Rugby Rail Users Group

The Voice Of Rugby Rail Users

News

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.

Three bidders shortlisted for West Coast partnership (posted 22.06.17)

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that it has shortlisted three bidders for the West Coast partnership franchise.  The successful bidder will run train services on the existing West Coast main line and the first stage of the new high speed line HS2.
The three shortlisted bidders are are:
  • First Trenitalia West Coast Ltd, a joint venture between First Rail Holdings Ltd and Trenitalia SpA
  • MTR West Coast Partnership Ltd, a joint venture between MTR Corporation (UK) Ltd and Guangshen Railway Company, with the following key sub-contractors:
    • Deloitte MCS Ltd
    • Panasonic Systems Europe
    • Snowfall AB
    • Trainline.com Ltd
    • WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff
  • West Coast Partnership Ltd, a joint venture between Stagecoach Group plc, Virgin Holdings Ltd and SNCF C3.
The shortlisted bidders have until Spring 2018 to prepare and submit their bids.  The successful bidder will be announced in November 2018 and their franchise will start in April 2019.  For further details see the DfT announcement.

No trains to London Euston over August Bank Holiday (updated 17.06.17)

No trains will run from Rugby to London Euston on the Saturday and Sunday of the August Bank Holiday weekend.  This is in connection with preparatory work for the new high speed rail line (HS2) and continuing improvements to the West Coast Main Line.
We understand that 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 Euston works web page.

Competitive applications for London - Blackpool trains, possibly calling at Rugby? (posted 16.06.17)

Virgin Trains have submitted a Track Access Application to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) for three additional trains between London Euston and Blackpool North each Monday to Saturday.  If approved, Virgin Trains intend to start these trains from the supplementary timetable change date in May 2018. The trains would be operated by class 390 'Pendolino' trains and call at Rugby, Warrington, Wigan, Preston and Blackpool North.  Some of these trains might also call at Watford Junction or Milton Keynes, plus one or two of the Trent Valley line stations.  If approved, these additional trains would give Rugby a better service to and from the North West during the middle of the day.  The trains would leave Euston at 06.46, 08.53 and 10.53, and return from Blackpool North at 10.45, 12.45 and 14.45.
However, Alliance Rail are also hoping to introduce a London to Blackpool service once electrification is completed. These services would operate under the name 'Great North Western Railway' and would use class 91 locomotives with Mark 4 rolling stock made redundant from the East Coast Main Line, but these services would call at Nuneaton and not at Rugby.
It is unlikely both these competing Track Access Applications will be accepted, so we will have to wait and see which one finds favour.  For further details see the Virgin Trains Track Access Application and the Alliance Rail Track Access Application..

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.

DfT release West Coast Partnership prospectus (posted 19.01.17)

The Department for Transport (DfT) have published a prospectus for the forthcoming West Coast Partnership.  This will be the new franchise which will combine the existing West Coast main line services with those of High Speed Rail, and is due to start in April 2019.
The document is thin on deatil, but it does say that the new franchisee will be expected to "maintain and improve" the existing West Coast services, along with passenger facilities and a simplified fares system.
The prospectus is available here.

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.

National Rail Conditions of Travel revised (posted 27.10.16)

A revised version of the National Rail Conditions of Travel, formerly known as the National Rail Conditions of Carriage, came into effect on 1 October.  The new version has been completely rewritten using less jargon and is, in the main, easier to understand than before.
There are three changes of note.  Firstly, it now makes it clear that anyone travelling with a standard class ticket who wishes to travel first class must upgrade their ticket before starting their journey.  It also makes it clear that if standard class accommodation is full, you are not entitled to travel in first class without prior permission from the on-train staff.  Where a penalty fare system is in operation, this also means that you would be charged a penalty fare for doing so.
Secondly, the rules about split ticketing have been relaxed in respect of  travelcards, ranger and rover tickets.  Passengers holding such tickets who wish to extend their journey beyond the boundary stations of such tickets no longer need to travel on a train which calls at that boundary station, provided they have bought a ticket from that boundary station to their ultimate destination.  This brings the rule into line with season tickets, where it has always been the case that you do not need to travel on a train which calls at the boundary station in these circumstances.
Thirdly, two children under 5 years of age accompanying a fare-paying adult used to travel free.  This restriction has now been lifted, so a parent travelling with more that two children under 5 will not have to pay for any of them.
The new edition of the National Rail Conditions of travel is available here.

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.