A series of timetable changes to further improve the reliability of West Midlands Railway trains will come into effect next week, more than two months ahead of schedule, the operator has confirmed.
Due to the complexity of the planning processes involved, changes to railway timetables can usually only be made twice each year, in May and December.
However, as part of the Improvement Plan unveiled by new West Midlands Railway managing director Julian Edwards to improve the reliability of services, the operator has won the agreement of Network Rail to make a number of important alterations from Monday 2 March 2020.
The changes, which affect a small number of services, will build on improvements made in December 2019 and will lay the groundwork for more substantial alterations coming into effect in May 2020.
Since the December changes, cancellations are down 80% and the number of trains arriving on time has risen from 68.1% in November to 83.1% in January, according to the industry-standard Public Performance Measure.
Julian Edwards, managing director of West Midlands Railway, said:
"These timetable changes are another important step of the Improvement Plan we have launched to improve the reliability of our services for the benefit of our customers.
"Negotiating to bring these amendments forward by more than two months has not been easy but improving the experience for our passengers as quickly as possible is our top priority."
Changes from Monday 2 March include:
- Some trains heading towards Liverpool will no longer stop at Coseley on weekdays (off-peak)
- Some trains heading towards Stoke and Crewe will no longer call at Smethwick Galton Bridge on weekdays (off-peak)
- The 0710 service from Stourbridge Junction to Snow Hill on Monday-Saturdays will now depart at 0713 and will no longer call at Jewellery Quarter (previously calling 0737). Other departure times for the 0710 at stations along the route will change slightly.
A further significant change will come into effect from Monday 16 March, greatly improving reliability for passengers on Chase Line stations including Rugeley Trent Valley, Rugeley Town and Hednesford.
From that date, one weekday departure per hour from Rugeley Trent Valley which previously travelled to London via the Chase Line will now terminate in the West Midlands, either at Birmingham International or Coventry. Affected services are the 0820, 0921, 1020, 1120, 1220, 1320, 1420, 1516, 1620, 1720, 1820 and 1918. The frequency of trains between Birmingham and London will not change.
About West Midlands Trains
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West Midlands Trains operates both West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway services.
- London Northwestern Railway services operate between Liverpool and Birmingham, and on the West Coast mainline to and from London Euston.
- West Midlands Railway services operate to destinations across the West Midlands via Birmingham New Street.
The West Midlands Trains franchise started on 10 December 2017 and will run until 2025/26.
West Midlands Trains operates 1,300 services a day, manages 150 stations and provides over 80 million passenger journeys a year. Over the course of the franchise, West Midlands Trains will be investing £1 billion into the rail network to deliver new trains, improved routes and station upgrades. This will include 400 new train carriages across the network and space for an extra 85,000 passengers into Birmingham and London at peak times.
The franchise is a joint venture between Abellio (70.1% share) and East Japan Railway Company / Mitsui & Co., Ltd (29.9% share in a 50:50 split). Abellio is the international passenger transport subsidiary of the Dutch national railway company, Nederlandse Spoorwegen. In the UK, Abelllio operates ScotRail and Greater Anglia train services, Merseyrail services in a joint venture with Serco and buses through Abellio London. For more information visit www.abellio.com
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