Wednesday 23rd September, 2009 Rugby Rail Users Group members quiz Virgin Boss On Wednesday 23rd September Chris Gibb, Chief Operating Officer of Virgin Trains visited Rugby to address the Rugby Rail Users’ Group. Chris has a vast range of experience within the rail industry and was an authentic and entertaining speaker. His attention to delivering the train service was self-evident, and he seemed keen to hear the views of people from Rugby. Virgin gained some immediate goodwill as Chris gave out free train tickets to a lucky couple. A key point discussed at the meeting was the introduction of the Virgin High Frequency timetable. Chris described the timetable as “fragile”, but added that there were 58 contingency plans in place to cater for all the things that could go wrong. The problem in the initial stages of service disruption was figuring out exactly which contingency plan to use. Chris spent over three hours with the Group and listened sympathetically to arguments to re-introduce fast through services to the Northwest, reduce car parking charges at Rugby station and provide better facilities for cyclists wishing to take their bicycles on Virgin’s trains. Amongst the RRUG members in the audience were Jeremy Wright MP and Rugby’s parliamentary candidates Mark Pawsey, Andy King (a founding member of RRUG) and Jerry Roodhouse. Speaking after the meeting, Mark Pawsey said “the meeting was very informative, it has given me a much better insight into how important the railway is to both Rugby people and business” whilst Andy King said “I am very impressed with the determination of RRUG to be heard; I am sure that they will make a difference to Rugby rail travel”.
RRUG Chair Stephanie Clifford said “The fact that Virgin’s top man came to Rugby gives me some reassurance that there is still a commitment by the rail operators to the town. I hope that Chris Gibb will consider the arguments that he heard and RRUG will certainly be following up on the points raised at the meeting.”
Announcement of Members' Meeting - September 2009
TOP VIRGIN BOSS TO MEET RUGBY RAIL USERS Rugby Rail Users Group (RRUG) is pleased to welcome Chris Gibb, Chief Executive of Virgin Trains, to address our next members' meeting. Key points at the meeting will be the introduction of the Virgin High Frequency (VHF) timetable last December and the recent changes in car parking facilities at Rugby station. Chairperson Stephanie Clifford said “RRUG is delighted to welcome Chris Gibb to Rugby; our members will have a unique opportunity to raise their concerns directly with the head of Virgin Trains at this meeting. RRUG will use this occasion to highlight members’ concerns over the lack of fast services to the Northwest, car parking charge increases and reliability of the new Virgin High Frequency timetable”
The meeting will take place on Wednesday 23rd September in the Clifton Room at the Grosvenor Hotel in Clifton Road, Rugby, starting at 19.15.
New Multi-Storey Car Park Opening - September 2009
Network Rail is taking radical action to make a staircase at Rugby’s £180m new station safe. Following a number of reports of passengers losing their balance on the stairs, Rugby Rail Users Group (RRUG) made representations to the station operators Virgin Trains pointing out that the stairs had rounded edges and indistinct colour patterns which made them difficult to negotiate. RRUG is pleased to see that the problems with the new stairs are being addressed. Temporary yellow warning strips have been applied to the stair edges, and extra handrails and warning signs have been installed. This is prior to a complete 4-week rebuild of the staircase which should start in April. The full “snaglist” for the station, together with responses from the train companies, can be downloaded from www.rugbyrailusersgroup.org.uk
Post Members Meeting - March 2009
PRESS RELEASE Feedback from RRUG MEMBERS’ MEETING, RUGBY TOWN HALL THURSDAY 12TH MARCH Response on train timetable teething troubles causes concern. Rugby Rail Users Group (RRUG) members were disappointed to hear that trains may well be disrupted by poor performance for a few more months. At a meeting called to examine the dire train service experienced in the early part of 2009, Virgin Trains’ spokesman Glynn McDonald asked passengers to “give us until June” to get the problems with train reliability sorted out. Representatives from London Midland trains said their services were nearer to running normally, but that they were still waiting for a whole week of timetable stability. RRUG members were then dismayed that the Virgin Trains delegation left unexpectedly after taking questions for only 25 minutes.
Speaking after the meeting, RRUG chair Stephanie Clifford said “Rugby passengers have had to endure severe disruption to their journeys since commencement of the new timetable. We have heard reassuring words that the service will settle down in time, but there are only faint signs of this so far. It should not be a case of waiting for things to come right, this improvement will only happen through sustained attention to detail and delivering on the ambitious timetable promise which the train companies have made to us.”
Announcement of Members' Meeting - March 2009
PRESS RELEASE RRUG MEMBERS’ MEETING, RUGBY TOWN HALL Thursday 12th March, 7.15 PM
Rugby’s New Timetable - How is it for you?
Rugby Rail Users Group (RRUG) will be holding a members’ meeting on Thursday 12th March. Representatives from train operators Virgin and London Midland will be present to take questions on the performance of the new timetable.
The complete revamp of the timetable in December 2008 led to a meltdown of services in January and February, with lengthy delays and unprecedented numbers of trains being cancelled. The weather has also chipped in, giving the worst conditions for many years. The scale of the problems meant that implementation of a second phase of the timetable was held back. There are now serious doubts about whether the timetable plan is too ambitious to be run under real life conditions.
RRUG Chairperson Stephanie Clifford said: “Regular travellers will know that the performance of the train service from Rugby since December has been nothing short of diabolical. Whilst matters have improved recently, we want to know that the promised timetable can be delivered every day, come rain or shine. I look forward to hearing what the train operators are doing to improve their ability to deliver on their promises to us.”
Announcement of Members' Meeting - November 2008
Guest Speaker - Michael Lee, Director, Access, Planning and Performance, Office of the Rail Regulator
RRUG is delighted to welcome Michael Lee from the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR). Michael will explain the ORR’s role and focus specifically on Rugby and how the ORR can safeguard and improve the lot of Rugby Rail passengers.
Following Michael Lee, Paul Fullwood from Passenger Focus will make a short presentation before being joined by representatives from Virgin Trains and London Midland for questions from the floor and a panel discussion.
RRUG Chairperson Stephanie Clifford said: “Over the last two years RRUG has been working hard to lobby Ministers and the Department for Transport to get improvements made to the December 2008 timetable. The Committee is proud to report some success, but our campaign is set to go on. The Office of Rail Regulation and Passenger Focus have authorised the new timetable, both good and bad points, and we look forward to hearing how their decisions have been made.”