work over third rail electrified lines. They have only done so when working the Milton Keynes - Croydon service on behalf of Southern a few years ago, when that company was short of trains.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August weekend shutdowns at Watford (updated 20.07.14)

To enable a major programme of renewal works, the West Coast Main line will be closed at Watford on the following dates:
Saturday and Sunday 9th & 10th August
Saturday and Sunday 16th & 17th August
Saturday to Monday 23rd to 25th August (bank holiday weekend)
On these dates there will be no through train service between London and Rugby. Virgin Trains services from the North will turn back at either Milton Keynes or Rugby, except for the Chester / Holyhead services which will turn back at Crewe. Most London Midland services will turn back at Northampton, with a half-hourly service between there and Hemel Hempstead. Coach services will be provided to link Hemel Hempstead with Stanmore London Underground station (Jubilee Line).

Unlike the arrangements for the May bank holiday, Virgin Trains intend to provide an hourly service between Birmingham International, Coventry and London Euston, running via the Chiltern line. Passengers from Rugby to London will be able to travel via Coventry to use this service. However, altered arrangements will apply on Sunday and Monday 24 and 25 August only when this service will start from Rugby and run to Coventry where it will reverse to access the Chiltern route. Additionally, Chiltern Railways will now be able to run longer trains of their own, following platform extension work which is due for completion in August. Tickets between Rugby and London will be valid on these Chiltern trains.

On the day following each shutdown, i.e. Mondays 11th and 18th August, plus Tuesday 26th August, only two lines instead of four will be open in the Watford area until mid-afternoon. This means a revised service for both Virgin and London Midland services with slightly fewer trains operating on these dates.

Further details are available from the National Rail website, the Publicity leaflet, the London Midland Passenger Plan and the Virgin Trains travel update.

Also, London Midland have now issued Stakeholder updates for May, June (1), June (2) and July which give updates on the latest situation regarding these closures.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Free bicycle "event" at Rugby station TONIGHT Friday 22 August (posted 22.08.14)

We have received late advice from British Transport Police (BTP) of a free bike marking and registration event tonight 22/08/14 between 17.00 and 20.00 at Rugby station. All those who cycle to the station are encouraged to attend this event. The BTP would like to have all bikes regularly using the station to be marked by the end of this year. Not only is it a great visual deterrent it also increases the chances of prosecution of offenders and return of stolen bikes to the owner.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LM Stakeholder communications (updated 15.03.14)

We have received the following stakeholder communications from London Midland, which may be of interest:

LM Business Issue 4
LM stakeholder conference notes 2013
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shrewsbury service would not benefit Rugby (posted 24.03.14)

Following the decision not to proceed with plans for a through London - Shrewsbury service from May, Virgin Trains are now investigating alternative ways to provide a through service to Shrewsbury, hopefully from next December. We now understand that, because no additional paths south of Rugby are available, the only way this service can be provided is to extend a couple of existing Euston - Wolverhampton trains to Shrewsbury, using Voyager class 221 trains. This will be of no benefit to Rugby because these trains would not stop there.

For further details see the Virgin Train press release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No trains to London over May bank holiday (posted 28.03.14)

What's happening?

Due to major engineering work in the Watford area, there will be no trains to or from London over the May bank holiday, from 23.30 on Friday 3 to until 10.30 on Monday 5 May 2014.

Why is this work necessary and what is being done?

The infrastructure in the Watford area is the oldest on the south end of the West Coast Main Line, much of it dating from the 1960s. As such, it is becoming increasingly unreliable and a cause of delay and disruption to the train service. Network Rail have therefore drawn up the Watford Area Renewals Programme to replace the ageing infrastructure with equipment fit for the 21st century. This will involve replacing the track, signalling and overhead power supply systems between Bushey and King's Langley. The power signal box at Watford, the last remaining "NX" (eNtry / eXit) panel on the south end of the West Coast Main Line, will close and control of signalling will be transferred to Wembley Main signalling centre.

The work is being done on a like-for-like replacement basis, except for the following:
the slow speed "ladder crossing" immediately south of Watford Junction station will be taken out and not replaced. The crossover moves it allows for are also possible at Watford North Junction (the other side of the station) where trains can cross from one line to another at 50 mph and are therefore less delayed.
The track of No. 10 bay platform will be extended so that longer trains can be accommodated.
The Orphanage Road underbridge just south of the station is in a poor state and the cause of a speed restriction. Taking advantage of the line closure, this bridge is to be replaced which will eventually allow higher train speeds.
This diagram might help to explain where the work will be taking place.

What is happening to the train service?

Saturday 3 May

There will be no Virgin Trains services south of Milton Keynes, and no London Midland services south of Hemel Hempstead. Special coach services will provide a link to London Underground termini for onward travel to Central London.

Sunday 4 May

There will be no Virgin Trains services south of Rugby throughout the day. Until midday there will be no London Midland services south of Northampton. After midday, some London Midland services will run either to Milton Keynes or Hemel Hempstead, from where coach services will connect to London Underground stations. A coach service will also run from Northampton to London Euston throughout the day.

Monday 5 May

In the morning, the same arrangements as for Saturday 3 May will apply.

Through train services will resume southbound with the 09.12 from Rugby and northbound with the 11.24 from London Euston.

So how should I best get to London?

Firstly, ask yourself if your journey is really essential. If you can rearrange it for another day you will find travelling much easier.

If that is not possible, you are strongly advised not to travel south by train from Rugby. Instead, you should make your own way to Chiltern line stations such as Warwick Parkway or Leamington Spa, from where there will be through trains to London Marylebone. Fastest journey time from Leamington to London is 70 minutes, although at weekends most trains take a little longer. If you do not have a car, Stagecoach bus 63 runs every hour between Rugby and Leamington (two hourly on Sundays and bank holidays)

Alternatively, make your own way to East Midlands Trains stations such as Market Harborough or Kettering. Fastest journey time to London from either of these stations is 55 minutes, but again it can take a little longer at weekends. There is no bus service from Rugby to either of these stations, but if you live Lutterworth then Hinckley bus service 58 runs every hour to Market Harborough on Mondays to Saturdays only.

Further work

The work to renew the infrastructure in the Watford area will continue into early 2015. The next weekend closures will be on the weekends of 9/10 and 16/17 August. On these days, travel to London will be a little easier as Virgin Trains will be running a service from Coventry to London Euston via the Chiltern line. However, on Mondays 11 and 18 August only two lines will be available through Watford until early afternoon. This means there will be a revised train service in operation so be sure to check your train times if travelling to London on these Monday mornings. Full details will be available from the National Rail Journey Planner 12 weeks before the date.

Further information

National Rail
London Midland
Virgin Trains
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Watford blockades restricted to weekends and bank holidays (posted 29.01.14)

There is good news for Rugby - London commuters regarding the proposed blockades of the line in the Watford area to carry out major track and signalling improvements. Network Rail had intended to do much of the work during a fortnight-long blockade this Summer, and another week-long blockade in early 2015. Both these blockades have now been cancelled and the work will now be carried out over an increased number of weekends.

The new dates when the railway will be shut are now as follows:

2014
• Sat 3 May to Mon 5 May
• Sat 9 August to Mon 11 August
• Sat 16 August to Mon 18 August
• Sat 23 August to Tue 26 August
• Wed 24 December to Mon 29 December

2015

• Sat 14 February to Mon 16 February
• Sat 21 February to Mon 23 February
• Fri 3 April to Tue 7 April

For further details see the Letter from Network Rail.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notice of RRUG Annual General Meeting (posted 16.02.14)

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of Rugby Rail Users Group will take place on Thursday 27 March at The Claremont Centre, Age UK, Clifton Road, Rugby, immediately following the members' meeting about West Coast blockades which starts at 19.30 (see next item). All RRUG members are invited to attend. Any existing RRUG member who wishes to be considered for a position on the committee should apply by using the "contact us" link at the top of this website. Elections to the committee will then be by members' vote if necessary.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DfT gives final approval for Kenilworth station (posted 13.12.13)

The Department for Transport (DfT) has given final approval for £5 million from the new stations fund to be spent on a new station at Kenilworth. In June, the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick Mcloughlin announced that he was "minded" to approve the application, subject to it being compatible with other rail improvements being planned for the area.

It has now been agreed that the station can be built without having any adverse effect on the re-signalling and electrification plans for the Coventry - Leamington line. The station should be complete by December 2016. Initially it is intended that Kenilworth will be served by a new local service between Leamington and Coventry provided by London Midland. When the line is electrified in 2019, it would be possible for through trains to run between Kenilworth and Birmingham if suitable paths can be found on the line west of Coventry.

For further details see the DfT announcement.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Overhead line work to improve reliability on the West Coast Main Line (posted 18.10.13)

A common cause of delay on the West Coast Main Line is overhead line equipment (OLE) failure. To combat this, Network Rail engineers have walked the entire 82 mile section from London to Rugby to identify potential trouble spots.

As a result of this survey, Network Rail are now carrying out a series of improvements to the OLE between London and Rugby with a view to reducing delays resulting from problems with the overhead line.

For further details see the Virgin Train press release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Network Rail's 5-year investment plan for the West Midlands (posted 08.01.13)

Network Rail has set out its investment plan for the period from 2014 to 2019, known as "Control Period 5". In the West Midlands, these plans include:
• the remodelling of Birmingham New Street station, currently under way
• Stafford area improvements, including a flyover at Norton Bridge to remove conflicting moves across the main lines when a northbound train is proceeding towards Stoke
• Cross City line improvements, which will provide a twenty minute service to both Redditch and Bromsgrove. This will involve electrification from Barnt Green to Bromsgrove and relocating the station there, as well as additional track on the Redditch line

• Coventry to Nuneaton upgrade. This will provide two new stations at the Ricoh area and Bermuda Park near Nuneaton, and an increased frequency of trains every 30 minutes
• Electrification from Nuneaton via Coventry and Leamington to Oxford, as part of the "electric spine" project
• Electrification from Walsall to Rugeley Trent Valley.
These projects are now subject to approval by the Office of Rail Regulation who will assess affordability. Subject to ORR approval, the final business plan for Control Period 5 (2014 to 2019) will be published in March 2014.

For further details see the Network Rail press announcement.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

January fares increases reduced in Chancellor's Autumn Statement (posted 06.12.13)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced in his Autumn Statement on 5 December that the average rail fare increases for regulated fares will be capped at 3.1% when fares are increased on 2nd January 2014.

This means that the average increase for saver tickets and season tickets will be 3.1%, which was the rate of inflation in July, the qualifying period against which rail fare increases are measured each year. However, some fares might increase by up to 5.1% because Train Operating Companies are allowed a degree of flexibility, meaning that means some fares can be increased by up to 2% over the average, provided the increase in other fares is reduced by a compensating amount.

Because of this announcement, fares from 2nd January are being recalculated and are not available at the moment. For the time being, tickets for journeys made on and from 2nd January will be sold at the existing prices, so if you intend making a journey after this date and are able to do so, you are advised to buy your ticket now.

For further details see the BBC news release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Up to date train running information (posted 28.09.13)

There are now a number of web sites where current real time train running information is available. These are privately operated web sites which are able to access and use Network Rail's current train reporting systems made possible through transparency and freedom of information initiatives. These sites are alternatives to Network Rail's own National Train Enquiries, but provide more information.

This information is especially useful to check for when the train service is disrupted and reliability of planned connections. In some circumstances it should be possible to check how your train is running before setting out from home or work to catch it. The Open Train Times website is particularly useful as it contains a track diagram showing the current position of every train on the south end of the West Coast Main Line.

The sites are:
real time trains
open train times

These sites are also available via the Useful links page of this website.

The web sites are free to access and some also have phone apps (which might be chargeable).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Network Rail line closures at Watford in 2014/15 (updated 23.10.13)

Network Rail have announced a series of line closures of the West Coast Main Line (WCML) in the Watford area, mainly at holiday times, in 2014 and 2015. The longest of these will be an 18 day closure leading up to and including the August bank holiday in 2014. During the closures, we understand there will be no Virgin trains south of Milton Keynes and no London Midland trains south of Hemel Hempstead.

These closures are to facilitate upgrade work on the track, signalling and overhead line equipment. Much of the infrastructure in the Watford area dates back to the 1960s when the line was first electrified and is long overdue for renewal. A significant number of delays on the south end of the WCML are due to this outdated equipment.

The work will affect 12 miles of railway in the Watford area, and includes new junctions at both ends of the station, as well as new connections to the tracks used by London Overground. At present the only connection to these lines is not suitable for passenger trains and, once completed, the new layout will enable some West Coast passenger services to be diverted onto what are known as the DC lines, which are currently only used by London Overground. This should mean that when the WCML tracks are closed south of Watford in future, a limited service of Virgin and London Midland trains will be able to reach Euston by using these alternative tracks.

For further details, including the dates of the closures, see the Network Rail announcement and the updated LM information.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good news and bad news in the December timetable changes (revised 14.11.13)

First the bad news. In the Winter timetable which starts on 8 December, Virgin Trains are withdrawing their first train from London Euston to Birmingham, meaning that the 06.51 from Rugby to Birmingham will no longer run. We understand the change is being made because insufficient people use this train from London Euston. In its place, the 06.23 Euston - Birmingham will call additionally at Rugby, providing a service from Rugby to Birmingham at 07.13, arriving in Birmingham at 07.45. In the opposite direction, the 19.50 Virgin train from Birmingham has been withdrawn, and in its place the 19.30 from Birmingham will call additionally at Rugby at 20.02.

And now for the good news. The revised Virgin Trains timetable will see the Euston - Wolverhampton and Birmingham - Glasgow/Edinburgh services combined to provide a through London - West Midlands - Scotland service. Although this will generally have little effect on Rugby, one positive effect will be the reintroduction of a limited number of through trains between Scotland, the North West and Rugby on Saturday evenings. Even though these trains will run via Birmingham, the reintroduction of through southbound trains on Saturday evenings is to be welcomed.

Other changes to train times will also come into effect from the same date, although most of these will be minor retiming’s of a few minutes or so. You can check your train times from 8 December by using the National and entering a date after 8 December.

There is also a summary of the peak time trains to and from London and Birmingham on the Timetable page of this website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Improved bus link between Coton Park and the station (updated 17.09.13)

The bus link between the rail station and Coton Park has been improved. Buses now run every 30 minutes throughout the day on Mondays to Saturdays between the rail station, Warwickshire College, Tesco and Coton Park.

This has been achieved by diverting the No. 10 bus to Coton Park in addition to the existing No. 12 route. In the other direction route 10 runs via Hillmorton Road and DIRFT to Daventry, providing a through link between these places and Rugby rail station every hour.

For further details see the timetable for routes 10 and 12.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DfT "minded" to fund new station at Kenilworth (posted 03.06.13)

The Transport Secretary Patrick Mcloughlin has announced he is "minded" to approve up to £5 million towards a new station for Kenilworth. This is the biggest grant so far from the government's New Stations Fund, which aims to reopen stations closed during the Beeching era.
Network Rail will now work with the DfT to see how this can be progressed along with other planned improvements for the Coventry - Leamington line on which the new station would be situated.

The new station would have two platforms each able to accommodate a four coach train, with passive provision for longer platforms in future. The station would be staffed and train services provided by London Midland, presumably as an extension of the existing Nuneaton - Coventry service. There are currently no plans for Cross Country trains to stop there.

For further details see the DfT press release. For a diagram of what the proposed station would look like see the BBC News item - take no notice of the photograph accompanying the DfT press release as it shows a location with third rail electrification!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lower cap on fare rises (posted 09.10.13)

The Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin has announced a reduction in the flexibility train operating companies will have to increase regulated fares above the rate of inflation. The existing system allowed train companies to raise regulated fares by an average of RPI plus 1%, with the flexibility to increase some fares by up to RPI plus 6% provided a compensating reduction in other fares was made. This flexibility is being reduced to RPI plus 3%.

As a result, the fare increases next January will see regulated fares capped at a maximum of 6.1% instead of a possible 9.1%. (The figures are set on the rate of inflation in July which was 3.1%, meaning that with the 1% above this the average rise will be 4.1% with an absolute maximum 2% above this, i.e. 6.1%).

For further details see the DfT written statement.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New concourse and entrances now open at Birmingham New Street (posted 29.04.13)

From Sunday 28 April phase one of the redevelopment of Birmingham New Street was commissioned. As a result, the existing concourse and all previous entrances to Birmingham New Street station have been closed. A new larger concourse has opened with entrances off Stephenson Street and Hill Street. There are also new escalators to the remaining part of the Palisades shopping precinct, through which access to the Bull Ring shopping centre is still available. During this stage of the project, passengers interchanging between New Street and Moor Street stations will need to allow a few extra minutes for their journey due to the revised walking route.

For further details see the New Street bulletin.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland Business Update (posted 28.08.13)

The September issue of London Midland's 'Business Update' is available by clicking
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ORR rejects Virgin's Shrewsbury and Blackpool services (posted 02.08.13)

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has rejected Virgin Trains' Track Access Application for new services to Shrewsbury and Blackpool. This follows Network Rail's earlier rejection of the proposed train paths, saying that the proposed additional workings would increase the risk of delay to other services on the West Coast Main Line (WCML). The ORR has now confirmed that it agrees with this decision, which spells the end of this proposal.

This is bad news for Rugby which would have been served by the proposed new services, which would have restored a limited through service to the North West which RRUG has long been campaigning for. It seems unlikely that any further attempt to run additional services on the WCML will have to wait until the next major timetable change due in 2016.

For further details of ORR's reasons for rejection, see the ORR decision letter.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

An appeal from Railfuture - Channel 4 'Dispatches' programme (posted 24.08.13)

Railfuture have been approached by Steve Walsh of Channel 4 who are making a 'Dispatches' documentary about the passengers' perspective of rail travel. He would like to speak to people about the worst rail journey they have experienced. If you have an interesting tale to tell about such a journey, please get in touch with Steve by e-mail at swalsh@truenorth.tv or telephone him on 0113 394 5494 ext 422. His postal address is: Stephen Walsh, Associate Producer, True North, Marshall’s Mill, Marshall Street, LEEDS LS11 9YP

For further details see the special edition of 'Rail User Express'.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ORR's response to Network Rail's five year investment programme (posted 23.07.13)

The Rail users watchdog Passenger Focus has published details of ORR's "Draft determination for the periodic review". This draft document is the ORR's proposed response to Network Rail's investment plan for the period 2014 to 2019. When the final version is published it will form the basis of the definitive plan for all major railway infrastructure projects for the next five years.

Comments are invited on the document, which should be sent by e-mail to draft.determination@orr.gsi.gov.uk to arrive no later than 4 September. The final plan should be published in October.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Euston station rebuild for HS2 scrapped (posted 19.04.13)

HS2 Ltd have announced that the plans to totally rebuild Euston station for the proposed high speed line have been scrapped. Instead, 11 additional platforms will be built alongside the existing platforms 1 to 15, which will remain.

This will be a cheaper and less disruptive alternative than the previously proposed total rebuild. It should also be good news for Rugby commuters as there should be far less disruption to existing train services during the reconstruction phases.

For further details see the HS2 press release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virgin to run West Coast until 2017 (posted 26.03.13)

The Department for Transport (DfT) have published a revised programme for rail franchising. As a result, Virgin Trains will now be running train services on the West Coast Main Line until April 2017. This is instead of November 2014 as previously announced. London Midland have also had their franchise extended from September 2015 to June 2017.

This announcement is not expected to have any effect on Virgin's plans to run services to Shrewsbury and Blackpool, which are currently being negotiated with the DfT and ORR (see separate item). However, it is unclear what effect the DfT's franchising announcement will have on proposed new train orders. It could mean that no new trains will be running on the West Coast Main Line until at least 2019 if new train orders have to await the award of the new franchise.

For further details see the DfT announcement and DfT statement, which includes the full timetable for re-letting of all rail franchises.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland tests longer 110mph trains (posted 21.02.13)

At present the class 350 London Midland trains that run at 110mph are restricted to 4 coaches (1 unit) in length. This is because of the way a second pantograph interacts with the overhead line equipment when running at high speed.

Modifications to the pantographs on the class 350/1 trains are now being made to overcome this problem, and tests are currently being carried out to establish the effectiveness of these changes. If the modifications prove to be satisfactory, it will enable longer trains to run on the 110mph services thereby reducing overcrowding on some heavily used services.

For further details see the LM news item.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland ticket office hours changed from 31 March (updated 03.04.13)

Following consultation and discussions with the Department for Transport, London Midland changed ticket office opening hours at several of their stations from 31 March.

In a statement, London Midland said "Reductions in opening hours will be at times of the day when few passengers are using the station, as a result, the majority of passengers will see no changes at all. At four stations the ticket offices will close entirely. We believe that the changes strike the right balance; supporting our aim to control railway costs and continuing to meet the needs of our passengers in this challenging economic climate."

The only station served directly by trains from Rugby where the ticket office has closed entirely is Cheddington. At some other stations the opening hours have been reduced, but the ticket offices remain open.

A full list of revised opening times for ticket offices at London Midland stations is available here. Please note that Rugby station is not listed. This is because it is a Virgin Trains station, as are Coventry, Birmingham International and Birmingham New Street which are not shown either for the same reason. Ticket office opening hours at Virgin Trains stations will not change.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Network Rail scuppers Virgin's plans to run to Shrewsbury and Blackpool (updated 13.06.13)

Network Rail have refused Virgin Trains' application for new services to Blackpool and Shrewsbury. These trains, which Virgin had hoped to start in December, would have called at Rugby and provided new through services to Shropshire and Lancashire.

Network Rail say that any additional services on the West Coast Main Line would have an adverse effect on punctuality. This means that while they maintain this stance there are unlikely to be any additional services by Virgin or indeed anyone else.

Virgin Trains have said they will appeal to the Office of Rail Regulation against this decision, but it is now unlikely that the proposed new services will start in December if at all.

For further details see the BBC news item about the Shrewsbury services. Details of the Track Access Application are available from the ORR website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LM compensation for delays extended to 30 April (updated 03.04.13)

The Department for Transport (DfT), in conjunction with London Midland, previously announced that holders of monthly and longer period season tickets will be eligible for five days of free travel on London Midland services. This is to compensate for delays caused by cancelled trains which have plagued LM services for the past few months but which London Midland claim have now been resolved. Passengers will be able to either extend their season tickets for five days free of charge, or travel on LM services on lines not covered by their season tickets for five days. These free tickets can be ordered via an on-line form and the period for applications has now been extended to 30 April. Please note that the season ticket itself will not be accepted as authority for free travel.

There will also be an additional 500,000 cheap advance tickets made available over the next two years for travel on LM's inter-urban services such as London - Northampton, Northampton - Birmingham, Birmingham - Liverpool and London - Crewe.

As part of this deal, the DfT agreed to extend the London Midland franchise from November 2013 to September 2015. However, following the DfT's franchising announcement on 26 March, the LM franchise has been further extended to run until June 2017.

For further details see the LM news item and the DfT press release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland appoints new Operations & Safety Director (posted 30.03.13)

London Midland have announced the appointment of Tom Joyner as their new Operations & Safety Director. For further details see the LM announcement.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Through trains from Rugby to Shrewsbury and Blackpool? (Updated 20.03.13)

We understand that Virgin Trains intend to apply for new direct train services between London Euston and Shrewsbury, also between London Euston and Blackpool, starting in December 2013.

The Shrewsbury service would operate twice a day and call at Rugby, Stafford (where the trains would reverse), Telford, Wellington and Shrewsbury. There would be late morning and early evening departures from London, with early morning and mid-afternoon departures from Shrewsbury. There would also be one journey each way on Sundays. If the application is successful, journey times of under an hour and a half from Rugby to Shrewsbury are expected. The service would be operated with 5-car Voyager diesel trains.

The Blackpool service would also operate twice a day and call at Rugby, Stafford, Warrington, Wigan, Preston and Kirkham, with departures at similar times of day to the Shrewsbury service. Journey times between Rugby and Blackpool would be about 2 hours 15 minutes. Five car Voyager trains would again be used.

Virgin Trains are in discussion with the Department for Transport (DfT) about the inclusion of these services in their extended franchise. They are also applying to the Office of Rail Regulation for a Track Access Agreement which would enable them to run these services. To be successful in this application, they will have to demonstrate that suitable timings are available which will not cause delay to other trains, and that the new services would not be "primarily abstractive" of another operator's revenue.

If Virgin's application for a Track Access Agreement is successful, this would be good news for Rugby. Not only would there be four extra fast trains each way between Rugby and Euston on Mondays to Saturdays plus one on Sundays, but the Blackpool service would restore an albeit limited direct service between Rugby and the North West.

For further details including proposed timings see the SK Media news update.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Passenger Focus National Passenger Survey (posted 02.02.13)

The Passenger Focus National Passenger Survey for Autumn 2012 shows increased customer satisfaction with the National Rail network.

Key findings include:
• 85 per cent overall satisfaction with train services
• satisfaction with value for money rises to 47 per cent
• individual operator value for money satisfaction varies between 29 and 75 per cent
• punctuality remains the key driver of rail passenger satisfaction.
As far as Train Operating Companies serving Rugby are concerned, satisfaction with Virgin Trains increased by 4% while, unsurprisingly due to the large number of cancellations last Autumn, satisfaction with London Midland fell by 2%.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

January fares rise (updated 14.01.13)

Most rail fares were increased on and from 2 January 2013. Regulated rail fares, which are saver tickets and season tickets, are capped by the government and the average rise is limited to a maximum of 4.2%. This means that some regulated fares can rise by more than this, provided other fares are reduced by a similar amount to compensate.

All other fares are unregulated and Train Operating Companies have the freedom to charge whatever rate they feel is commercially viable.

You can the calculate fares which apply from 2 January by using the National Rail Journey Planner or Season ticket calculator as appropriate.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland cancellations ease but continue (updated 03.01.13)

Despite London Midland announcing that the effect of the December timetable combined with revised rostering arrangements should reduce the number of train cancellations, some trains are still being cancelled, particularly at weekends and over the holiday period. However, the number of cancellations is much reduced from the Autumn period, with some weekdays on which no trains are cancelled. London Midland state that with new trainee drivers recruited over the past 12 months now becoming qualified to drive trains, the situation should ease further.

Details of cancellations and service disruptions will be shown on the London Midland website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virgin to run West Coast services "until November 2014" (posted 06.12.12)

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that Virgin Trains will continue to run train services on the West Coast Main Line for another 23 months. The franchise will therefore be extended to 9 November 2014. However, if a new franchise can be let in a shorter time, the DfT have reserved the right to terminate the franchise up to 6 months earlier.

This means that the previous DfT announcement whereby a short term franchise would be "let in 9 to 13 months" will not now happen, and West Coast train services will move direct from Virgin to a new long term franchise in the Autumn of 2014. Apart from the already announced hourly service to Glasgow on Mondays to Fridays, it is expected that the existing timetable will operate for the remainder of Virgin's franchise. Any other improvements to services are therefore likely to be delayed until after 2014, and will be the responsibility of the new successful franchisee.

For further details see the DfT press release, and also the BBC News item which covers the publication of the Laidlaw Report into the West Coast franchising process as well.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

December timetable changes now in operation (updated 09.12.12)

The major timetable change for 2012 occurred on Sunday, 9 December. Principal changes affecting Rugby are as follows:

Virgin Trains

Following the withdrawal of the franchise award to First Group by the Department for Transport, services on the West Coast Main Line will continue to be run by Virgin Trains until Autumn 2014 (see separate News item). The existing timetable will therefore continue for this period, except that on Mondays to Fridays there will be an hourly service between London Euston and Glasgow throughout the day. As a bi-product of this, the 19.58 Preston - Euston, which calls at Rugby at 21.27, now starts back from Glasgow Central at 17.30. This provides a through Scotland - Rugby train in the evening for the first time since the timetable change of 2008.

London Midland

London Midland have introduced phase 1 of their Project 110 scheme from the December timetable change, following the granting of a Track Access Agreement for this new service. This will provide a new fast train between Rugby and London each hour during off peak periods running at 110mph for most of the journey. With one stop at Milton Keynes, journey times from London to Rugby of around 55 minutes are promised. These fast trains continue north of Rugby as the Trent Valley local service, which has been completely revised as a result. There are also additional peak hour trains on the Trent Valley route, although only one of these (16.46 ex Euston) runs in the accelerated 110mph timings. Phase 2 of Project 110 will provide faster trains during peak hours as well, but these are dependent on a separate Track Access Application and additional class 350 trains which are now on order. These peak time trains will not therefore start before May 2014.

On the Rugby - Birmingham route there are no major changes, although some trains have been retimed by a few minutes.

For full details see the National Rail Journey Planner. A summary of peak time services from Rugby to both London and Birmingham is available on the timetable page of this website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland announce ticket office opening changes (posted 18.09.12)

Following the result of an application to the Department for Transport (DfT), London Midland have announced changes to ticket office opening times. These changes are planned for introduction over the next few months.

On the Euston - Rugby - Birmingham line, only the ticket office at Cheddington will close completely. Some other stations on the route will have reduced opening hours, including Adderley Park where it was originally proposed that the ticket office would close completely. Ticket office opening times at Northampton, Milton Keynes and Watford Junction will not be altered.

Rugby is currently a Virgin Trains station, as are Coventry, Birmingham International and Birmingham New Street, all of which are therefore unaffected.

For further details see the London Midland announcement and the full details of the changes.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rail investment programme could benefit Rugby (posted 16.07.12)

The announcement of projects in the rail investment programme for 2014 - 2019 (known as the High Level Output Statement or HLOS) includes schemes which could be of benefit to Rugby rail users.
• The East - West rail link project will see the Oxford - Bletchley line reopened, and new services between Oxford / Aylesbury and Milton Keynes / Bedford. This will provide an alternative route between Rugby and Oxford by changing at Milton Keynes. It’s possible that faster journeys will be available than by changing at Coventry, depending on connection times at Milton Keynes. This route will also serve Bicester Town, which is close to the Bicester Village shopping outlet. The reopened line between Bletchley and Oxford will also be electrified.
• The Coventry - Nuneaton line, already being upgraded to provide a more frequent service and new stations at the Ricoh arena and Bermuda Park, is to be electrified.
• A new "spine" electrification scheme to provide an electrified route between South Yorkshire, the West Midlands and Southampton will see the line from Coventry through Leamington and Banbury to Oxford electrified. Combined with other schemes, this will provide a through electrified route between Coventry and Southampton. Part of the existing single line between Kenilworth and Leamington will be doubled to increase line capacity.
• A "grade separated junction" (in other words a flyover) will be provided at Norton Bridge (north of Stafford) so that trains to Stoke and Manchester will not have to cross the southbound tracks on the level. This will increase line capacity between Stafford and Crewe.
These schemes are part of a £9.4 billion investment programme in the rail network which will take place between 2014 and 2019. Full details are shown in the DfT press statement.

All these projects are, however, subject to the rail industry being able to make the savings identified in the McNulty Report. If this fails to happen, then some of this work may be cancelled, fares will rise to pay for it, or possibly both.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Engineering work closes the West Coast Main Line at Bletchley over Christmas (posted 22.11.12)

Major engineering work is taking place to track and signalling in the Bletchley area from 22.00 on Saturday 22 December until Friday 28 December. During this time, both Virgin and London Midland train services will be revised.

From 22.00 Saturday 22 December until Monday 24 December inclusive

All lines in the Bletchley area will be closed.

Virgin Trains. The only trains to and from London Euston will be an hourly service to Coventry and Nuneaton via the Chiltern line. All other trains will start at Rugby, from where there will be hourly services to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. Trains running via the Trent Valley line will call additionally at Nuneaton to connect with the special service from Euston.

London Midland. London Midland services will not run between Hemel Hempstead/Tring and Milton Keynes, with special buses running between these points. An amended train service will operate on the sections of the route which remain open.

Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 December

The work at Bletchley will continue. There will be no train services on these days due to the Christmas shutdown.

Thursday and Friday, 27 and 28 December

Some lines in the Bletchley area will remain closed. As a result, both Virgin Trains and London Midland will be operating a reduced service to a revised timetable.

If you intend travelling by train over the Christmas period, you should check with the National Rail Journey Planner to see what trains will be running.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regulated rail fare increases reduced (posted 07.10.12)

Regulated rail fares will now be limited to average rises of RPI plus 1% in January 2013 and 2014, the Department for Transport has announced.

Regulated rail fares had been expected to rise by RPI + 3% in January but, as happened last year, this has been reduced to RPI + 1%. Regulated rail fares are Saver and Season tickets. Train Operating Companies have the freedom to change whatever they consider to be a commercial rate for all other fares, so it is possible that these may be increased by a greater amount to compensate.

For further details see the DfT press release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LM train cancellations due to staff shortages (posted 22.10.12)

Because of a continuing shortage of train crew, London Midland have announced there will be cancellations in their services until 11 December. Cancellations will be shown on their website from 17.00 on the previous day. Passengers intending to travel on London Midland services are advised to check their website before travelling, as about 30 trains are expected to be cancelled each day.

Passengers are being advised to travel on the next available service. Where lengthy delays will result, fast trains will make additional stops where this is practicable.

For further details see the LM website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

West Coast franchise - Interim Report says "DfT process was flawed" (posted 30.10.12)

The Laidlaw Report into what went wrong with the West Coast franchising process has published an interim report. Among the initial findings, it states that the DfT knew the revised evaluation process was flawed, but still went ahead with it. It also states that "the whole process was developed late, in a hurry, and without proper planning and consultation". Furthermore, the DfT knew it could face a legal challenge from an unsuccessful bidder, which is indeed what happened when Virgin Trains was told it was unsuccessful.

This is quite a damning indictment of the workings of the DfT. However, any changes to the franchising process will have to await outcome of the second enquiry into the franchising system being led by Richard Brown of Eurostar. This is due to report around the end of the year.

For further details see Patrick McLoughlin's statement to the House of Commons.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland carries out final testing for 110 mph running (posted 18.06.12)

London Midland is continuing its test running of trains at 110 mph in advance of the planned improvement to services later this year. Trials to date are reported to have been successful.

Provided the trials continue to go well, and the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) approves LM's track access application, the new services will start on Monday 10 December. At off-peak times, the Trent Valley services will be diverted between Rugby and Milton Keynes to run direct via Weedon, missing out Northampton. These trains will provide additional fast services between Rugby and London Euston taking just under an hour in both directions.

Also from the December timetable, additional peak hour trains will run between Euston and the Trent Valley stations. This was originally intended to start in September, but London Midland have now postponed this to coincide with the introduction of the new 110 mph service.

Further improvements are expected in the 2014 timetable when more new trains are delivered, and additional fast peak-time services can be introduced.

For further details see the LM News item. The proposed new timetable for Mondays to Fridays is available here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

West Coast franchise deal cancelled (posted 03.10.12)

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that the franchise deal with First Group to take over the running of train services on the West Coast main line has been cancelled. This is because of irregularities in the way the franchise bids were assessed and awarded. Three DfT officials have been suspended as a result.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that, in addition to the cancellation of the franchise deal with First Group, two inquiries would be set up, one to establish what went wrong with the awarding of the West Coast franchise, and another to look at the rail franchising system as a whole. As a result, work on all pending rail franchise deals (West Coast, Thameslink/Southern, Great Western and Essex Thameside) will be suspended. The team who will be investigating the franchising system are expected to report back "in December" and no further work will be done on any rail franchise until then.

This announcement means that First Group will not take over the running of services from 9 December. It is not yet known who will operate the West Coast services from that date. There are two possibilities: either Virgin Trains will continue to operate the services, or they will be taken over by the government's own subsidiary, Directly Operated Railways. Whatever happens, the timetables will continue basically unchanged for another year, pending the outcome of the timetable review being carried out by the West Coast Event Steering Group. Because of the two inquiries, it now seems unlikely that the new successful bidder will be announced before the Autumn of 2013.

For further details see the DfT press release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virgin to continue to run West Coast "for an interim period" (posted 16.10.12)

The Transport Secretary Patrick Mcloughlin has announced that the DfT will ask Virgin Trains to continue running the West Coast Main Line "for about 9 to 13 months". To follow this an interim franchise will be awarded which is expected to run for about two years. This interim franchise is expected to take the form of a management contract which will continue to run services broadly as they are now. As Virgin Rail Group will continue in existence at least for the time being, they will be in a position to bid for this interim franchise if they so wish.

This arrangement will give the DfT time to draw up a new long term franchise specification for the West Coast, taking into account the recommendations of the inquiry into the franchising system which is currently taking place. The DfT will then send out the tender documents, receive bids and review these in line with the new parameters before awarding the franchise. This process envisages a delay of at least 2 years and 9 months from the original change date of December 9 2012, meaning that the new franchise is unlikely to be in place before the next General Election.

As a result of this delay in awarding the long term franchise, no improvements to train services or facilities are likely for at least three years.

For further details see the DfT press release and the Ministerial Statement.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

***LM to present "Project 110" at November Members' Meeting this Wednesday*** (updated 11.11.12)

Our next members' meeting will be on this Wednesday 14 November at Age UK Rugby, starting at 19.30 (doors open from 19.15). Rebecca Freeman, Acting Retail Manager for London Midland, will give a presentation on their Project 110 scheme. Under this project some trains will be accelerated to run at 110 mph giving faster journey times. This will be of particular benefit to Rugby which will gain an additional fast train to London each hour at off-peak times, completing the journey in 55-56 minutes and calling only at Milton Keynes. For further details of Project 110 see the LM News item.

All RRUG members are welcome to attend. Non-members can join at the door on payment of the £5 membership fee.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Passenger Focus publishes WCML priorities report (posted 01.02.12)

Passenger Focus have published a report on future passenger priorities for the West Coast Main Line, based on recent customer research they have carried out. One of the issues raised highlights that car passengers are more likely to switch to train if fares were cheaper and through services provided. This principle supports our aim for the restoration of through services between Rugby and the North West.

The full report can be seen by clicking here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Passenger Focus Annual Report and Accounts (posted 04.08.12)

Passenger Focus is the watchdog set up and funded by the Department for Transport to represent the interests of rail and bus passengers. They have recently published their Annual Report & Accounts and presented these to the government.

Of particular note are the results of the National Passenger Survey which highlighted in particular passengers' concerns about fares (with comparisons with the situation in Europe) and public complaints about rail services. It is interesting but unsurprising to note that a survey relating to West Coast services showed that passengers prefer through trains to connections, which to some extent reinforces RRUG's campaign for restoration of through services to the North. Full details are available in the Annual Report & Accounts.

For further details of the surveys Passenger Focus have carried out into rail travel, see the rail passenger surveys.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cycle Rail "toolkit" unveiled (posted 22.08.12)

Transport Minister Normal Baker has unveiled a Cycle Rail Toolkit which is a joint initiative between the Department for Transport and the Association of Train Operating Companies to improve facilities for cyclists who use rail and thereby encourage greater use of train services by cyclists.

The Toolkit's aim is that cycle access should double at individual stations over the next five years, with a national target of 5% of passengers cycling to stations. This should be achieved by specifying secure cycle storage at stations and extending the cycle hub concept in future rail franchises, and also through joint initiatives with local authorities to create segregated cycle routes.

The full toolkit is available here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regulated rail fares set to rise by 6.2% on average (posted 14.08.12)

Regulated rail fares are set to rise by an average of 6.2% in January 2013. This follows an unexpectedly higher than average rise in the rate of inflation to 3.2% in July.

Regulated rail fares are saver tickets and season tickets. Increases in these fares are set by the government at the July RPI rate plus 3% and apply to fare increases the following January. While the rate of 6.2% has therefore been set by the government, this is an average figure and Train Operating Companies have some freedom to increase selected fares above this amount provided other fares are increased at a lower rate so that the overall average increase does not exceed 6.2%.

It remains to be seen what effect this will have on regulated fares from Rugby. Other fares, such as those for advance tickets and open tickets, are unregulated and Train Operating Companies have the freedom to set these at whatever they consider to be the most advantageous commercial rate.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First Group win West Coast franchise (updated 14.09.12)

Subsequent to the award of the franchise to First Group as outlined below, Virgin Trains have called for a judicial review into the franchise decision, which means the signing of the deal with First Group has been delayed. See separate news item.

The Department for Transport has announced First Group has been awarded the franchise to run passenger train services on the West Coast Main Line from 9 December. This means that Virgin Trains will cease to operate the service from that date.

First Group is proposing the following changes:

Train services
• From December 2016 there will be 11 new six-car electric trains for Birmingham - Glasgow services. The existing Voyagers will be cascaded to other routes (see below).
• New through services including London Euston to Blackpool from 2013 and from London to Shrewsbury and Bolton from 2016. The services to Blackpool and Bolton will be able to use electric trains once these lines are electrified. The Shrewsbury service will be Voyagers throughout as the line is not electrified beyond Wolverhampton.
• Journey time improvements between London and Glasgow are planned, by elimination of the Warrington and Wigan stops. These stations will be covered by a new Euston to Preston service, calling at Milton Keynes, Nuneaton, Crewe (possibly), Warrington and Wigan.
Catering
• Catering facilities will continue to be provided on 90% of services. An "enhanced at-seat service" will be provided - whether this means a trolley service instead of the shop remains to be seen.
Fares
• Standard anytime fares will be reduced by an average of 15% over the first two years of the franchise.
• ITSO based smart ticketing will be introduced. ITSO is the system used for the National Concessionary Bus Pass Scheme. It is not the same as, nor is it currently compatible with, the Oyster cards used by Transport for London, although an "ITSO on Oyster" project group is currently working on this.
Stations
• At least £22m will be spent on a station investment programme. This will include the provision of ticket gates at 21 stations. It is not known at present whether this will include Rugby.
Sadly there is nothing for Rugby Rail Users in this announcement. There will still be no through services to the North West, as the additional "stopping" service to Preston will not call at Rugby. It is also possible Rugby will lose its "open station" status if ticket gates are installed.

For further details see the DfT press release and First Group announcement.

Sir Richard Branson has written a letter to Virgin customers which is available here. Virgin Trains have also started an e-petition to HM Government asking for the decision to award the franchise to First Group to be reconsidered.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DfT "to press ahead" with First Group deal for West Coast (posted 14.09.12)

Patrick McLoughlin, the new Transport Secretary, has confirmed the Department for Transport (DfT) still intends to sign the West Coast franchise deal with First Group as soon as this is legally possible.

Virgin Trains have called for a judicial review into the franchise decision, which means the DfT will not be able to sign the contract until a High Court judge decides whether there is a case to answer. If the judge decides against this, then the deal is expected to be signed shortly. However, if there is to be a full judicial review, then the contract cannot be signed until this is completed, which could mean that the target date for First Group to take over (9th December) will not be met.

If there is a delay in the start of the new franchise, the DfT has stated that its own subsidiary Directly Operated Railways will take over as a short term measure, so that Virgin Trains will cease to operate the service after 8 December in any event.

For further details see the BBC news item.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conditions of Carriage reissued - travel in First Class clarified (posted 25.06.12)

The National Rail Conditions of Carriage, which set out the conditions under which tickets are issued and their use, have been rewritten and reissued. In particular, it has been made clear that you cannot travel in First Class accommodation with a Standard Class ticket unless the on-train staff give you permission. This applies even if all Standard Class seats are taken. Although Train Managers are allowed to use their discretion and declassify some First Class seats when Standard Class is full, they will not do this if the First Class accommodation is also full or likely to become full later in the journey.

This means therefore that if you are travelling on a Standard Class ticket and you sit in First Class for whatever reason, you will be changed the difference between the two fares, or a penalty fare where appropriate, unless the Train Manager has authorised this before you make the move.

The Conditions of Carriage also cover the arrangements for travelling with a combination of tickets. These arrangements have not changed and if you do this the train must call at the station where you change from one ticket to another. The only exception is when one of the tickets is a season ticket when this requirement does not apply.

Full details are shown in the new edition of the National Rail Conditions of Carriage. Section 39 covers travelling in First Class accommodation with a Standard Class ticket, while section 19 covers the use of a combination of tickets.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Later trains for Olympics (updated 13.01.12)

Following discussions with the Olympic Delivery Authority, Network Rail have announced specimen times for later trains from London during the Olympics next year.

Additional late trains will run at 01.00 from Euston to Liverpool and at 00.10 and 01.10 from Euston to Birmingham, all of which will call at Rugby. These trains will only run when there are Olympic events at the main venues in London, and not at other times.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ORR suspends consideration of Alliance Rail proposals (posted 17.05.12)

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has written to Alliance Rail advising that it has suspended its review of Alliance Rail's application to run train services on the West Coast Main Line. This application, if approved, would see Alliance Rail running trains from London Euston via the West Coast Main Line to West Yorkshire, Blackpool and the Cumbrian Coast. Some of these trains would have called at Rugby.

The reason given for suspending the review is that until the work of the West Coast Event Steering Group on the proposed West Coast timetable from December 2013 is complete it will not be possible to identify whether or not there would be any suitable paths for Alliance Rail's proposed services.

For further details see ORR's letter to Alliance Rail.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Catch RRUG's Jerry Thorne on Rugby FM on Tuesday (posted 24.08.12)

RRUG's media representative Jerry Thorne has been interviewed by Rugby FM radio about the e-petition against First Group's takeover of the West Coast Main Line franchise. You can hear this interview on the station's morning news bulletins next Tuesday (28th August) at 07.00, 08.00 and 09.00. (Rugby FM frequency = 107.1)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rail fares review (posted 08.03.12)

The government has announced a review of rail fares. This will look at all aspects of the ticketing system, including types and availability of ticket, peak and off-peak time restrictions and variable priced season tickets. To facilitate these changes, smartcard ticketing will be rolled out across the network using a system which is similar to the Oyster card used in London. Currently this system, which is known as ITSO, is not compatible with Oyster but under a project known as "ITSO on Prestige" this issue will be addressed.

The report summarises the next steps as follows:
• Proceed with rolling out smart ticketing technology and work with train operators and local/regional transport authorities to develop new flexible and more tailored ticket types;
• Explore in more detail the scope for using ticket pricing and restrictions to smooth demand in order to make more efficient use of capacity (including but not limited to the commuter peak);
• Consider options for addressing the issues identified in relation to time restrictions; terms and conditions of Advance tickets; the case for reducing any significant regional imbalance in fares levels;
• Encourage operators to improve ticket machine and online sales channels and, as ticket-buying habits change, to consider how best to deploy their station staff to provide the most benefit to passengers while reducing costs and providing a safe environment; consider the process operators are required to follow to make changes to ticket office opening hours; and consider how the number and range of outlets selling train tickets could be radically expanded.
Anyone can comment on these proposals, for which the closing date is 28 June 2012. For further details see the: Consultation document.
On-line consultation facility.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DfT issues invitation to tender for new West Coast franchise (posted 21.01.12)

The Department for Transport (DfT) has issued the Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the new West Coast franchise which will replace the existing Virgin Trains franchise and run from 9 December 2012 to March 2026. There will then be an option to extend the franchise for up to a further 20 months. The franchise will therefore end by the expected completion date of the new high speed line HS2. The four shortlisted bidders have until 1st May to prepare and submit their bids. These are:
• Abellio InterCity West Coast Limited (NV Nederlandse Spoorwegen)
• First West Coast Limited (FirstGroup plc)
• Keolis / SNCF West Coast Limited (Keolis SA and SNCF)
• Virgin Trains Limited (Virgin Group Holdings Limited).
The successful bidder is expected to be announced in August.

This will be the first of the DfT's more loosely specified franchises, particularly as far as the train service is concerned. The existing timetable will be maintained until December 2013, but from that date only a minimum number of trains per day will be specified, with first and last times to major destinations also specified. For Rugby, the only specification is as follows:
• there must be a minimum of 329 trains per week to and from London (this includes both directions)
• of these there must be at least 45 on each Monday to Friday, 34 on Saturdays and 37 on Sundays
• no times of first and last trains are specified for Rugby. However, the first and last times for Birmingham trains are based on today's timings.
While this appears to give the successful franchisee the opportunity to insert a Rugby stop into any train it chooses, in practice we expect the service provided from December 2013 to be specified by the West Coast Event Steering Group which is headed by the Office of Rail Regulation. It therefore remains to be seen whether Rugby will get any more through trains to the North West as a result.

The ITT gives some insight into the effect the reconstruction of Euston (in connection with HS2) will have on West Coast services. Of the 17 platforms at Euston, a minimum of 14 will be available at any one time. Apparently the existing level of service of Virgin trains can be maintained provided turnaround times are reduced. It will be interesting to see how this works in practice.

Headline news in the DfT press release is the provision of an extra 28,000 seats per day as part of the new franchise. These will come from the four additional Pendolinos now being delivered, and the lengthening of 31 existing 9 car trains to 11 cars. The new franchisee will also have an obligation to introduce smartcard ticketing to meet ITSO standards. ITSO is currently used for the concessionary bus passes and works by touching the ticket or pass on a reader.

For further details see the Invitation to Tender documents on the DfT website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Reforming our railways" governmental review (posted 08.03.12)

The Department for Transport has issued a control paper setting out its vision for the future of the railways. This is in response to the report into the industry by Sir Roy McNulty which was published last year, and incorporates many of the recommendations made in that report. The aim is to rescue the annual deficit on the railways by £3.5 billion, while at the same time ending what the government calls "inflation-busting fare rises".

Some of the main issues include:
• a review of the existing fares system (see separate item)
• decentralisation of some decision-making to local control (if implemented this would see an end to the existing micro-management of the industry by the DfT)
• a review of the regulatory processes
• longer and more loosely specified franchises for Train Operating Companies
• operating and maintenance efficiencies by Train Operating Companies and Network Rail respectively.
For further details see the following DfT publications:
Reforming our Railways command paper
Decentralisation consultation paper.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

11 car Pendolinos enter service (updated 25.04.12)

The first 11 car Pendolinos are now operating in passenger service, while further sets are undergoing trial runs prior to entering service. Eventually there will be 31 of these longer trains, and it is intended they will be used on the most heavily-used workings. One of these longer trains is normally used on the busy 16.50 Birmingham - Euston (Rugby 17.22).

The two additional coaches are both standard class, and are situated between the existing standard and first class sections of each train. These new coaches are lettered F and U. This is so that the first class section will always be lettered G to J whatever the length of the train.

For the time being the additional coaches will be non-reservable. This means that if you are travelling standard class without a reservation and your train has coaches F and U in its formation, then you will be more likely to get a seat in one of these coaches.

Some station platforms are not long enough for an 11 car train. At these platforms, of which Rugby platform 6 is one, Selective Door Operation (SDO) will be used to prevent doors which are not at a platform from opening. Where this happens, an announcement will be made telling passengers in the rear of the train to move forward if they wish to alight. SDO boards have been provided at the ends of the platforms affected to tell drivers that Selective Door Operation is in force.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland appoints new Commercial Director (posted 08.06.12)

London Midland have appointed Richard Brooks as its new Commercial Director. Richard has a lifelong experience of the railway industry and, as one-time Route Director for the Northampton - Birmingham line, should have a good understanding of the needs of Rugby rail users.

For further details see the LM stakeholder briefing.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First Group poised to take over West Coast franchise (posted 05.08.12)

It is widely expected that First Group will take over the franchise for Inter City services on the West Coast main line when the existing franchise expires in December. This would see the end of Virgin Trains.

Several reports in the press have stated that First Group is believed to have bid £1 billion more for the franchise than Virgin. We also understand that Chancellor George Osborne has written to Justine Greening stating that all future rail franchises must be awarded to the bidder providing the highest rate of return, otherwise money for HS2 will be cut. This all points to First Group being appointed to take over from Virgin when the DfT announces the successful bidder for the West Coast franchise later this month.

This will not necessarily be good news for rail passengers. If First Group take the same approach as they did when they took over Great Western, it is likely that the Pendolinos will be reconfigured to cram more seats in and the shop will disappear. It is possible the free meal service for First Class passengers could also disappear.

For further information see news items from The Daily Telegraph and The Financial Times.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trent Valley service improvements (posted 20.05.12)

The stopping service provided by London Midland on the Trent Valley line has, until now, been restricted by the Moderation of Competition rules. This means that there are no evening peak trains and the Sunday service has been only every two hours. This is to avoid any possible abstraction of revenue from the Virgin services. With the relaxation of the Moderation of Competition rules, it is now possible to run trains which previously were not permitted.

The first phase of these improvements means that from the start of the Summer timetable on 14 May the Sunday service has been increased to run every hour.

From 10 September, improvements will be made to the Monday to Friday timetable. Additional evening services on the Trent Valley line will run from Euston at 16.46, 17.24 and 20.13, these leaving Rugby at 18.04, 19.05 and 21.45 respectively. Additional trains will also run from Crewe at 19.33 and 20.39, calling Rugby at 21.17 and 22.20 (the latter to Northampton only).

Further improvements are planned to this service from December, when it is hoped LM's "Project 110" service will be implemented (see separate news item).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Update on London Midland's "Project 110" scheme (posted 17.05.12)

In December 2011 the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) issued a statement that it was "minded to" approve London Midland's application for services at 110 mph on the West Coast Main Line. This letter of intent allowed the additional class 350 trains to be ordered (which has now been done) but stated that certain outstanding items would need to be resolved before final approval could be given.

London Midland has now written to the ORR stating that it believes these issues, which mainly relate to agreeing paths with Network Rail and modifications to equipment on the trains have now been resolved. LM's letter to the ORR is available here.

A benefit of the further timetable work is that it now appears possible that most trains in both directions would use the Weedon route between Rugby and Milton Keynes, giving journey times of under an hour between Rugby and Euston. The new proposed timetable for Mondays to Fridays is available here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

March RRUG newsletter now available (posted 24.03.12)

The March 2012 newsletter has been published and is available from the Newsletter section of this website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LM new trains order confirmed (posted 29.02.12)

The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed an order for 10 new class 350 trains for London Midland. Transpennine Express will also get 10 similar trains as part of the same order to enable them to introduce electric services between Manchester and Scotland from December 2013.

The new class 350s will have 110 mph capability. Along with some of the existing fleet which will be modified for 110 mph running, this will allow London Midland to introduce more and faster trains between London, Rugby, the West Midlands and Crewe under their 'Project 110' scheme.

The Track Access Application (TAA) for 110 mph running has been with the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) for approval since November and its approval is awaited. In December the ORR issued a "minded to" statement saying they were minded to approve the application, which allowed LM to order the new trains required for this. Now that this order has been placed, acceptance of the TAA is awaited which would London Midland can progress its Project 110 scheme to fruition.

For further details see the DfT press release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Government authorises HS2 (posted 10.01.12)

The Transport Secretary Justine Greening has announced that the new high speed line known as HS2 is to go ahead. The first phase of the line will link London Euston with Birmingham, with journey times reduced to 49 minutes, a saving of about 35 minutes on existing timings. As part of this first phase, a link will also be built to the existing high speed line (HS1) which runs from St Pancras International to the Channel Tunnel. A second phase would extend HS2 to Leeds and Manchester. However, work will not start before 2016 and the earliest date for completion of the first phase would be 2026.

Whilst this new line will have no direct effect on Rugby, it is expected to free up capacity on the West Coast Main Line for additional services. RRUG will in due course be campaigning for these additional trains to restore a regular through service between Rugby and the North West, while retaining the existing level of service to both London and Birmingham.

As is well known, this is a contentious project with strong arguments being made both for and against it. To address some of the environmental concerns, Justine Greening has announced there will be extra sections of tunnelling in the most environmentally sensitive areas, including Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire. However, it is still possible the scheme could be stopped if opposition groups mount a successful legal challenge by calling for a judicial review.

Further details are available from the DfT press release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mill Road tunnel closure (updated 07.03.12)

Warwickshire County Council have announced that Mill Road tunnel will close for approximately five days at the end of March for renewal of street lighting. It is intended that the tunnel will be closed between 09.00 and 16.00 each day from Monday 26 March to Friday 30 March, subject to satisfactory progress of the work.

All road users travelling to and from the station at these times who would normally go through the Mill Road tunnel will therefore have to allow extra time for their journeys. Motorists from the town centre direction wishing to access the Virgin Trains multi-storey car park or the Ponder car park will have to follow the diversion via Clifton Road and Butlers Leap. Those coming from the Brownsover direction who wish to use the car parks on the south side of the station will have to follow this diversion in reverse.

For further details see the Warwickshire County Council Notice.

Stagecoach bus services 4 and 12 will also follow the diversion between 09.00 and 16.00 each day, meaning there will be no regular bus service to the station during the closure. For further details of the bus changes, see Stagecoach travel news.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Platform 6 and 11 car Pendolinos (updated 06.03.12)

Platform 6 at Rugby station is only just long enough for a 9-car Virgin Pendolino. This means there could be a potential problem when some of the Pendolinos are lengthened to 11 cars.

This will be overcome by using Selective Door Opening (SDO) which will ensure any door which is not at a platform cannot be opened. SDO will keep locked the doors on the last two coaches of an 11-car train when the train arrives at Rugby platform 6. This means that passengers will not be able to open any door which is not at a platform. SDO works in conjunction with trackside ballises, so a train will "know where it is" and lock the doors on the rear two cars automatically. On-board announcements will be made advising passengers in the rear two coaches to move forward if they want to alight.

To remind the driver that Selective Door Operation is in use, "SDO" signs have now been erected at both ends of platform 6 beneath the 9/11 car stop boards.

All other platforms at Rugby station are long enough for 11 car trains.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

See our own Jerry Thorne on BBC Panorama (posted 24.01.12)

See RRUG's own committee member Jerry Thorne on BBC Panorama programme about rail fares which was broadcast on BBC1 on Monday 23 January.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland prepares for winter weather (posted 09.02.12)

London Midland have sent us the following regarding the possible effect of adverse weather conditions over the next few days and their proposed mitigation measures:

"As I'm sure you will have seen from the weather forecasts, we are expecting another bout of snow and freezing conditions between now and the weekend. I want to assure everyone that we have got all our plans in place, and our teams will be out gritting platforms, checking heating systems, and carrying out 'frost precautions' (making sure the trains don't freeze up overnight).

At the moment we don't anticipate the weather being severe enough for us to need to put our contingency timetable into place, but please be assured we'll be doing everything we can behind the scenes to make sure we keep our services running, and get our customers to their destinations.

If you, or anyone you know, is travelling over the next few days it's probably a good idea to double check that everything is running to plan before setting off on your journey. You can find real-time information about our services from National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50, or from our website www.londonmidland.com. We also have our iPhone app, and twitter (@londonmidland) to provide you with information. We'll be doing our best to make your journeys safe and reliable, but please remember to take extra care in wintry conditions."
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Member survey results (posted 10.11.11)

The recent member survey revealed strong preferences for campaigning for better services to the North West and Scotland, and for later trains from London on Saturday evenings.

For full details of the survey results, see the news page of the members section.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alliance Rail resubmits WCML application (posted 21.12.11)

Alliance Rail has resubmitted its open access track access application for rights to operate services on the West Coast Main Line.

The revised proposals would see services from Euston to Leeds, Bradford, Blackpool North and Cumbrian Coast line stations. Although Rugby is not included as a stop in the regular calling pattern for these services, it is shown as an additional stop, implying that at least some trains would call. This would go some way to restoring through services between Rugby and the North West, with the possibility of one or two through services to West Yorkshire as well. The services would be operated by new-build rolling stock with 125 mph enhanced permissible speed capabilities (i.e. tilt operation), and would start in December 2014.

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) will now consider this application along with others for the West Coast Main Line, and will make its decision in due course.

For further information see the Alliance Rail application form and the Draft track access contract.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ORR is "minded to approve" LM's Project 110 application (posted 30.12.11)

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has stated that it is "minded to approve" London Midland's application for 110 mph paths on the West Coast Main Line. If approved, this would bring faster LM trains between London, Rugby and the Trent Valley stations.

The ORR has said that, having been "minded to approve" the application, this is subject to LM being able to meet certain conditions. These are mainly performance-related issues, and the confirmation that the technical requirements for the rolling stock to run at 110 mph can be met. For full details see ORR's letter of intent to London Midland.

Subject to LM being able to satisfy these conditions, and no other "show stoppers" arising in the meantime, it therefore seems likely that stage 1 of LM's Project 110 scheme will be approved for implementation from the December 2012 timetable change. Implementation of stage 2, which would provide faster trains at peak times, is dependent on new rolling stock and the recast of the West Coast Main Line timetable which is planned for 2014.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RRUG responds on HS2 consultation (posted 24.07.11)

RRUG has responded to the stakeholder consultation on the proposed High Speed line (HS2). While Rugby will not be directly affected by the new high speed line, we believe that the diversion of services to HS2 should provide sufficient capacity on the existing West Coast main line for the restoration of a regular service between Rugby and the North West. We have also stated that the existing level of service, both in frequency and journey time, to London should be maintained, and that service disruption during the rebuilding of Euston station should be kept to a minimum.

Our full response is available in the Correspondence section of the members' area of the website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RRUG response to LM's "Project 110" (posted 12/12.11)

RRUG has sent a formal response to London Midland about their "Project 110", which would see train speeds increased to 110 mph on part of the route.

Whilst welcoming the proposed changes as services to Milton Keynes and London would be improved, we have expressed concern that, because of revised connections at Stafford / Stoke-on-Trent, journey times from Rugby to Liverpool and Manchester would be increased.

RRUG members can see the full response in the Correspondence section of the members' area of the website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DfT agrees funding for Coventry - Nuneaton rail upgrade (posted 14.12.11)

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced a grant of £9.8 million towards the cost of upgrading the Coventry - Nuneaton rail service. The remainder of the cost will be provided by local authorities.

The scheme involves two new stations, one to serve the Ricoh arena in Coventry and the other at Bermuda Park. Bedworth station will have longer platforms, and a new bay platform for this service will be built adjacent to the west end of platform 1 in Coventry. When complete, trains will run every half hour on this line, with the possibility of enhanced services during major events at the Ricoh stadium.

Although this will not directly affect rail services from Rugby, as a result of this scheme passengers will be able to travel by rail from Rugby to events at the Ricoh stadium with one change at Coventry.

For further details see the DfT press release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland to order new trains? (Posted 19.09.11)

London Midland has selected Siemens PLC as 'preferred bidder' for approximately 8 new class 350 trains. If ordered, they would be used to enhance capacity on some of London Midland's busiest services. The order is subject to the Department for Transport reviewing and accepting a business case for the purchase of these trains.

It is possible that these trains could have 110 mph capability, rather than the current maximum speed of 100 mph. London Midland, in conjunction with Network Rail, are to carry out tests with existing class 350 trains to see what effect running at this speed would have on the overhead line equipment (OLE) and the roof-mounted pantographs which collect the power from the OLE. If these tests are satisfactory, the new trains could be permitted to run at the higher speed.

These new trains would be part of an order which would also include about 10 trains for Transpennine Express, which will require electric trains for its services between Manchester and Scotland once the first stage of the Lancashire electrification project is completed.

For further details see the London Midland news item.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No changes in December timetable (updated 27.12.11)

The National Rail timetable changed on Sunday 11 December. There are no changes to either the Rugby - Birmingham or Rugby - London services, except for some minor adjustments of a minute or two to the Birmingham service at off-peak times.

A summary of peak time trains to both Birmingham and London is available on the Timetables section of the website. For further details see the National Rail Journey Planner.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

January fares revised following Chancellor's Autumn statement (updated 19.12.11)

The Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Autumn Statement that regulated fares would be capped at RPI + 1% this January. This is a reduction from the previously advised rate of RPI +3%, which will now apply to the January 2013 and 2014 fare rises only. For further details see the ATOC press release.

Details of the new annual season ticket rates to London and Birmingham which apply from 1st January are as follows:

Rugby to London terminals (i.e. Euston)
valid on all trains Standard class £7,044 First class £11,540

There are cheaper fares to London terminals valid on London Midland trains only:
Standard class £5,080 First class £7,876

Rugby to Underground zones 1 - 6 (i.e. including the tube)
valid on all trains Standard class £7,468 First class £12,244

Rugby to Birmingham stations (i.e. New Street)
valid on Virgin Trains only Standard class £956 First class £1,468

Rugby to Birmingham stations (i.e. New Street)
valid on all trains Standard class £1,324 First class £2,056

The existing fares will apply only to season tickets dated to start on or before 1st January 2012. The new fares will apply to all tickets dated to start from 2nd January, irrespective of the date on which they are bought.

Season ticket rates for other journeys can be calculated using the National Rail season ticket calculator.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland aspire to 110 mph running (posted 15.10.11)

London Midland are developing proposals dubbed "Project 110" which would see the maximum speed of some of their trains on the West Coast Main Line increased from 100 mph to 110 mph. If the project is successful, this would see the Trent Valley trains diverted to run via Weedon (missing out Northampton) and reaching Rugby in 56 minutes from Euston with a stop at Milton Keynes (sadly it would be slower in the other direction). Services between Euston and Northampton would also be speeded up.

This project is subject to the usual Track Access Agreement, for which the necessary track access application has been submitted.

Tests are currently being carried out with a class 350 train to see what effect running at this increased speed would have on the train and Network Rail's infrastructure. It is expected the following on-train equipment would need to be modified:
• traction motors
• pantographs
• AWS equipment.
If both these tests and the Track Access Application are successful, trains could start running at 110 mph from the December 2012 timetable.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virgin franchise extended (posted 02.11.11)

Virgin Trains have won an 8 month extension to their franchise, which will see them continue to operate West Coast services until 9 December 2012. This extension will mean that Virgin will be responsible for the commissioning of the new Pendolino vehicles which will lengthen some trains to 11 cars, and also introduce four new 11 car trains.

The DfT has set tough targets which Stagecoach group (who own 49% of Virgin Trains) have described as "challenging". Under the agreement, Virgin will qualify for 80% revenue support during the extension period, but if revenues exceed the DfT's target then the Department would collect 80% of the excess. For further details see the DfT press release.

Virgin Trains are one of four bidders shortlisted to run the service under a new franchise from December 2012, the others being Keolis, First Group and Abellio (Dutch Railways).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland withdraw on-train catering (updated 18.09.11)

London Midland have withdrawn all on-train catering with effect from Saturday 27 August. A limited catering facility has been provided on some of their longer distance trains, but they have now decided this is not viable.

London Midland say that many of their services wait for around 10 minutes at Northampton and Stafford, where passengers will be able to buy refreshments from the catering outlets on the stations.

For further details see the London Midland website announcement.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Four bidders shortlisted for West Coast franchise (posted 29.03.11)

The Department for Transport (DfT) Rail Group has announced that four bidders have been shortlisted for the new West Coast franchise which starts in April 2012.

These are:
• Abellio InterCity West Coast Limited (NV Nederlandse Spoorwegen)
• First West Coast Limited (FirstGroup plc)
• Keolis / SNCF West Coast Limited (Keolis SA and SNCF)
• Virgin Trains Limited (Virgin Group Holdings Limited).
The successful bidder will be announced in the Autumn.

For further details see the DfT press statement, which also includes information on the Greater Anglia franchise.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

West Coast RUS gives some hope of through services to the North West (posted 11.07.11)

The West Coast Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) has now been published, and does give some hope of the restoration of through services between Rugby and the North West from 2013.

In the draft RUS there was a proposal (option JT1.2) for the Euston - Glasgow services to omit calls at some of the Lancashire stations to speed up journey times. An additional hourly Euston - Preston (or Blackpool) service would be provided to compensate for the loss of calls at Warrington and Wigan. This additional service would not have called at Rugby. It would appear that the proposal has now been modified so that this additional service should now call at Rugby or Nuneaton on alternate hours, thus providing both these stations with a through train every two hours to the North West. Whilst it is not possible to provide a workable path for this service in the existing timetable, the RUS does recommend that this option is taken into consideration by the timetable working group responsible for the 2013 timetable.

It is pleasing to see that Network Rail has taken notice of both RRUG's response and that of Passenger Focus, which highlighted the lack of services between Rugby and the North West as a gap in service provision which the RUS needed to address. It is to be hoped the timetable working group are able to incorporate this revised proposal into the 2013 timetable, thereby restoring services to the North West for which RRUG have been campaigning ever since their withdrawal in 2008.

The full RUS can be downloaded here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

January fare details announced (updated 29.11.11)

The following information may be out of date following the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Autumn Statement, in which he announced that regulated rail fares (which include season tickets) are to be capped at RPI plus 1% (i.e. 6%) in January. Further details will be given when known.

Details of the new fares from 2 January 2012 have been announced. The new season ticket rates from Rugby to London and Birmingham are shown below.

Rugby to London terminals (i.e. Euston)
valid on all trains
Standard class £7,172
First class £11,540

There are cheaper fares to London terminals valid on London Midland trains only:
Standard class £5,080
First class £7,876

Rugby to Underground zone 1 (i.e. including the tube)
valid on all trains
Standard class £7,608
First class £12,244

Rugby to Birmingham stations (i.e. New Street)
valid on Virgin Trains only
Standard class £956
First class £1,468

Rugby to Birmingham stations (i.e. New Street)
valid on all trains
Standard class £1,348
First class £2,092

Other season ticket rates are available from the National Rail season ticket calculator. For the new fares be sure to select a start date after 2nd January 2012.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alliance Rail resubmits track access proposals (updated 19.09.11)

Alliance Rail has resubmitted proposals for track access rights to operate train services on the West Coast main line.

Their original proposal, which was rejected by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) earlier this year, would have seen new services from London Euston to stations in West Yorkshire, Blackpool and the Cumbrian Coast starting in April 2012, when the Moderation of Competition on the West Coast Main Line is due to end. None of these new services would have called at Rugby.

However, Alliance Rail is now preparing new applications for services starting with the December 2013 timetable. One application is for services between Euston and stations in West Yorkshire, and the other for services between Euston, Blackpool and the Cumbrian Coast. The latter application is not as yet a firm proposal because further timetabling work with Network Rail will be necessary to identify whether suitable paths would be available.

Following detailed timetabling work, it has been identified that some of these proposed new services will need to be overtaken en-route by faster trains operated by the new West Coast franchisee. A suitable place where this could happen has been identified as Rugby, so it is possible that some of the new services could now call here.

Full details of the proposed application are available in the Alliance Rail consultation document.

There are likely to be other calls for paths on the limited spare capacity on the West Coast Main line from December 2013, and it remains to be seen which of the many expected proposals will eventually succeed. However this proposal does give further hope that some through services between Rugby and the North West will eventually be reintroduced.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Birmingham service increased to 4 trains per hour (updated 18.09.11)

London Midland are now running an additional train between Northampton, Rugby and Birmingham each hour during off-peak times on Mondays to Fridays and for most of the day on Saturdays. This started on Monday 5th September.

The additional trains departs from Rugby for Birmingham at xx.47 minutes past the hour, and from Birmingham to Rugby (and Northampton) at xx.13 minutes past the hour. However, the xx.47 from Rugby is overtaken at Coventry by the xx.51 Virgin train at Coventry so does not provide an effective service. These additional trains call at more stations between Coventry and Birmingham than the existing service, and are therefore slower. Nevertheless these changes are to be welcomed, particularly in the southbound direction as the new xx.13 from Birmingham will fill the existing 40 minute gap in services to Rugby.

These new trains are in most cases be linked with existing Northampton - Euston trains, thereby providing additional though trains between Rugby, Milton Keynes Central and intermediate stations to Watford.

A summary of the revised peak time service to Birmingham is available on the timetable page of this website, and the full service is shown on the National Rail Journey Planner.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New bus link from Central Park to the station (posted 18.09.11)

A new bus link is now running from Central Park to Rugby station.

New route 12 operates hourly on Mondays to Saturdays from Central Park via Tesco and the new college to Rugby station, then continuing via the town centre and Dunchurch to Daventry and Long Buckby. This is in part a replacement for the Geoff Amos service to Daventry and Banbury, which has ceased to operate.

Apart from the new link mentioned above, this will also provide an additional service between the station and the town centre, in both directions.

A timetable for this new service is available here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

October RRUG newsletter published (posted 13.10.11)

The latest RRUG newsletter, dated October 2011, has been published. It includes details of:
• Improved service to Birmingham
• Our continuing campaign for the restoration of through services to the North West
• Our response to consultation on HS2
• Details of the members' meeting on 24 November
• A report on the group's Annual General Meeting
The newsletter is available via the Newsletter section of this website, or by clicking here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RRUG response to West Coast franchise consultation (posted 28.04.11)

We have sent a detailed response to the West Coast franchise consultation document to the Department for Transport (DfT). Our main issues have been the restoration of regular through services to the North West, and later trains from London on a Saturday night. We also copied this response to our MP Mark Pawsey, who has replied by expressing support of these aims.

For further details see the Correspondence section of the members' area of this website under the heading "Correspondence re franchises".
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

McNulty Report recommends fares review (posted 19.05.11)

The long-awaited report into a review of the railways by Sir Roy McNulty has been published. It is no surprise that the investigation has highlighted that Britain’s railways are the most expensive in Europe, and identifies potential savings of £1 billion per year by 2019.

While much of the recommendations relate to the structure of the industry, working practises and staffing, the change most likely to affect passengers is a review of the fares structure. The report recommends there should be no substantial increases in fares, but rather the cost of peak and off-peak travel should be rebalanced. The transport secretary Phillip Hammond has hinted that there could be more time bands at the fringes of the peaks rather than the sudden drop in fares as soon as the peak times are over. This idea could, however, complicate the fares structure even further and would seem to contradict Sir Roy's view that the fares system is already too complicated.

Other recommendations include:
• there should be no line closures
• franchising should be reformed
• "devolution and decentralisation" within Network Rail, which manages the railway infrastructure
• a rail delivery group should be set up to "lead a substantial programme of change".
The full report is available by clicking here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland apply for changes to ticket office opening times (posted 02.03.11)

London Midland have submitted a proposal to the Department for Transport (DfT) to alter the opening times of the ticket offices at 86 of its stations, and to close 9 of them completely, including Cheddington and Adderley Park on the Euston - Birmingham route. These proposals do not affect Rugby because it is operated by Virgin Trains.

For further details see the special edition of the LM newsletter.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

West Coast franchise renewal postponed to December 2012 (updated 21.05.11)

To enable the recommendations on franchising made in the McNulty Report (see separate item) to be incorporated into the new West Coast franchise, The DfT has announced that the re-letting of this franchise will be delayed from April 2012 to December 2012. The department is currently in discussion with Virgin Trains about a possible extension to their franchise, but if this does not prove possible then the government-owned Directly Operated Railways will take over and operate the services during this period. See towards the end of the DfT press release on the McNulty Report. For this announcement.

The Department for Transport will now consult with interested parties on the draft Invitation to Tender documents, which are available by clicking here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ORR reject additional services on the West Coast Main Line (amended 15.03.11)

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has rejected all track access applications for additional services on the West Coast Main Line from April 2012. This means not only the open access applications from Grand Central and Alliance Rail but also the DfT proposal to run an additional train from Euston to the North West each hour at off-peak times.

Also rejected is London Midland's application to extend their Euston - Rugby - Crewe service to Liverpool, and to divert one of the Birmingham - Liverpool services to Preston. This latter proposal would have relieved the overcrowding on Virgin services between Birmingham and Lancashire stations, but it would seem this is not to be.

ORR have suggested that a completely recast timetable should be prepared to operate on the West Coast Main Line from 2013, when it might be possible to accommodate some of the proposed additional services. However, one of the reasons for refusing the additional services was the proposed North West electrification, although it has to be said that this would not affect the WCML itself, but only the proposed services to Blackpool.

Full details are shown in ORR's letter re track access applications on the West Coast Main Line.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Little change in Summer timetable (updated 14.05.11)

The Summer timetable starts on Sunday 22 May.

There is little change to services to and from Rugby. On the Birmingham line, London Midland trains will generally leave 1 minute later from Rugby, and there are some minor timing changes to late night trains from Euston.

On Summer Saturdays only (16 July to 10 September), there is a new through train from Edinburgh to Rugby via Birmingham. It leaves Edinburgh at 14.52 and arrives Rugby at 19.42. However, there is no corresponding service in the reverse direction.

A summary of peak services to Birmingham and London is on the Current timetable page of this website, and for full details see the National Rail journey planner.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RRUG newsletter (posted 18.05.11)

The latest RRUG newsletter has now been published. It contains details of the group's involvement in the re-letting of the West Coast franchise and the proposed radio station development.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Evening bus services withdrawn (posted 02.06.11)

Following the withdrawal of funding by Warwickshire County Council, most evening bus services in Rugby will be withdrawn from Monday 20 June. In general, all buses running after 20.00 will be withdrawn, although there will be some later buses on Friday and Saturday nights only.

This means that the last bus from Rugby station to the Town Centre (and Bilton) will be at 19.40 on Mondays to Thursdays, and at 22.40 on Fridays and Saturdays.

For further details see the Stagecoach bus website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virgin agree to use additional Pendolino (posted 04.06.11)

Virgin Trains have agreed to operate the new Pendolino from July this year. They had originally tied in the use of any additional trains to an extension to their franchise, but have now agreed to operate this new train anyway. However the train will operate as a 9-car set so as to be compatible with the existing trains, and not the full 11-car set as delivered. There are also problems with some platforms which will need to be extended before 11 car trains can call at them.

It is intended to use this additional train on Birmingham - Glasgow workings to ease overcrowding on some of the Voyagers. Its introduction should also ease the rolling stock situation a little and hopefully lead to less cancellations due to no available trains.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LM drivers' dispute resolved (updated 19.04.11)

The long running dispute between London Midland and the driver's union ASLEF concerning overtime payments has now been resolved. A negotiated settlement has been reached and the ASLEF membership recommended to accept the offer.

As a result, normal train services have now been resumed. This means that not only has a normal service been restored on Sundays, but the ad hoc cancellations that have been occurring in the week should also be a thing of the past.

For further details see the London Midland press release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Disruption to London Midland services (updated 15.03.11)

As a result of the ASLEF union not renewing an overtime agreement with London Midland, there are cancellations to some London Midland train services.

The effect on services and trains which are cancelled will vary from day to day. Where a train is cancelled, the next available London Midland service on that route may make additional calls to compensate where necessary.

For further details, including the schedule of trains to be cancelled, see the London Midland bulletin.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No London Midland trains from Rugby this Sunday (posted 07.04.11)

Once again there will be no London Midland train services from Rugby this Sunday, 10th April. This is due to an ongoing overtime dispute with the ASLEF trade union.

A connecting bus service will run between Rugby and Northampton, where there will be connections into an hourly train service to and from London Euston calling at all stations except Wolverton and Cheddington. Passengers for Coventry and Birmingham should use Virgin Trains services.

There will also be some cancellations to early morning trains on Monday 11th April due to trains and staff being out of position.

For further details see the London Midland website and the LM statement of 31 March.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No London Midland trains from Rugby this Sunday (posted 24.03.11)

Due to the continuing dispute with the ASLEF union concerning an overtime agreement, there will once again be no London Midland train services operating from Rugby station this Sunday, 27th March. There will, however, be a bus service between Rugby and Northampton. London Midland have advised passengers not to travel unless their journey is absolutely necessary. On Monday 28th March there will be some early morning cancellations due to trains being out of position.

For further details see the London Midland website.

London Midland have issued a statement dated 24 March and also produced a special edition of the LM newsletter explaining the situation. Although this latter document refers to Sunday 14 March, the information is still relevant to 27th March.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Station usage 2006-10 (updated 11.05.10)

Figures from the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) compare station usage over the period 2006/7 to 2009/10 for Warwickshire. Click here to view (Rugby is highlighted for easy reference).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

High speed 2: Mark Pawsey speaks up for Rugby rail users (posted 28.11.10)

At a recent House of Commons debate about the proposed new high speed rail line, our MP Mark Pawsey spoke up about the effect this would have on rail services at Rugby.

After the debate, Mark said “Despite the fact that the plans for HS2 do not affect the Rugby constituency directly in that the new line will not pass through it, my concern was the possible effect on current services offered from Rugby Station. Having brought this to the attention of the Minister, I am pleased that in her response she confirmed her view that the development of the new line should result in a better service available to Rail Users in Rugby.”

For full details see the press release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland apply to improve Birmingham - Northampton service (posted 29.12.10)

London Midland have submitted a track access application to improve services on the Birmingham - Rugby - Northampton route during off-peak times on Mondays to Fridays, and for most of the day on Saturdays, starting with the subsidiary timetable change date in May 2011.

Under this proposal, the existing local service which runs once each hour between Birmingham and Coventry would be extended to Northampton. This would give Rugby a more regular service of 3 stopping trains (LM) and one fast (Virgin) train to and from Birmingham each hour during Monday to Friday off-peak times and on Saturdays. It would also provide one additional train each hour between Rugby and Northampton at the same times. At Northampton, most of the additional trains would be integrated into the Euston - Northampton service, to save on reversing and shunt moves at that location. This would give some additional through trains between Rugby and Milton Keynes. Pathing constraints mean the improved service will not be possible during peak hours.

For full details of the application see the LM track access application.

The proposal has been submitted to Network Rail for consideration. After this, it will be forwarded to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) who will decide whether or not to approve it. We will therefore have to wait a while to see whether this proposal is accepted, but if so this would mean an improved train service for Rugby.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland hold unregulated fares (posted 05.12.10)

London Midland have announced that there will be no increase in unregulated fares on their services in the January fares increase. Regulated fares, including season tickets, will rise by 5.8% in line with the government's formula.

A selection of annual season ticket rates from 12 December on both Virgin and London Midland services is available in the Fares & Ticketing section of our useful information page.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DfT ignores Rugby in new timetable for West Coast main line (updated 16.11.10)

The Department for Transport (DfT) has ignored our representations about services to the North West in its proposed timetable which will operate on the West Coast main line (WCML) from April 2012.

When the franchise currently held by Virgin Trains expires, the DfT proposes that the successful bidder for the new franchise will use the additional Pendolinos to provide an additional train each hour between Euston and either Blackpool North or Lancaster. This will call at Milton Keynes, Warrington, Wigan and Preston. It will then allow the existing Glasgow trains to become non-stop from Euston to Preston, calling next at either Oxenholme or Penrith, thereby speeding up the service to Glasgow. This means that, disappointingly, there will still be no regular service from Rugby to the North West despite the provision of four extra trains. It also means that the DfT application is at variance with the ORR's own proposal for a service which would serve intermediate stations including Rugby.

This information has been obtained from a Track Access Application the DfT has submitted to the Office of Rail Regulation for approval. For details of the application see the track access application form , and for the service specification, including frequency and calling points, see the section 5 document .

The ORR must now consider the Dft's application along with those of aspiring "open access" operators seeking paths on the WCML, before reaching a decision on the services that will eventually operate.

We have now submitted a response to the ORR expressing our concerns for DfT's failure to fill the gap in service provision on the West Coast Main Line as far as Rugby is concerned. Please see under "Correspondence re services to the North" in the Correspondence section of the Members area of this website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland and open access applications for services on the West Coast main line (updated 12.11.10)

London Midland application

London Midland have submitted a Supplementary Track Access Application to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) to run additional trains on the Trent Valley line from May 2012.

If accepted, additional later trains will run serving stations between Rugby, Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe on Mondays to Fridays, and there would be an enhanced service on Sundays. Most of these will be an extension of existing services which currently run between Euston and Northampton or Rugby. At present operation of additional trains is restricted by the Moderation of Competition rules which protect the Virgin franchise, but these restrictions are being removed from the end of the franchise on April 2012. For full details see the London Midland track access application. A useful spin-off from this proposal would see 3 trains an hour between Northampton, Rugby and Birmingham at off-peak times on Monday to Friday and for most of the day on Saturdays. The draft timetable is available as an Appendix to the London Midland Business Case.

As part of a separate application, it is also proposed that the above services will be extended to Liverpool Lime Street, in place of one of the twice-hourly Birmingham - Liverpool trains which would be diverted instead to Preston calling at Hartford, Warrington and Wigan.

Although it is hoped to start these services in May 2012, this may have to be postponed to December of that year as planning for the Olympics might mean there will be no Subsidiary Change Date for timetables in May 2012. This is yet to be decided by the railway industry.

Open access applications

Open access operators Alliance Rail and Grand Central have also applied to operate services on the West Coast main line, but neither of these are proposed to call at Rugby. If approved, the Alliance Rail trains would be new bi-mode (electric/diesel) trains running between Euston, West Yorkshire and Cumbria, and Grand Central would run four trains per day between Euston and Blackpool using locomotive hauled stock. For full details see the Alliance Rail track access application. And the Grand Central track access application.

All these applications follow a request from ORR for potential operators to submit their service proposals for the West Coast main line to operate from Spring 2012. The application by the Department for Transport (DfT) for services on the West Coast Main Line (see separate news item) will be considered along with these proposals, and the ORR will make a decision on which services will run in due course.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

December timetable brings little change for Rugby (posted 20.11.10)

The Winter timetable starts on Sunday 12 December 2010.

Services to and from Rugby remain virtually unaltered, except for:
* a few minor retiming’s to some peak trains between Rugby and London
* the 18.46 Fridays only service from Euston will now have an official stop at Rugby.

For details of peak time train services from Rugby to London and Birmingham, see the Timetable section of this website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Spending review spares New Street redevelopment (posted 24.10.10)

Rail travellers to Birmingham will be interested to know that the major redevelopment of Birmingham New Street will still go ahead after the government's spending review. The associated extension of Midland Metro from Snow Hill through the streets of Birmingham to New Street will also go ahead, along with some new trams.

It has also been announced that the government will continue with its plans for a high speed rail link between London, the Midlands, Manchester and Leeds, with consultation expected to start next year.

New and cascaded rolling stock proposals are currently on hold pending a re-evaluation of the Intercity Express Project (IEP), except where the orders have already been placed. The order for additional and lengthened Pendolino trains should therefore still go ahead.

For further details see the Transport Spending Review Press Notice.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Warwickshire local transport plan aspires for rail improvements (posted 11.02.10)

The latest draft of the Warwickshire Local Transport Plan shows aspirations for many of the things RRUG has been campaigning for. These include:
* Restoration of regular through services to the North
* Two fast trains per hour throughout the day between Rugby and London
* Restoration of the Rugby - Gatwick service.

For full details see the Warwickshire Local Transport Plan 3rd draft.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DfT scuppers lengthening of full Pendolino fleet (posted 05.03.10)

According to reports in the railway press, the Department for Transport Rail Group has announced that it will not be taking up the option to order an extra 42 vehicles to lengthen all Pendolinos to 11 car trains.

This means that only the initial order for 4 new 11-car trains and 62 additional vehicles to lengthen 31 of the existing trains to 11 cars will go ahead. From 2012 therefore the Pendolino fleet will consist of 35 trains of 11 cars, and 21 trains of 9 cars.

This is expected to cause operational problems for whoever takes over the Virgin franchise, as the whole fleet will no longer be interchangeable. Particular length sets will therefore need to be allocated to specific workings, which will reduce the operational flexibility of the fleet. Inevitably this will mean that, when the service is disrupted, some trains which should be 11 cars will run with only 9, and vice versa.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regulated rail fares cap to increase, but not until 2012 (posted 24.10.10)

Following the government's spending review, Train Operating Companies will be permitted to increase regulated rail fares, including season tickets, by up to 3% above the rate of inflation. However, this will not take effect until the January 2012 fares increase. This means that the forthcoming fares revision in January 2011 will see regulated fares rise by a maximum of RPI + 1% as in previous years.

The Transport Spending Review Press Notice states "The Government will increase the cap on regulated rail fares from the current RPI +1% to an average annual increase of RPI +3% for three years from January 2012. Because the Government recognises the impact of relatively high inflation at present, it has decided to retain the RPI+1% average cap for 2011. This means fares will increase in real terms by 10% over the next four years. This fare increase will mean the Government can deliver priority capacity improvements on the rail network to relieve overcrowding and improve passenger comfort."
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Train services during adverse weather (posted 22.12.10)

The current adverse weather is causing disruption to train services for a number of reasons, in particular:
1. frozen points which means they cannot be operated
2. damage to trains caused by the freezing conditions
3. icicles falling from overhead line equipment and tunnel roofs onto tilting trains and breaking windows.

To mitigate against these problems as far as possible, the following arrangements are in force.

1. As many points as possible are being set for through running moves only. This means that they cannot be used to switch trains from one line to another, thereby restricting possible train movements. One area where this applies is between Euston and Milton Keynes (both exclusive). As a result, Virgin trains are restricted to the fast lines, and London Midland trains are restricted to the slow lines. This loss of flexibility means the Euston - Tring services are not running, nor are the peak extra trains between Euston and Watford Junction. Other trains are making additional calls as a replacement, which is one of the reasons why London Midland trains are running late.

2. Both Virgin and London Midland have a number of trains out of use with frost damage. This means that fewer trains are available for service and some have had to be cancelled until these can be repaired.

3. The tilt function has been disabled on Virgin Pendolinos and Voyagers to prevent icicles falling onto and breaking train windows. This means that trains can only run at 100mph instead of 125mph. Trains will therefore take longer to complete their journey and in consequence will not be in the right place at the right time to start their next working. For this reason, one train each hour between Euston and Manchester, and one train each hour between Euston and Birmingham have been cancelled. Other trains are making additional stops as a replacement, resulting in further delays. As the day progresses, delays will become more severe as the knock on effect of trains being out of position increases.

This information has been gleaned from a number of sources within the railway industry, but is not an official announcement. We have published it to give you a better understanding of why services continue to be delayed, even when there has been no recent snowfall.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Plan for high speed line announced (updated 20.05.10)

Transport Minister Lord Adonis has announced the government's plan for a high speed rail link between London and Birmingham. If built, the line would not serve Rugby but run through the Chilterns and then between Leamington and Coventry to an interchange with the existing rail network at Birmingham international, then on to a new station in Birmingham at Curzon Street. London to Birmingham times of 49 minutes have been quoted.

The closest to Rugby the line would come is to the south of Southam. Full details are shown on the PDF map showing route of high speed line near Southam, or alternatively you can view a PDF map of the entire route.

Work is not expected to start before 2017 at the earliest, but with the current economic climate it could be many years before this project comes to fruition. It will have no direct impact on Rugby, but should free up some capacity on the existing West Coast Main Line for, hopefully, an improved service to intermediate stations.

The new coalition government has now stated it supports the development of high speed rail.

For further details see the BBC News item on the high speed line.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cheaper car parking in station car park (posted 15.08.10)

Virgin Trains have reduced the peak time charge for the station car parks at Rugby to £4.50 until further notice. All other charges at the station car parks remain unaltered.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virgin franchise extension rejected (posted 12.10.10)

The Department for Transport (DfT) has rejected Virgin's bid for an extension to their franchise. This means that Virgin's franchise to operate the West Coast main line will end as originally planned in Spring 2012.

Theresa Villiers, Minister of State for Transport, is reported as saying “We won’t be accepting Virgin’s proposal for an extension. We think it’s important to open franchises to competition and we’re likely to get better value for taxpayers and the government.”

Ms Villiers also said that the franchising system was under review and the DfT would like the West Coast franchise to be included in the changes. She did, however, encourage Virgin Trains to bid for the new franchise when the tender invitations are issued.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Services to the North - a ray of hope (posted 21.09.10)

In determining its specification for the post-April 2012 timetable, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has asked Network Rail to develop plans for an additional off-peak service from Euston on Mondays to Fridays. This would leave at xx.33 minutes past each hour from 07.33 to 15.33, and would call at Milton Keynes, Rugby, Nuneaton and Crewe. A similar hourly service would be provided in the reverse direction, starting after the morning peak time arrivals at Euston. Should this come to fruition, not only would it restore a direct link from Rugby to the North, but also provide a new fast service between Rugby and Milton Keynes.

Network Rail have also been asked to develop options to extend this service to Preston, Blackpool, Bradford, Leeds or Blackburn. Timings are therefore based on the use of a class 221 tilting Voyager train.

Whilst it cannot be assumed at this stage that such a service will be introduced, it is encouraging to note that if any additional trains are to run on the West Coast Main Line from 2012 then this is the most likely scenario. Whoever operates these services will therefore need to use 125 mph trains, which may well rule out many if not all of the 19 potential operators who have expressed an interest in providing additional train services on the West Coast Main Line.

The ORR remit can be viewed in full by clicking here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Additional bus service to Rugby station (updated 24.09.10)

An additional bus service to Rugby station from Bilton and Brownsover will be introduced from Monday 27 September.

New service 4A, operated by A-Line Travel, will run from Brownsover via the rail station and town centre to Bilton, terminating at the top end of Frobisher Road. This service will operate every 30 minutes on Mondays to Saturdays between about 09.00 and 14.30. There will be in gap in the service around lunchtime.

This service will operate in competition with the existing Stagecoach route 4, and will offer cheaper fares for travellers to and from the station.

For further details and times please click here.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Government cuts to affect rail (updated 28.05.10)

The chancellor George Osborne has stated that, as part of the £6.2bn cuts in government expenditure, the Department for Transport will have to make savings of £683m. Although some of this will come from cancelled road schemes, the effect on rail will include:
* £100m cut in Network Rail's budget
* reduction in rolling stock orders
* cancellation of stations improvement scheme
* reduction in grants to local authorities for transport projects.

Details of how the cuts will affect individual schemes will become known in due course, and will result from discussions between Network Rail, the Train Operating Companies for the railway industry, and Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond and Minister for Railways Theresa Villiers for the government.

However, the government remains committed to the proposed new high speed rail line, and will introduce a hybrid bill "in due course". This means that there is no specific timescale for the bill, partly because there will be further consultation on the route the new line will take. They will also look at linking the existing high speed line (HS1) will the new HS2 line, which would facilitate through workings between the Midlands and south east England, and possibly even Europe.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virgin Trains apply to extend franchise (posted 15.08.10)

Virgin Trains have applied to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) to extend their franchise to the timetable change date in December 2013. As the DfT are currently renewing the franchising system, it seems likely that this extension will be granted.

We also understand that the DfT do not wish the start of the new West Coast franchise to coincide with the delivery and commissioning of the new Pendolino vehicles currently on order. It could transpire, therefore, that the additional and longer Pendolinos will after all operate for a short while under the existing Virgin franchise.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Services to the North - Minister gives non-committal answer (posted 12.03.10)

Following a request by RRUG, our MP Jeremy Wright asked a question in the House of Commons about the future provision of rail services between Rugby, the North West and Scotland.

Chris Mole replied by saying that the existing Virgin Trains franchise would expire in 2012. Interested stakeholders will be able to give their views on future train services when consultation on the new franchise starts around the end of this year.

For further details see the Hansard except for 2 March and scroll down to the item headed "Railways - Rugby".
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ponder car park in Railway Terrace now closed (updated 22.07.10)

The Ponder car park, on the site of the old cattle market in Railway Terrace, has now closed.

The three car parks run by NCP on behalf of Virgin Trains, together with the other car park operated by Ponder in Mill Road, remain in operation.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Timetable and rolling stock changes in Summer holidays (updated 24.06.10)

During the Summer school holiday period, there will be changes to the Birmingham - Glasgow service to provide additional capacity. This will be done by substituting 9-car Pendolinos for 5-car Voyagers on some services. To facilitate this, two Euston - Birmingham services will be combined with Birmingham - Glasgow services to provide through trains between Euston and Glasgow via Coventry and Birmingham. There will be two similar workings in the reverse direction.

However, to provide the Pendolinos the following services on the Euston - Birmingham route will be formed of 5-car Voyagers instead of 9-car Pendolinos:
* 08.03 Euston - Birmingham (Rugby 08.51)
* 11.43 Euston - Birmingham (does not call at Rugby)
* 15.23 Euston - Birmingham (does not call at Rugby)
* 20.03 Euston - Birmingham (Rugby 20.51)
* 06.20 Rugby - Euston
* 09.50 Birmingham - Euston (Rugby 10.24)
* 10.30 Birmingham - Euston (does not call at Rugby)
* 13.30 Birmingham - Euston (does not call at Rugby)
* 17.45 Wolverhampton - Euston (does not call at Rugby).

These changes will apply from 19 July until 3 September.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

8-car Pendolino (posted 31.05.10)

Following a shunting accident at Oxley carriage sidings, a vehicle has been removed for repair from one of the Pendolino trains. This means that this train will run with 8 cars instead of 9 while the damaged vehicle is repaired.

Virgin have stated that they intend to use this train on Euston - Birmingham / Wolverhampton workings, where capacity should be less of a problem. However, the 8-car Pendolino has already been reported on other workings.

This situation is expected to continue for several weeks.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Virgin Trains respond to RRUG issues (posted 06.02.10)

Following a meeting with Tracy Hall of Virgin Trains, we have received responses to several outstanding issues. These include
* December 2009 timetable changes
* Boarding restrictions on the 18.33 ex Euston on Fridays
* Contingency timetable arrangements
* Rugby station facilities
* Changes to off-peak travel restrictions.

Please see the Notes of meeting with Tracy Hall - 02.02.10 for full details.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RRUG asks prospective parliamentary candidates for their views (posted 03/04/10)

RRUG has sent a questionnaire to all prospective candidates for the forthcoming General Election, asking them for their views on the issues that RRUG are campaigning for.

So far, we have had responses from the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and UKIP candidates. The responses can be viewed by clicking on the links below.

Conservative response
Liberal Democrat response
UKIP response
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RMT strike suspended (updated 06.04.10)

Following the successful appeal by Network Rail to the high court, the proposed strike action by signalling staff who belong to the RMT has been suspended.

Normal train services will therefore run from Tuesday to Friday, 6 to 9 April.

However, industrial action is still possible at some time in the future as the RMT intends to re-ballot its members and the vote could favour a strike.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Further road works outside Rugby station (updated 30.03.10)

Severn Trent Water will be carrying out work at the junction of Station Approach and Murray Road from Monday 29 March until Friday 9 April. During this time, the single line traffic section through the tunnel will be extended across Station Approach by using temporary traffic lights, and the end of Station Approach will be partially closed.

Station Approach will be one way only at the junction, for traffic from Murray Road to the front of the station in that direction only. Traffic from the station area to Murray Road / Mill Road will have to circulate via Railway Terrace and Craven Road.

The bus stops for route 4 and other buses serving the station have temporarily been moved approx. 80 yards up Murray Road.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RMT strike action suspended (updated 31.03.10)

Following the successful appeal by Network Rail to the high court, the strike by RMT signallers due to take place from Tuesday 6 to Friday 9 April has been cancelled. If a further ballot takes place and the result is in favour of industrial action, arrangements similar to those shown below will operate.

The Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) have called a strike of signalling staff from Tuesday 6th April until Friday 9th April, from 06.00 to 10.00 and from 18.00 to 22.00 on each day. Network Rail are making contingency arrangements to staff a limited number of signal boxes between 07.00 and 19.00 on these days. As a result, train services on many routes will be cancelled altogether, and the lines which remain open will have a restricted service.

On the strike days, London Midland train services which normally serve Rugby are expected to be revised as follows:
* Birmingham - Rugby - Northampton. 2 trains per hour.
* Northampton - Milton Keynes - Watford - London Euston. 4 trains per hour.
* Rugby - Trent Valley stations - Stoke-on-Trent - Crewe. 1 train per hour.
All services will have ceased by 19.00. This means that last trains from many stations will depart significantly before that time, in order to reach their destination before 19.00.

Virgin Trains intend to run the following services. Again, these will run between 07.00 and 19.00 only.
* London Euston - Birmingham New Street. 2 trains per hour, of which 1 per hour extended to / from Wolverhampton.
* London Euston - Manchester Piccadilly via Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe. 2 trains per hour.
* London Euston - Glasgow Central. Near normal service between 07.00 and 19.00, diverted via (but not calling at) Stoke-on-Trent.
* Birmingham - Glasgow and Edinburgh. Normal frequency north of Crewe. No service Birmingham - Crewe.
Stopping points will be revised as necessary to provide a train service to intermediate stations normally served by trains which will not run on these days.

For London commuters, these changes will mean that the first train from Rugby to Euston will be at 07.05 arriving Euston at 07.59, although this will be overtaken by another train leaving at 07.08 arriving Euston at 07.57. Last trains from Euston to Rugby will be at 16.23 and 17.23.

For Birmingham commuters, the first train will leave Rugby at 07.47 and call at all stations to Birmingham New Street arriving at 08.35. The last trains from Birmingham to Rugby, again calling at all stations, will be at 16.53 and 17.23.

There will be no service, either by London Midland or Virgin, between Wolverhampton and Stafford. Passengers between Birmingham and the North West will be expected to travel on Cross Country trains to Nuneaton. Virgin trains will be calling additionally at Nuneaton to connect with the Cross Country service.

Full details of which services will be running during the strike for all Train Operating Companies are on the special National Rail dispute website.

For timetables of trains serving Rugby on strike days please click on the links below:
London Midland timetables
Virgin Trains timetable
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Improved customer satisfaction and better information during disruptions from London Midland (posted 21.03.10)

The March issue of 'On track', the London Midland newsletter, reports that customer satisfaction according to the latest National Passenger Survey now 87%, and that the Public Performance Measure for February is up 6% to 89.3%. Information to customers during disruptions will also now improve following the issue of Blackberries or PDAs to on-train staff.

Further details of these and other items of interest are in the March issue of 'On track', the London Midland newsletter.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

London Midland keeps seven 'old' trains (updated 09.01.10)

The new class 350/2 trains recently delivered to London Midland were originally intended to replace all the 'old' class 321 trains (the class 321 trains are the old purple and green trains formerly operated by Silverlink County). All the class 321s are planned to be cascaded to other train operating companies to boost their services.

However, it has now been agreed that London Midland will keep seven of the old class 321 trains, in addition to all the new class 350s. This is to alleviate overcrowding on some of the Northampton - Euston peak hour services, where the retained class 321s will be mainly used. Class 321s also work the Watford - St Albans branch which is not currently cleared for class 350 operation. The seven trains affected are being repainted into London Midland colours.br>
London Midland now has 30 class 350/1 trains (with 2 + 2 seating), 37 class 350/2 trains (with 3 + 2 seating) and 7 class 321 trains (with 3 + 2 seating) for operation on routes which include those serving Rugby.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Road works outside Rugby station (posted 05.03.10)

Because of road works being carried out by Central Networks, the junction of Murray Road and Station Approach is closed for a few days.

This means there is no access from Murray Road or Mill Road tunnel to the station, including car park No. 1. Traffic arriving at the station via Railway Terrace will not be able to proceed past the entrance to car park No. 1.

The bus stops in Murray Road have been temporarily located approximately 100 yards further from the station, the other side of Abbey Street. Bus passengers therefore have further to walk between the bus stops and the station, and should allow extra time for this.

This situation is expected to continue for approximately one week.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Return of regular loco hauled trains (updated 14.02.10)

To cover for Pendolinos currently out of service, some Euston - Birmingham workings will normally be worked by a class 90 electric locomotive and the refurbished Virgin Mark 3 coaches until further notice.

These workings will be:
- 07.03 Euston - Birmingham (Rugby 07.51)
- 10.43 Euston - Birmingham
- 14.43 Euston - Birmingham
- 19.03* Euston - Birmingham (Rugby 19.51)
- 08.50 Birmingham - Euston (Rugby 09.23)
- 12.30 Birmingham - Euston
- 16.30 Birmingham - Euston
- 20.50* Birmingham - Euston (Rugby 21.23)

* On Fridays, these trains will be worked by a Pendolino, and the loco hauled set will operate the 18.46 relief train from Euston to Preston.

The loco-hauled set may also work a few services between Euston and Birmingham at weekends.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Services returning to normal following adverse weather (posted 10.01.10)

Following the recent adverse weather, train services operated by Virgin Trains and London Midland are returning to normal.

However, the bad weather has taken its toll on the rolling stock and as a result both Virgin and London Midland are temporarily short of trains. On Virgin Trains this will cause some short notice cancellations and use of 5-car Voyagers in place of 9-car Pendolinos on some trains. London Midland will try to provide a full service, although some trains will run with fewer carriages than normal to enable this to happen.

Please see the National Rail journey planner, Virgin Trains website and London Midland website, but be aware that these sites cannot be guaranteed to show some last minute changes.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Summary of December 2008 timetable changes (posted 19.06.10)

A summary of the effect the current (December 2008) timetable had on journey opportunities from Rugby has been added to the Miscellaneous section of the 'Useful information' page of this website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Services to the North - the campaign continues (posted 27.10.09)

Following Chris Gibb's refusal at our September meeting to consider any improvements to services to the North, we have written to him again asking for the a couple of minor improvements which were not suggested at the meeting.

These propose firstly that, when the 19.58 ex Preston is cancelled, Virgin will guarantee that the last Glasgow - Euston train will call at Rugby as a replacement. This has happened on occasions, but we have asked for it to be guaranteed. The other proposal is that on Saturdays the last Liverpool - Euston train should call additionally at Rugby, as it does on all other days of the week. Whilst far from ideal, if these proposals are accepted they would at least give us a guaranteed return service from the north every day of the week.

We have also written to our MP Jeremy Wright asking for him to pursue the restoration of services to the North with the Department for Transport, who are responsible for setting the service requirements.

Both letters can be found in the Correspondence section of the Members' area of this website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Winter timetable now in operation (updated 15.12.09)

The Winter timetable started on Sunday, 13 December. Following the major changes to the timetable in December 2008, there are very few changes this time. The main changes are as follows:
* A few trains retimed by up to 3 minutes on both the Rugby - London and Rugby - Birmingham routes
* 18.46 Fridays only from London to Preston no longer calls at Rugby (calls additionally at Crewe instead)
* 22.43 and 23.43 Euston to Wolverhampton retimed to depart at 22.30 and 23.30 respectively.

Full details of the services operating are shown in the National Rail journey planner.

A summary of the new peak time services to both London and Birmingham can be found by selecting "Current Rugby timetable" from the menu on the left-hand side of this page.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Live departure boards now show platform numbers (updated 03.11.09)

Following an update of the National Rail website, the live departure boards for Rugby now show platform numbers.

Platform numbers for London Midland services between Northampton and Birmingham are shown well in advance of departure. Platform numbers for Virgin Trains, and the London Midland Trent Valley service, are usually only shown shortly before departure.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No chance of service to the North for the immediate future - Virgin Trains (posted 06.10.09)

At the RRUG members' meeting on 23 September, Chris Gibb - Chief Operating Officer of Virgin Trains, gave no hope of any additional services between Rugby and the North for the remainder of the Virgin Trains franchise. He explained that the timetable was tightly specified by the Department for Transport, and the business case centred around fast and frequent services over longer distances. This is at the expense of services to intermediate stations, which are not seen as such good revenue generators.

Our best hope would appear to be to try and persuade the Department for Transport to reconsider service provision at Rugby when the franchise is due for renewal, and the Moderation of Competition rules are relaxed. Another possibility would be to hope that an open access operator would see the value in a service between Rugby and the North.

Full details of Chris Gibb's presentation to RRUG, and the subsequent discussion forum, can be found by selecting "Meeting minutes" from the Members' area menu, and then "Members' meeting notes".
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Winter schedules bring rolling stock changes (posted 17.09.09)

The introduction of the Winter schedules has brought some changes to rolling stock workings, as detailed below.

Virgin Trains

The use of Pendolino trains on Birmingham to Glasgow and Edinburgh services, which was brought in to reduce overcrowding on that route in the Summer, has ended. Following the return of these trains to London-based services, the regular use of 5-car Voyagers on some Euston - Birmingham workings, including those serving Rugby, has ended. This will be welcomed by off-peak passengers from Rugby who have had to travel on overcrowded short trains.

London Midland / Southern

Following the delivery of more new trains from Bombardier Transport UK Ltd to the Thameslink route, Southern class 377 trains are beginning to reappear on the Milton Keynes - East Croydon service. This in turn will release more class 350s to work on London Midland services, allowing all but seven of the old class 321 trains to be returned off-lease for eventual use with other Train Operating Companies.

The winter schedules on Virgin and London Midland do not involve any actual timetable changes, only revised rolling stock working.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RRUG submission to Warwickshire's local transport plan (posted 15.09.09)

RRUG has been invited to submit comments on stage 1 of Warwickshire County Council's local transport plan.

Our submission can be found in the members' area of this website, under 'Correspondence'.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Loco hauled trains update (posted 14.09.09)

Virgin Trains have taken delivery of their refurbished set of Mark 3 locomotive hauled coaches. These have been painted in a similar livery to the Pendolinos, and have been refurbished internally. They will normally be hauled by a class 90 electric locomotive hired in from DB Schenker (formerly EWS), but can also work with a Virgin 'Thunderbird' class 57 diesel.

These coaches will normally work the Fridays only 18.46 relief train from Euston to Preston, which serves Rugby. For a while, they will also work some Euston - Birmingham trains pending the return of an accident-damaged Pendolino train. When not required for these duties, Virgin Trains have announced that these coaches will be available for charter train work.

The hotch-potch set of red and blue & grey coaches which Virgin were previously using have been returned off-lease to owners Cargo D.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RRUG pursues issues with contingency timetable (updated 11.07.09)

We are continuing to press Virgin Trains for improvements to the contingency timetable which is introduced whenever there are line capacity problems on the West Coast main line.

It has become practice with the contingency timetable for the Virgin trains which normally call at Rugby (the xx.03 ex Euston) to be cancelled, and the following Wolverhampton service (at xx.23) to call there instead. This means passengers travelling between London and Rugby incur a 20 minute delay every time the contingency timetable operates. It also means that during peak hours the replacement trains are overcrowded because they not only carry displaced Rugby passengers, but all the other passengers to the West Midlands who would have travelled on the cancelled train. RRUG believes that it would cause less delay and ease overcrowding if, when the contingency timetable operates, a Rugby stop was added to the xx.07 Liverpool service instead. This would also provide a connection into the Trent Valley line service at Rugby, which otherwise is lost with the contingency timetable.

We have been in correspondence with Virgin Trains, who initially sent us a 'holding' letter saying they were waiting for the new timetable to settle in before investigating further. As the new timetable has now been in operation for four months, we wrote again to Virgin Trains suggesting they adopt the alternative arrangements outlined above. We now have a response from Virgin Trains which, while not promising they will adopt our suggestions, do give an undertaking that the contingency timetable arrangements will be investigated further.

We also have had a similar response from London Midland about the new timetable in general and also their contingency arrangements.

Our correspondence with Virgin Trains and London Midland is available in the Correspondence section of Members' area of this website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RRUG pursues issues with emergency timetable (posted 11.07.09)

We are continuing to press Virgin Trains for improvements to the contingency timetable which is introduced whenever there are line capacity problems on the West Coast main line.

It has become practice with the contingency timetable for the Virgin trains which normally call at Rugby (the xx.03 ex Euston) to be cancelled, and the following Wolverhampton service (at xx.23) to call there instead. This means passengers travelling between London and Rugby incur a 20 minute delay every time the contingency timetable operates. It also means that during peak hours the replacement trains are overcrowded because they not only carry displaced Rugby passengers, but all the other passengers to the West Midlands who would have travelled on the cancelled train. RRUG believes that it would cause less delay and ease overcrowding if, when the contingency timetable operates, a Rugby stop was added to the xx.07 Liverpool service instead. This would also provide a connection into the Trent Valley line service at Rugby, which otherwise is lost with the contingency timetable.

We have been in correspondence with Virgin Trains, who initially sent us a 'holding' letter saying they were waiting for the new timetable to settle in before investigating further. As the new timetable has now been in operation for four months, we wrote again to Virgin Trains suggesting they adopt the alternative arrangements outlined above. We now have a response from Virgin Trains which, while not promising they will adopt our suggestions, do give an undertaking that the contingency timetable arrangements will be investigated further.

We also have had a similar response from London Midland about the new timetable in general and also their contingency arrangements.

Our correspondence with Virgin Trains and London Midland is available in the Correspondence section of Members' area of this website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Response to snagging list for new station (updated 10.07.09)

We presented our snagging list of outstanding issues with the new station to representatives from Virgin Trains and Network Rail at a meeting on 23 March. We now have a response to several, but not all, of the points we raised. These are shown in italics on the Snagging list for Rugby station with VT responses.

Of particular interest was the commitment to completely rebuild the stairway to platform 1 to give seven steps per flight instead of eight, which we had raised as an urgent safety issue. This work has now been completed.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Loss of through trains to the north - the campaign continues (posted 23.07.09)

RRUG is continuing in its campaign to restore as many through trains as possible between Rugby, the North West and Scotland, following the withdrawal of almost all of these facilities in December 2008.

Whilst we recognise that requests for major changes to the timetable in the short term are unlikely to succeed, we have written to Chris Gibb, Chief Executive of Virgin Trains, to ask for an improvement to the southbound evening service. Whilst we have one morning train to Glasgow at 06.44, there is no corresponding southbound evening service. On Saturdays and Sundays, there is no through train from the North West to Rugby at all. We have therefore asked that these facilities be restored from the December 2009 timetable.

We appreciate that Virgin Trains and the Department for Transport are seeking to maximise revenue from their investment in the West Coast Main Line by providing as fast a service between London and Glasgow as possible. However, we believe that this consideration is less important at the extremes of the traffic day, and hope they will seriously consider our request. We will update this page when we get a reply.

It remains our aim to restore a regular service to the North West and Scotland as soon as possible. To this end we have commented about the loss of service in our response to Network Rail's draft Route Utilisation Strategy which is currently being prepared.

RRUG members can see a copy of the letter we have sent to Chris Gibb and also our submission to the West Coast Route Utilisation Strategy by logging in to the members' area and looking under 'Correspondence'.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Network Rail's £50m package to improve performance (posted 24.07.09)

Network Rail has announced a £50 million package of improvements for the West Coast Main Line. Among the initiatives are:
* specialist trouble-shooters at 20 key locations on the route at the busiest times of the day
* a new maintenance organisation for the section between London and Rugby (the most heavily used part of the route)
* an accelerated replacement programme for the most unreliable equipment (not everything was replaced during the upgrade)
* more patrols and monitoring equipment to combat cable theft
* closer management of faults to accelerate recovery from incidents.

This package of improvements follows much criticism of the infrastructure following completion of the West Coast Route Modernisation Project. It aims to improve performance of points, signalling and overhead line equipment, thereby increasing the reliability of the train service.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Going faster through Bletchley (updated 21.07.09)

London commuters will be pleased to know that, following the removal of point work immediately south of Bletchley station on the fast lines, the associated speed restrictions at this point have now been withdrawn.

Pendolino and Voyager trains are therefore able to run at the full line speed of 125 mph through this area, instead of slowing down to 75 mph as at present.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Loco hauled trains update (updated 11.07.09)

A set of Mark 3 coaches is currently being refurbished at Wabtec in Doncaster for use as a spare train set for Virgin Trains. The coaches will be overhauled both mechanically and cosmetically, including the fitting of power points for mobile phones and, hopefully, Wi-Fi equipment. The coaches will be finished in a new livery similar to the Pendolinos. Pending the delivery of these coaches to Virgin Trains, a temporary set of Mark 3 coaches is in use, consisting of some ex Virgin vehicles and others hired in from Cargo-D. Both this temporary set and the refurbished set which will replace it when it arrives, will be hauled by a class 90 locomotive with a driving van trailer at the other end.

The temporary set is now in use, with the refurbished set expected to replace it later this Summer.

These coaches are currently being used on three Euston - Birmingham and return workings, because of a shortage of Pendolino trains (see separate item).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Damage to Pendolinos brings rolling stock changes (updated 11.07.09)

A Virgin Pendolino train is currently out of use following a low-speed collision and derailment in Wembley depot. This collision affected two Pendolino trains, one of which has now been returned to service. The other train has substantial bodyside damage and is expected to be out of use until August. As a result, Virgin Trains have announced the following alterations to rolling stock workings:

* 06.20 Rugby - Euston will be formed of a 5-car Voyager
* 07.43, 11.43 and 15.43 Euston - Birmingham will be formed of a locomotive hauled set (These trains do not call at Rugby)
* 09.30, 13.30 and 17.30 Birmingham - Euston will be formed of a locomotive hauled set (These trains do not call at Rugby)
* 18.46 Fridays only Euston - Preston will be formed of a 5-car Voyager.

These alterations will apply until further notice.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stairs to platform 1 closed for reconstruction (posted 29.04.09)

The stairs from the ticket office to platform 1 closed on 29 April for approximately four weeks. This is to enable safety improvement work to be carried out, which will include fewer steps in each flight and anti-slip measures on the treads.

While the work takes place, a temporary alternative staircase is in use outside the building. The lift will continue to provide direct access from the ticket office to the platform waiting area.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Service disruptions - RRUG writes to Virgin Trains (posted 22.01.09)

Regular travellers will be well aware that the new timetable has not settled in smoothly. Following a series of overhead line problems which caused severe disruption to train services between Sunday 4 January and Wednesday 7 January, there was further disruption the following week due to a number of train failures.

RRUG is most concerned that the contingency plans for dealing with such incidents do not serve Rugby passengers at all well, with cancelled trains and long gaps in the service.

We have written to Virgin Trains expressing our concerns and asking for the needs of Rugby passengers to be better catered for in the future. Please see the Letter to Virgin re service disruption - January 2009

Network Rail is to carry out an investigation into these incidents, and the Office of Rail Regulation has issued a press release stating that they are closely monitoring Network Rail's investigation, and will be expecting some answers.

You can read the ORR press release at ORR press release - OLE problems.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Full timetable now in operation (updated 17.02.09)

The final introduction of Virgin's full VHF timetable on the West Coast main line took place on Monday 16 February. Some London Midland services which were temporarily cancelled have been restored, and Southern's service via the West London Line has been extended to Milton Keynes.

The following alterations therefore apply on Mondays to Fridays, unless otherwise stated:

Virgin Trains

* xx.10 minutes past each hour from Euston to Chester or North Wales, and the corresponding return services now run throughout the day. These additional trains will also run on Saturdays.
* 16.30 Euston - Glasgow no longer calls at Rugby. Passengers should use the new 16.33 service.
* 16.33 Euston - Preston additional train, calling Rugby at 17.21.
* 08.15 Manchester - Euston additional train. (this train does not call at Rugby)
* 19.58 Preston - Euston additional train, calling Rugby at 21.27. (This is the return working of the 16.33 Euston)

London Midland

* 11.13, 12.13, 13.13 Euston - Northampton additional trains.
* 11.56, 12.56 and 13.56 Tring - Euston additional trains.

The additional stops temporarily inserted into other services in place of the above trains have been withdrawn.

Southern

* The East Croydon to Watford Junction service via the West London Line has been extended to Milton Keynes on Mondays to Saturdays.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fares and miscellaneous changes - January 2008 (posted 04.01.08)

A summary of fares and miscellaneous charges affecting Rugby rail users as at January 2008, together with comparisons of previous years, is now available.

Please see Fares and charges - January 2008
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pendolino lengthening gets the go ahead at last (posted 09.08.08)

The DfT Rail Group has announced that Virgin Rail Projects has been awarded a "Notice to proceed" with the purchase of 62 Pendolino vehicles, which will enable 31 of the nine car sets to be lengthened to 11 cars. Additionally, four new 11 car trains will be built, bringing the total fleet to 56 trains (there were originally 53, but one train was written off following the Lambrigg derailment last year).

The trains will be in service by December 2012, which is after the current Virgin franchise ends. It is therefore possible that the new trains will enter service with another operator, and that is why the project is being managed by Virgin Rail Projects, rather than Virgin Trains itself. Either way, it is good news that much needed additional capacity will be provided, and it is to be hoped that the option to purchase another 42 vehicles to enable the rest of the fleet to be similarly lengthened, will also be taken up.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Voyagers reformed for Chester / North Wales service

In connection with the new hourly service between London and Chester and an improved service into North Wales which is now in operation, Virgin Trains is reforming its class 221 'Super Voyager' 5-car diesel trains.

Each train is being reformed so the shop is in the coach next to First Class, although the shop itself will be at the far end of that carriage. The seats in this coach are also being rearranged mainly into groups of four at a table, so this accommodation can be used for either first or standard class travel as required by demand. These changes will also be made to the additional Voyager trains that Virgin is acquiring from Cross Country, as and when they are transferred.

The only one of these trains serving Rugby is the 08.46 from Rugby to Euston, which is formed of two 5-car Voyagers.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Major changes to ticket system (updated 18.12.08)

The Association of Train Operating Companies has made major changes to the ticketing system. This is intended to simplify the range of fares available and make it easier for passengers to understand.

There are three main types of ticket; 'Advance', 'Off-peak' and 'Anytime'. All tickets fall into one of these categories. These changes do not, in themselves, result in any changes to ticket prices.

For further details see Changes to ticket types - description and availability and also the National Rail new fares web page.

Passengers intending to buy tickets on-line are advised to use the relevant Train Operating Company websites. Supposedly 'neutral' sites such as The Train Line and Qjump charge a booking fee.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Engineering work update (updated 19.09.08)

Saturday and Sunday, 20/21 September

Because of signalling commissioning work, there will be delays to Virgin train services between Rugby and London Euston (and vice versa) from 20.00 on Saturday until 13.00 on Sunday on both these weekends. London Midland services in the Rugby area will not be affected.

A revised timetable will be in operation. Full details, will be available on the National Rail journey planner as and when these become available.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Car park changes - meet the managers this Monday (posted 15.08.08)

To explain the changes to car parking arrangements at Rugby station that will take place later this month (see next item) , Virgin Trains are holding a 'Meet the Managers' session this Monday morning 18 August in the new ticket hall from 06.00 to 08.30.

If you are concerned about the effect the new arrangements will have on you, come to the station a little early on Monday so you will have a chance to talk to Virgin Trains staff about the changes.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No trains at Rugby until Monday morning, 28 July (updated 26.07.08)

There will be no trains at Rugby throughout Saturday and Sunday 26 and 27 July. This is in connection with work to take the flyover at Trent Valley junction and the up slow line through platform 4 out of commission for four weeks (see separate item). Normal services are expected to resume at start of traffic on Monday morning, 28 July.

The alternative arrangements which have hitherto applied on Saturdays will apply throughout both days, necessitating a bus journey to either Coventry or Northampton for onward train travel.

Full details are available on the National Rail journey planner.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Flyover closure brings timetable alterations (updated 25.07.08)

The flyover line carrying the Up (southbound) Coventry line across the Trent Valley lines at Trent Valley Junction, north of Rugby, will be taken out of use from 26 July until 25 August. This is in connection with renovation work on the flyover.

As a result, all Up (southbound) trains from the Birmingham line will have to use the Down Coventry line and platform 1 at Rugby, in addition to the Down (northbound) trains that already use this section of track. The revised route for these trains is shown in green on the Closure of Trent Valley flyover diagram.

Additionally, the Up Slow line (the track through platform 4) will also be out of use during this period. All up (southbound) trains from the Trent Valley line will therefore run via the Up Fast line through platform 2, and platform 4 will be closed.

To facilitate this work, it will be necessary to retime some Virgin and London Midland trains which run to and from the Birmingham line. The changes that affect Rugby are summarised as follows (Monday to Friday services only are shown):

Birmingham service

Trains to Birmingham will depart at 05.43, 06.33, 06.56, 07.17, 07.41, 08.18, 09.18, then at 18 minutes past each hour. In the other direction, trains will run as normal between Birmingham and Coventry, then some services will be retimed by a few minutes through Rugby.

London service

The 06.20 from Rugby will be revised to depart at 06.17, and the 07.14 will be retimed to depart at 07.09 (from platform 1). The 16.51 from London Euston will be cancelled, but the 17.10 will leave Euston at 17.02 and call additionally at Rugby at 17.53.

For full details of all the changes, see the National Rail journey planner.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July members' meeting addresses concerns of members (updated 16.07.08)

The members' meeting held on 10 July was well attended with about 40 members present. Many interesting topics were discussed, including forthcoming shutdowns, the December 2008 timetable, the new station building and car parking. Details of the questions raised, and the response from the rail industry representatives are now available in the Meeting Minutes section of members' area of this website.

Rugby Borough Council have informed us that someone left a waterproof jacket at the meeting. If this is yours, please e-mail the secretary (see contact details at top of page) who will arrange for it to be returned to you.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fewer first class seats on Virgin Trains (posted 02.07.08)

Virgin Trains are reducing the amount of first class accommodation on their trains during the Summer.

From 14 July to 7 September, coach G in each Pendolino train will be declassified and made available to standard class ticket holders. This will apply to all trains throughout the week. Coach G will be restored to first class use from 8 September.

Virgin Trains claim that the number of first class passengers travelling at this time of the year is lower than at other times, when the demand is higher. It will be interesting to see how this works, particularly on the Birmingham trains at peak periods!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ORR announces package of rail improvements (posted 07.06.08)

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has issued a press notice detailing the improvements it expects Network Rail to carry out during Control Period 4 (April 2009 to March 2014). This includes most of the aspirations Network Rail was hoping for, but the ORR has told Network Rail it will have to trim its budget and that some proposals do not meet their investment criteria.

Included in the plans are the completion of the West Coast Route Modernisation (WCRM), including the major works at Rugby and Milton Keynes / Bletchley. The proposed reconstruction of Birmingham New Street will also still go ahead, although the proposal for an additional bay platform at that station has been rejected.

It is interesting to note that one of the schemes meeting the criteria is electrification from Barnt Green to Bromsgrove (down the Lickey incline) so that some cross city services can be extended there. Although a relatively short distance, this will be the first electrification scheme in England for several years, and hopefully the start of a few more!

Most of the rejected schemes do not affect our area, but apart from the already mentioned bay platform at Birmingham New Street, also rejected is the plan to reopen the Round Oak - Walsall line, which would have provided a freight by-pass for the Birmingham area.

For the full details see the ORR draft periodic review - June 2008.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No trains at Rugby over the Spring Bank Holiday (updated 23.05.08)

Because of engineering work in the Rugby area, there will be no trains between Northampton, Rugby and Coventry from Saturday 24 May to Monday 26 May inclusive. This work is in connection with the commissioning of a new track layout between Rugby, Brandon (Coventry line) and Shilton (Trent Valley line)

Additionally, engineering work at Milton Keynes will mean there will be no trains running south of Northampton on Sunday and Monday, 25 and 26 May.

London Midland services on the Northampton - Rugby - Birmingham route will operate between Coventry and Birmingham New Street only. There will be no Virgin trains running south of Coventry / Birmingham International, or via the Trent Valley line. Rail replacement bus services will operate between Northampton, Rugby and Coventry, and also between Rugby and Kettering.

Passengers travelling between Rugby and London on these days should travel via the bus service to Kettering and East Midlands Trains to London St Pancras. Alternatively, passengers can travel on Chiltern Railways from Warwick Parkway and Leamington Spa to London Marylebone, on which route Virgin and London Midland tickets will be valid. Passengers to Birmingham and the north should travel via the bus service to Coventry and thence by train.

Through train services to and from London, also to Coventry and Birmingham, will resume on Tuesday 27 May. However, the Trent Valley line will remain closed between Rugby (Trent Valley Junction) and Nuneaton on this day and Wednesday 28 May, which will mean all Virgin train services will be diverted via the West Midlands. As a result, a reduced Virgin train service will operate from Rugby to both London and the North. On Tuesday and Wednesday, 27 and 28 May. On these days, peak hour services to London will be at 06.04, 06.20, 07.14, 07.28, 07.45 and 08.29 (note there will be no 07.04). In the return direction, peak time trains will leave Euston for Rugby at 16.13, 16.51, 17.16, 17.39, 18.15 and 18.54. Please note these details have now reverted to those originally advised.

Normal services are expected to resume on Thursday 29 May.

Full details of the revised services operating between Saturday 24 May and Wednesday 28 May are available on the National Rail journey planner.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alterations to track layout north of Rugby (posted 24.05.08)

Following the line closure over the Spring Bank Holiday, a fourth track has now been brought into commission between Newbold Junction (north of Rugby) and Brinklow. There are now two tracks in each direction between these points. The fourth track between Rugby Trent Valley Junction and Newbold Junction will be reinstated later. For details of the new layout, see Rugby - Brinklow 4 tracking - interim stage May 2008 diagram

Additionally, crossovers have been provided between the Down and Up Coventry lines at Long Lawford.

These alterations will eventually enable trains to run in either direction from High Oaks or Long Lawford into any platform at Rugby.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No change to peak services in Summer timetable (updated 20.04.08)

The peak hour services between Rugby and London, and between Rugby and Birmingham, remain effectively unchanged in the Summer timetable starting on 18 May.

The only changes involve retiming’s of one minute on a couple of London services. The 08.51 from Rugby will now arrive London Euston 1 minute later at 09.53, and the 16.50 from Euston will revert to its former time of 16.51.

All other services will continue in their existing timings.

Full details are shown in the National Rail journey planner, and a summary of peak services to Birmingham and London is available by selecting 'Current Rugby timetable' from the blue menu on the left of this page.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pendolino lengthening is back on the agenda (posted 17.04.08)

Following the Department for Transport (DfT) refusal to Virgin Trains proposal to extend the Pendolinos from 9 cars to 11 cars in exchange for a two year extension to the franchise, the DfT have come up with their own plans to enhance the Pendolino fleet.
The DfT have issued an Accreditation Process document which sets out their plans, which will provide
* four new 9-car trains by December 2012
* the lengthening of 35 9-car Pendolinos to 11 cars, by December 2012
* an option to lengthen a further 21 9-car sets to 11 cars by December 2012
* a further option to purchase up to 23 new trains of either 8, 9 or 11 cars which would be for fleet enhancement and / or replacement of the Voyagers currently used by Virgin West Coast.

The DfT is looking for a Train Operating Company to purchase and commission for service the new trains on its behalf.

For full details see the DfT Accreditation process Document - Pendolino enhancement
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Engineering work update - all routes now available (diagram updated 13.03.08)

Regular travellers will be aware that, since the Christmas overrun of engineering work, electric trains from the Northampton line have had cross over to the Down Main (from Weedon) line to enter Rugby. This was because the necessary work on the overhead line equipment (OLE) was still not finished.

Following a series of overnight and weekend possessions, the OLE work has now been completed and all trains from Northampton can now enter Rugby via the south flyover. This means that delays caused due to conflicting movements on the Down and Up main lines have now been eliminated.

The section of the Down Coventry line from platform 1 to Trent Valley Junction, which was previously out of use, has now been brought into use.

To understand the above, it might help to refer to the Rugby remodelling diagram - December 2007 (revised)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2009 timetable petition has little effect on DfT (posted 18.03.08)

The petition against the negative aspects of the 2009 timetable closed with 490 signatures. This was handed to the Department for Transport (DfT) in London on 12 March.

Stuart Baker and Paul Fishwick from the DfT responded by explaining the two main aims of the 2009 timetable are to match load with demand and get maximum value from the increased speed to the North West. Unfortunately this is being done at the expense of through services between Rugby and the North West. The other main 'losers' are Nuneaton to London and Watford to the North West.

The DfT responded to RRUG's particular concerns as follows:

Morning peak service to London

The DfT considers that the proposed timetable of morning peak trains to London will have sufficient empty seats on arrival at Rugby to accommodate all the traffic that will be on offer. This is despite there being one less train between 07.00 and 08.00 than at present. RRUG remains to be convinced on this.

Services to and from the North West

The DfT responded to our request for through trains to and from the North West by providing a 06.45 departure from Rugby to the North West and Glasgow, arriving there at 10.30. In the southbound direction, there will be a through train from Preston at 19.58, arriving Rugby at 21.30. Unfortunately this minimal service provides a very early start from Rugby, and a late evening return, which is unlikely to suit the majority of potential passengers.

The DfT also explained that it was the original intention for the Trent Valley semi-fast service to connect into the Birmingham - Glasgow trains at Crewe. However, pathing constraints meant that this would not be possible and with this connection lost, the DfT saw no valid reason not to divert the service via Stoke-on-Trent, where it would be possible to provide a connection for Manchester instead. This means that one existing traffic flow (Rugby - North West) is no longer catered for, although journey opportunities to Manchester will be improved.

In summary, the only concession RRUG has from the DfT is the additional 06.45 train to Glasgow. There will be no other through trains to the North West, and still only three trains to London between 07.00 and 08.00. RRUG still has doubts whether this will be sufficient, and will continue to lobby and monitor this. Further details are available in the notes of the RRUG meeting with DfT - 12 March 2008
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Engineering work overrun update (updated 25.01.08)

Infrastructure update

Despite the four day overrun of engineering work at Rugby over the New Year holiday, some of the work is still not finished. The section of the Down Coventry line from Hillmorton Junction over the flyover to platform 1 is only available to diesel trains because the installation of overhead line equipment (OLE) is not complete. This means that all electric trains, including the Northampton to Birmingham service operated by London Midland, have to cross onto the Down Main line at Hillmorton Junction and share this track with the fast Virgin Pendolinos. This can cause delays at busy times.

Also, the section of the Down Coventry line from the crossover beyond platform 1 as far as Trent Valley Junction is out of use to all traffic. This means that trains for the Coventry direction that have called at Rugby have to cross back to the Down Fast line and regain the Down Coventry line at Trent Valley Junction, which can be another cause of delay.

To understand the above it might be useful to refer to the Rugby remodelling diagram - December 2007.

We understand that Network Rail hope to complete the outstanding work 'within a few weeks'.

House of Commons debate

A debate on the issue of the overrun and its consequences was held in the House of Commons on 8 January.

Details can be found on House of Commons debate - overrun of engineering work at Rugby Dec 2007, in which our MP Jeremy Wright also pointed out to the House that the people of Rugby will see a deterioration rather than an improvement in rail services when the work is finished.

Submission to ORR enquiry

RRUG has sent a formal submission to the ORR inquiry into the overrun of engineering works. See RRUG submission to ORR re overrunning engineering works - Jan 2008

Network Rail investigation causes more work to be brought back ' in house'

As a result of Network Rail's internal investigation into the overruns at both Rugby and Liverpool Street, less use will be made of agency staff for engineering work in future and more work will be done 'in house'. For details see the Network Rail press release.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Membership survey results (updated 11.03.08)

The RRUG membership survey has identified three top issues. These are

* loss of through trains to the North in 2009 timetable
* overcrowding on Virgin Trains
* reduction in morning peak services to London in 2009 timetable

Full results of the survey are shown in the RRUG membership survey - January 2008
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Unreservable seats on Virgin Trains (updated 02.02.08)

A number of seats on Virgin Trains are not reservable. This means there will always be some seats available for walk-up customers who have not reserved in advance.

Unreservable seats on some trains are now in certain specific coaches, as shown below.

All Pendolino trains except services between London, Preston, Lancaster and Scotland

In first class, the unreservable seats will be spread across all first class coaches.

In standard class, all of coach B (except for 8 priority and 1 disabled seat) and 8 seats in coach C will be unreservable

Pendolino trains between London, Preston, Lancaster and Scotland only

In first class all seats in coach G will be unreservable
In standard class, all of coach B (except for 8 priority and 1 disabled seat) and 8 seats in coach C will be unreservable

Voyager trains between London and Holyhead

In first class there will be 12 unreservable seats
In standard class, there will be 30 unreservable seats in coach B

Virgin Trains publish this information in the hope it will make it easier for customers without reservations to find seats.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2009 timetable concerns - RRUG responds and RBC also takes up the issue with DfT (updated 12.11.07)

RRUG has now sent an official response to the DfT's timetable proposals for 2009, expressing in particular our concerns about lost journey opportunities to the North and reduction in peak time services to London.

Additionally, following Rugby Borough Council’s resolution to support improved rail services in the 2009 timetable, Simon Warren, Chief Executive has written to Tom Harris, Secretary of State for Transport, expressing the council's concerns about the proposed reduction in morning peak time services to London and the loss of through services to North West England and Scotland.

Copies of the RRUG response which was sent on 29 October, and the RBC letter sent on 31 October, are both available in the Correspondence section of the Members' Menu.

Full details of the proposed timetable to operate from December 2008 are available from the West Coast December 2008 timetable page of the DfT website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Draft 2009 timetable published (posted 22.09.07)

The Department for Transport has issued the draft timetable for both Virgin and London Midland services on the West Coast Main Line from December 2008.

As expected, the basic off-peak service comprises:

* An hourly Euston - Birmingham fast Virgin Trains service, calling at Rugby. This will provide the main service between Rugby and London

* Two trains an hour on the Northampton - Rugby - Birmingham route, provided by London Midland. These trains will be semi-fast between Coventry and Birmingham New Street. One train per hour will start from Euston and run semi-fast to Northampton, before continuing to Birmingham.

* One semi-fast train an hour between Euston and Crewe, running via Northampton, Rugby, Trent Valley stations and Stoke-on-Trent. This will also be provided by London Midland. Along with the semi-fast Euston - Birmingham trains referred to above, this will restore a regular semi-fast service from Rugby to Milton Keynes and Watford.

Additional Virgin Train services will run at peak times, providing a train to London approximately every 20 minutes in the morning peak, and from London every 30 minutes in the evening peak.

Apart from some very early and late trains, there will be no through services between Rugby, Crewe, the North West and Scotland. Passengers for these destinations will be expected to travel via and change at Birmingham New Street.

Interested parties have until Friday 16 November 2007 to comment, and RRUG will be sending a response in due course. Of particular concern is the reduction in morning peak services to London, and the loss of through trains to and from the North West.

Full details are shown on the West Coast December 2008 timetable page of the DfT website. For the benefit of RRUG members, this information appears in summary format in the correspondence section of the Members Menu.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Revised car parking arrangements for Rugby (updated 21.09.07)

Virgin Trains have entered into partnership with National Car Parks (NCP) to improve and overhaul car parking facilities at stations.

The car parks at Rugby station are now all 'pay and display' only. New ticket machines have been provided, which will eventually take credit and debit cards as well as cash. At present however, they will only take cash pending modification. Once this happens, the 'drop off box' at the customer services counter will be removed, meaning that anyone who pays for their car parking at the ticket office will need to return to their car to display the ticket.

As part of the arrangement with NCP, Virgin Trains will shortly be introducing a trial of 'cashless parking' at Rugby (and also at Stafford) using mobile phones or the Internet. Each car park will be given a four-digit identification code, which will be prominently displayed on signs at the location. Customers wishing to use 'cashless parking' will need to send a text message to their mobile phone service provider, or register on line. They will need to provide the car park identification code, vehicle registration and the number of days they wish to park. A small transaction fee of 30p will be charged to the customer each time to cover costs. Customers can extend their parking by repeating the process.

Attendants will be patrolling the car parks using Blackberry’s to check that any vehicle not displaying a pay and display ticket is registered with 'cashless parking'. Fixed penalty notices will be issued to any vehicle for which there is no evidence of payment for parking.

Restricted areas and drop off zones will also be monitored. Any vehicle abusing these areas will be towed away, and customers charged to have the vehicle released. These areas will be clearly signed.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

County Council endorses RRUG proposals (updated 26.09.07)

At a special meeting of Rugby Borough Council on 27 June, RRUG submitted a proposal outlining our aspirations for future train services. The motion was carried unanimously and it therefore now council policy.

For details please see item 5 of Rugby Borough Council meeting agenda - 27 June 2007

The council subsequently wrote a letter outlining this policy to the new Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly, For details of this letter, see RBC letter to Ruth Kelly - 12.07.07

These proposals were also accepted by Warwickshire County Council at a Cabinet meeting on 19 July, and so are now official county council policy as well. For details of the submission to the Cabinet meeting, see Warwickshire County Council resolution re proposed WCML timetable changes - July 2007

Subsequent to this resolution, the County Council has also now written to Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Transport, expressing their concerns over the 2009 timetable. This letter is available in the Correspondence section of the Members Menu.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Government white paper has nothing for Rugby (posted 25.07.07)

The government's white paper on railway development (the 'high level output statement') which was published on 24 July contains little comfort for Rugby passengers.

The headline grabbing development of Birmingham New Street may well improve customer flow, but there will still be only 12 through platforms so it will not be possible to run any more trains into the station. The other two major investment projects, 5 additional platforms at Reading station and the Thameslink project, will not affect Rugby at all.

Although not a surprise, it is also disappointing to see that there will be no additional capacity between Coventry and Birmingham - a bottleneck which was first identified by the LMS Railway over seventy years ago!

We will have to wait and see what happens to the proposals to modernise the fares structure, but in the short term there is probably some comfort to be had from the fact that the cap on Saver fares will remain.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New platform 1 now in use (updated 21.07.07)

The new down (northbound) Birmingham line platform is now in use. Most trains to Birmingham now use the new platform.

Because the new station building is not yet complete, access to the new platform is from car park no. 2 (the Murray Road car park). Intending passengers should allow extra time to reach the new platform. However, temporary ticket issuing facilities are provided on the new platform, comprising a self-service ticket machine and, during the morning peak, a staffed presence. Also during the morning peak period hot drinks and newspapers will be provided when possible. These arrangements will apply until the entrance from the new station building is commissioned, which is currently planned for September 2007.

The new platform is platform no. 1. Other platforms have been renumbered as follows:

Former platform 1 has become new platform 2
Former platform 2 has become new platform 4.

These platform numbers will remain after the reconstruction work is completed, and the new platform to be constructed on the Up (southbound) side will be numbered 5 and 6.

The existing bay platforms 3, 6, 7 and 8 have not been renumbered at this stage. Eventually all will disappear except for existing platform 8, which will become platform 3 at a later stage.

For further details of the new platform layout and numbering see Rugby station platform layout diagram.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rugby station car parking to be expanded (posted 06.05.07)

Network Rail has announced a £90m plan to expand car parking facilities at stations served by Virgin Trains. As part of this project, an additional 519 spaces are to be provided at Rugby.

Although no further details are as yet available, it is assumed the extra spaces will be provided by converting the existing Mill Road car park to multi-storey.

We await this development with interest. Further details will be provided when known.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hillmorton Junction commissioned on 11 May (updated 14.05.07)

The new junction at Hillmorton, on the London side of Rugby, was commissioned on Friday 11 May. This allows trains to switch tracks south of Rugby and facilitate working through one side of the station while the other is remodelled.

The following new movements through the junction are now possible.

Down (from London) direction

Down Main (Weedon) to Down Northampton line
Down Northampton to Down Main line

Up(towards London) direction

Up Northampton to Up Main (Weedon) line

Please refer to Hillmorton Junction diagram which will help to explain this.

Other routes through the new junction will be commissioned at a later date.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Summer timetable brings faster first train to Birmingham (updated 27.05.07)

The Summer timetable commenced on Sunday 20 May.

There are few changes affecting Rugby customers. However, the first train from Rugby to Birmingham (at 05.43) now calls at Coventry and Birmingham International only, arriving Birmingham New Street 11 minutes earlier, at 06.22. There are other minor retiming’s of a few minutes to some services on this route.

On services to London, until 7 September journey times will be extended by a few minutes on some morning trains, resulting in slightly later arrival times at London Euston. This is as a result of the ongoing work to upgrade the West Coast Main Line, and associated temporary speed restrictions.

Full details of the revised peak time services to Birmingham and London are shown on the 'Current Rugby Timetable' page (accessed from the menu bar on the left of this page)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Loco hauled train returns (posted 09.04.07)

Following the temporary loss of a Pendolino in the Grayrigg derailment, a locomotive hauled train comprising a class 90 locomotive and a set of Mark 3 coaches has been made available to cover for an anticipated shortage of trains.

As previously, this train will work the 16.51 Euston - Birmingham New Street (Rugby 17.47) and 19.00 Birmingham New Street - Euston. This train is booked to run at 110 mph (rather than the 125 mph of the Pendolinos) and the locomotive hauled train will therefore be able to keep to time.

The locomotive hauled train will be on standby and only run when a Pendolino is unavailable. This situation is likely to continue until the Pendolino is reinstated, which could take between 12 and 18 months.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quiet coach on Virgin Pendolinos (posted 09.12.06)

The 'quiet coach' in standard class on Virgin Pendolino trains has been moved from coach B to coach A. If you want to travel in peace and quiet, you will now need to travel in the coach at the end of the train.

This change has been instigated so that passengers in the quiet coach are not disturbed by people from other parts of the train walking through to reach the shop.

The quiet coach in first class, however, remains as coach H.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rugby to lose through trains to the North (updated 15.11.06)

The Department for Transport has released its proposals for the timetable from January 2009, by which time the West Coast Route Modernisation project should be completed.

This proposes a complete restructuring of the services which call at Rugby, including the withdrawal of through trains to Lancashire and Scotland. The basic pattern of train services calling at Rugby will be as follows:

Euston - Rugby - Coventry - Birmingham International - Birmingham New Street, hourly (Virgin Pendolinos)

Euston - Milton Keynes - Northampton - Long Buckby - Rugby - Trent Valley stations - Stafford - Stoke-on-Trent - Crewe, hourly. (new West Midlands franchise, Desiros)

Northampton - Long Buckby - Rugby - Coventry - stations to Birmingham International - Birmingham New Street, half-hourly. Some trains may be extended via Wolverhampton and Stafford to Manchester or Liverpool. (new West Midlands franchise, Desiros).

Additional trains will run on some routes at peak times, and we are assured that the peak hour service to and from London will be similar to the existing level of service.

These proposals will restore a regular through service to Milton Keynes (via Northampton) and provide three trains an hour to Birmingham. However, these improvements are tempered by the withdrawal of Virgin train services north of Rugby via the Trent Valley line. Such journeys will only be possible by taking a Desiro service to Crewe and changing there, or travelling via Birmingham New Street. However, access to the Euston - Preston - Glasgow Pendolinos will not be possible as these will not call at Stafford or Crewe, making journeys to Lancashire and Scotland particularly difficult.

We have now been advised that the Euston - Rugby - Trent Valley stations - Crewe service is to be diverted between Stafford and Crewe to run via Stoke-on-Trent, calling there and also at Stone, Kidsgrove and Alsager. This means that the journey time from Rugby to Crewe via this route will be about 1 hour 40 minutes, making it an unrealistic way of connecting into services going further north. As Virgin Train services to Lancashire and Scotland, both from London and Birmingham, will not be calling at Stafford it will not be possible to make the connection there instead. Furthermore, journey opportunities to North Wales and Manchester Airport will also be reduced as there will be no quick link to Crewe where connections are currently made.

RRUG is vigorously opposed to this downgrading of services, and is campaigning against it. We are currently pursuing the issue with Virgin Trains and the Department for Transport, and have also written to the Office of Rail Reglation (ORR) to see whether the reduced journey opportunities violate any franchise commitment. Our MP Jeremy Wright is also championing our cause. Please see the Correspondence section in the members' area of this website for copies of our correspondence with these parties.

We will keep this website updated as the situation develops.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Station reconstruction brings one-way traffic system (updated 15.11.06)

To provide space for the new station building, the road layout at the front of the station is being altered. This involves moving the usable section of the roadway further away from the existing station entrance.

In connection with this, a one-way traffic system has been introduced outside the main entrance. Traffic is permitted to travel from Railway Terrace to Murray Road, but not in the reverse direction. However, access from Murray Road to and from the car park opposite the main entrance will be maintained for traffic in both directions. Parking facilities for the disabled, mothers and toddlers and a drop off zone will be continue to be provided, as will the taxi rank. Short stay parking provision has already been moved to the other side of the road, and a little further from the station entrance.

The first phase of this work has now been completed, which is the reconstruction of the roadway outside the station. As of 15 November, traffic started using the 'new' section of carriageway furthest from the station entrance, and the new taxi rank, drop off zone and disabled parking areas have been commissioned. This is a semi-permanent arrangement and is expected to continue until April 2007.

For full details see Network Rail press release - Rugby station upgrade

Initial experience of this arrangement has shown that some motorists are attempting to enter the one-way system from the wrong direction, which could be dangerous. As a result, we have been in contact with Network Rail who advise that the signage will shortly be improved to address this. For details see the correspondence section in the Members' menu.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RRUG responds to West Midlands franchise consultation document (posted 08.08.06)

We have submitted a response to the Department for Transport on their consultation document for the new West Midlands franchise, which is due to start in November 2007.

The main points we raised are:

General

* concern that Euston - Northampton and Northampton - Birmingham will continue as two separate services

Northampton - Rugby - Birmingham service

* welcome the re-introduction of two trains per hour on this route

* suggest there should be earlier and later trains to / from Birmingham

* suggest that the existing service of fast trains at peak times, as currently provided, should be specified in the franchise

Euston - Rugby - Trent Valley service

* welcome this new service and the increased journey opportunities it will bring

* suggest it would be more use to Rugby customers if it went via Weedon rather than Northampton, to provide a faster service to Milton Keynes.

The full response can be seen in the correspondence section of the members' page.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rugby re-modelling - first stage track alterations (revised 08.08.06)

The first stage of the Rugby re-modelling project was completed over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend.

The Down (northbound) tracks used by passenger trains have been realigned between Rugby station and Trent Valley Junction (where the Coventry and Nuneaton lines diverge). To facilitate this, the 'Black Path' footbridge has been demolished (see separate item).

Because of the temporary removal of a connection at Trent Valley Junction, all down (northbound) trains travelling towards Nuneaton now have to run through the platform track at Rugby station. This includes freight trains.

A further stage has now been implemented, in that the down goods line, which ran adjacent to the Murray Road car park, along with sidings 5 and 6 which connected to this line, have also been removed.

For details of the revised track layout, see Rugby remodelling stage one (revised) for details.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Going faster on the 'slow' lines

Train speeds on the 'slow' lines, i.e. those normally used by Silverlink and freight trains, have been increased from 90 mph to 100 mph where the track geometry is suitable for the higher speed. This applies between Hanslope Junction (26 miles south of Rugby) and North Wembley, in the London suburbs. The maximum speed on the Northampton lines between Hunsbury Hill tunnel (south of Northampton) and Hanslope Junction has also been increased to 100 mph. While there are no proposals to change the timetable, this change does mean that a late running Silverlink train will be able to travel faster and have a better chance of catching up lost time. Similarly, when the fast lines are blocked and Virgin trains are diverted onto the slow lines, the delays incurred should also be a little less due to the higher permitted speed. There is currently no plan to upgrade the lines between Northampton and Rugby, where the maximum speed will remain at 75 mph.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Decriminalisation of parking enforcement

At present parking enforcement in Rugby is the responsibility of the police. Because their resources do not permit them to pay much attention to this, Warwickshire County Council propose to transfer the responsibility for parking enforcement to their own sub-contractors. This will mean parking restrictions will be more rigorously enforced. At the same time, parking restrictions in residential areas will be increased. This will affect all of you who park in the streets around Rugby station.

The County Council is inviting comments via its website.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Black Path footbridge closed for seven months (updated 03.11.06)

The Black Path footbridge, linking Wood Street to the GEC site, was demolished over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend. Following problems with the design of the replacement bridge, it will now be reinstated in April 2007. This work is necessary because the existing piers are in the way of the realigned tracks that will pass underneath, so the existing piers will have to be taken down and new piers erected. The new footbridge will be wider, have a separate cycle lane, and lighting. Unfortunately access to the bridge will still be by stairs - this is because Network Rail do not own the land on either side of the bridge. However, Rugby Borough Council is investigating the land ownership issue, to see whether anything can be done about this. See the planning application for more details.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------