Very good news for Nuneaton today. The Office of Rail and Road have given approval for Alliance Rail (GNWR – an open access operator) approval to run 6 train services a day between Blackpool and London, all calling at Nuneaton. We have been supporting and campaigning for this ever since the Government took away our fast services. It is reliant on trains being freed up from the East Coast initially and there is lots more to do before the trains are a reality but this is a major step forward. Services could start next year but probably 2020.
On the following weekends, there will be no trains to, or from London Euston whilst we carry out vital improvement work at Wembley, part of Britain’s Railway Upgrade Plan. This will also have an impact on other West Coast main line services.
· 18-19 August
· 25-27 August
· 1-2 September
We are asking people to try and avoid travel on those days where possible. Services will be busier, take longer and there will be diversions. Queuing systems will be in place at some stations, and bus replacements may also be used.
Passengers should visit [nationalrail.co.uk/westcoast]nationalrail.co.uk/westcoast or contact their train operators for further information.
Mark Whitelegg from the user group was interviewed on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire about the unfair fare rises from the beginning of January. Please follow this link and go to 2 hrs 9 minutes in.
This week marks the end of London Midlands tenure at Nuneaton and the start of a new franchise – West Midlands Trains, starting next week. As usual there is the promise of ‘jam tomorrow’ including new trains although there is unlikely to be much of a change for Nuneaton passengers with the exception of the Coventry service going to 3 trains an hour (3 at the weekend) at some point. We hope that the new franchise has a better start than London Midland who, after a poor start, became victims of their own success with passenger usage increasingly hugely.
West Midlands Trains Ltd – a joint venture between Dutch company Abellio, and Japanese duo East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co – has been awarded the rights to the West Midlands railway network from later this year.
The new operator has promised to invest £1 billion in the network, including new carriages and additional services to alleviate congestion on a variety of lines as well as new direct rush-hour services between London and Walsall.
The main changes that our stations will see are
1. Trains to/from London and North West will be extended from 4 to 8 coahces
2. Trains will now direct between Stafford and Stoke instead of via Stoke
3. Refunds if trains are more than 15 mins late
4. Free wifi
5. The likelihood of additional services at either end of the day
6. An additional hourly service between Nuneaton and Coventry giving a half hourly service during the week. Three trains an hour on Saturdays. This is subject to a new platform being constructed at Coventry
The new Franchise will take over from 10th December.
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 detail, 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. You can access the prospectus using this link