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NRUG's response to London Midland's Project 110 proposals

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NCC & MGWSP - new bus interchange consultation document

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Latest meeting minutes uploaded - April 13th

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Latest News

16th February 2012
Meeting Dates Changed

Meetings will now take place on the second Saturday of every month, rather than the first. As before, there are no meetings in January and August.

7th February 2012
Additional Class 350 Desiros Confirmed For London Midland

The order for additional Class 350 Desiro units has now been confirmed - 20x 4-car sets have been ordered in total, with 10 being leased by First TransPennine Express for operation on newly electrified Manchester-Scotland services.
 
The units are expected to take on the 350/3 subclass, following on from the 350/1 and 350/2s that LM already operate.

7th December 2011
London Midland Change Peak Restrictions In December Timetable

London Midland have, from the new December timetable, extended peak time ticket restrictions on services leaving London Euston. This will now apply from 1645 until 1900 Monday-Friday.
 
The new timetables valid from December 11th can be found here.

27th October 2011
Virgin Trains Franchise Extended Until December 2012

Virgin Trains have today announced that they have been awarded an 8 month extension to their franchise on the West Coast Main Line - which will now end in December 2012.
 
The press release can be found here.

24th October 2011
London Midland Plan 110mph Running - But It's Not All Good News For Northampton

London Midland have produced a consultation document in support of their plans for proposed 110mph running on the West Coast Main Line using Class 350/1 units (known as Project 110). This would result in faster services to/from London Euston - however it would also mean the loss of the direct Trent Valley (Crewe) services for the majority of the day Monday-Saturday, which would run fast between Milton Keynes & Rugby via Weedon.
 
Consultation Document: click here. | Consultation Letter: click here.
 
The proposed Monday-Friday timetable for Project 110 can be found here.

5th May 2011
Additional Documents Mentioned In April Minutes

The two additional documents noted in April's minutes; a report by Aidan Burley with regards to extra services for Northampton as a result of HS2 and from Patrick Rawlinson on the subject of Northampton station can be found below.
 
HS2 extra services: click here. | Northampton station: click here.

30th March 2011
DfT Announce Shortlisted Bidders For New West Coast Franchise

The Department for Transport have announced their shortlist for those companies wishing to bid for the new West Coast Main Line (WCML) franchise, which will start on April 1st 2012. Those shortlisted are: Virgin Trains (Incumbent), Keolis/SNCF, First Group and Abellio.
 
The DfT document with regards to the shortlisting is available here.

25th March 2011
DfT Announce Shortlisted Bidders For New West Coast Franchise

The Department for Transport have announced their shortlist for those companies wishing to bid for the new West Coast Main Line (WCML) franchise, which will start on April 1st 2012. Those shortlisted are: Virgin Trains (Incumbent), Keolis/SNCF, First Group and Abellio.
 
The DfT document with regards to the shortlisting is available here.

4th March 2011
ORR Refuse Grand Central & Alliance Rail WCML Applications

The Office of Rail Regulation have refused both Grand Central & Alliance Rail's Open Access applications for services on the West Coast Main Line from April 2012. Both have been asked to potentially revise their applications and will discuss with the ORR whether or not these can be taken forward.
 
London Midland's proposals of extending the London Euston - Northampton - Crewe service to Liverpool Lime Street, and diverting one of the half hourly Birmingham - Liverpool services to Preston have also been rejected.
 
However, additional services between Northampton and Euston, as well as to Crewe, look likely to go ahead, bar any timetabling issues.
 
More information can be found on the Office of Rail Regulation's website here.
 
The Office of Rail Regulation's letter with regards to track access rights on the WCML can be found here.

26th February 2011
NRUG Response To West Midlands & WCML Route Utilisation Strategies

NRUG have published their response to the two draft consultation Route Utilisation Strategies that affect Northampton. These are the West Coast Main Line (WCML) RUS and the West Midlands RUS.
 
The response to the West Midlands RUS is available here.
 
The response to the West Coast Main Line RUS is available here.

12th February 2011
West Coast Main Line RUS - Rail User Group Consultations

During January, Passenger Focus held three consultation meetings in London, Preston and Glasgow for Rail Users Groups with regards to the West Coast Main Line Route Utilisation Stategy (RUS). Network Rail also gave a presentation to the attendees.
 
All of the presentations and group discussion notes from the meetings can be found in a ZIP file here.

24th January 2011
Grand Central Proposed North Western Service - Update

Grand Central have updated us on the latest proposals for their West Coast Main Line Open Access operation. These can be found here. We are still waiting on Grand Central's response to our request for a meeting/presentation.

23rd January 2011
Intercity West Coast Franchise Re-let - Consultation Document

The Department for Transport have published a consultation document for the new Intercity West Coast franchise, which will commence in April 2012.
 
The document can be found here.

23rd January 2011
Latest Minutes Now At Top Of Page

A link to the latest NRUG meeting minutes and agenda for the next meeting can now be found at the top of the page, next to the link for train performance.

31st December 2010
London Midland's Stakeholder Newsletter "On Track" December 2010

To read the Newsletter, please click here.

6th September 2010
London Midland's Stakeholder Newsletter "On Track" September 2010

To read the Newsletter, please click here.

22nd August 2010
London Midland's Stakeholder Newsletter "On Track" August 2010

To read the Newsletter, please click here.

18th May 2010
Proposed Reduction In Number Of Taxis Allowed To Ply For Hire At Northampton Station

"The Station Co-operative" (of cabs plying for hire at Northampton Station) has drawn attention to changes being imposed by London Midland which will, in their opinion, seriously diminish their ability to service demand for cabs at the station at busy times.
 
To access a copy of their letter to NRUG please click here.
 
This subject will undoubtedly be discussed at the next meeting of NRUG on 5th June.

14th May 2010
London Midland's Stakeholder Newsletter "On Track" May 2010

London Midland's latest Stakeholder Newletter includes news on LM's Great Escape (Part III) offer, and cheaper parking for some, but more expensive parking for others....
 
To read the Newsletter, please click here.

10th May 2010
London Midland Adds Over 100 New Car Parking Spaces At Northampton

London Midland has issued the following press release:

"London Midland is adding 124 new car parking spaces to increase capacity at Northampton station. The work will see another level added to the existing car park to cope with the present demand and boost capacity for future users.
 
Construction work will begin on May 15 and take around six days to complete. London Midland is investing £8 million in improving car parks across its network.
 
London Midland commercial director Alex Hynes said: “This is fantastic news for rail passengers in Northampton. We are investing millions of pounds to improve facilities for our passengers and Northampton is the latest to benefit.
 
“There is great demand for more car park spaces in Northampton and we hope that this new facility will encourage more people out of their cars and onto the train.”
 
NRUG welcomes this extension and will discuss the development at the next meeting of the Group on 5th June.
 
Visit www.londonmidland.com/parking for more information.

1st April 2010
London Midland's Stakeholder Newsletter "On Track" April 2010

London Midland's latest Stakeholder Newletter includes news on the strengthening of the 18.49 departure from Euston, details of LM's Great Easter Rail Sale, and news of additional parking - at King's Langley.
 
To read the Newsletter, please click here.

28th March 2010
London Midland Passenger Assistance

Passengers requiring assistance at Northampton station, and throughout their journey, are asked to give 24 hours notice to London Midland, if possible.
 
At a recent NRUG meeting the question of assistance for people travelling at short notice without being able to give 24 hours notice was raised; as was a further question about assistance to people who would appreciate help, but are not visibly disabled or handicapped in a way that the staff would know to immediately offer assistance.
 
London Midland's response was that notice for help is always appreciated, and whilst they would like 24 hours, they recognise people do travel at short notice, and in which case such intending customers  should call giving as much notice as possible. If you arrive without having had time to give prior warning and need help, then stop at the information desk and ask.
 
For people with "invisible" disabilities who are generally able-bodied but would appreciate some help, London Midland, quite fairly, pointed out that their staff will not know unless they are asked. So if you fall into this category and need some help,  please stop at the information desk as you go onto the platform and advise the staff.
 
To read London Midland's Accessibility Statement and for numbers to contact please click here.

27th March 2010
Lord Adonis Meeting Update

The meeting with Lord Adonis on February 8th, (and as previously reported in Latest News on February 13th - see below) was very successful. In line with agreed outputs of the meeting, NRUG is progressing the following actions:
  • Pressing the case for an early upgrade of  the Milton Keynes - Northampton - Rugby section of the WCML to full high speed running.  This has strategic advantage to the rail network through providing a fully redundant 4 track high speed rail system for the length of the WCML and the local advantage of removing the time penalties for running high speed trains via Northampton. Sally Keeble MP, NRUG Chairperson, will take this up with Network Rail.
  • Continuing to press the case for the new generation 125 mph  commuter trains for Northampton.  
  • Supporting the HS2 high speed railway programme in order to benefit from the consequential release of capacity on the WCML.

15th March 2010
Parking At Long Buckby

Anyone who has struggled to park at Northampton station, and is considering parking at Long Buckby, should be wary. The Gusher (The Daventry Express) reports (March 11) that the car park is full to overflowing and motorists parking on adjacent grass verges are being issued with parking tickets by Northamptonshire Police. What do Northampton and Long Buckby stations have in common? They're both in Northamptonshire - where there's no doubt a plan to alleviate the shortage of parking places at both locations, but little action.

8th March 2010
Avoid London Midland's Evening Off-Peak Restriction From London Euston

At the NRUG meeting on 6th February it was explained that the Evening Off-Peak Restriction from London Euston could be avoided by purchasing a ticket to a station beyond London Euston, and to which the return restriction does not apply. In his column in the current edition of Rail magazine, Barry Doe explains how this is possible. To read his column click here.

7th March 2010
London Midland's Stakeholder Newsletter "On Track" March 2010

To read London Midland's first edition of their stakeholder newletter, "On Track", please click here.
 
This includes news of new "Advance" fares from Northampton to London and Liverpool.

18th February 2010
Train Companies Show Their Commitment To Improving Cycle/Rail Travel

London Midland have won a prize at the National Cycle Rail Awards, which are sponsored by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), and which “celebrate the groundbreaking work being done by train companies, associated industry groups and individuals across the country to encourage the combined use of cycle and rail travel”.

However, this is for their efforts at Leighton Buzzard, and not at Northampton, where secure cycle parking places remain in short supply.

ATOC's press release can be read here.

13th February 2010
Meeting With Lord Adonis On February 8th

On 8th February a delegation from NRUG met with Lord Adonis, the Secretary of State for Transport, and Chris Mole M.P., the Rail Minister, to raise a number of concerns with regard to current issues and future developments. Along with the Rail Users was an officer from Northamptonshire County Council, the transport authority for Northampton. (NRUG was represented by Sally Keeble MP, Gyde Horrocks, Paul Minton, Elisabeth Townsend, Patrick Rawlinson, Sandi Coles and Paul Smith; NCC was represented by John Ellerby).

 

Northampton Rail Users Group has welcomed the commitments given by Lord Adonis, the Secretary of State for Transport, on key issues for Northampton Rail Users.

 

Lord Adonis gave the following commitments to the Rail Users:

  • To take up with London Midland the lack of consultation over the changes to the fare structure which meant that some people would face an increase from £22 to £46 for a day return ticket to London. He said he would also closely monitor the performance of the service.
  • To contact Network Rail over the need for a strategic upgrade to the Northampton to Rugby line to pave the way for faster trains.
  • He also said that he strongly supported ensuring that Northampton and Milton Keynes services benefit from the High Speed Rail Link to Scotland. The new link with free up space on the West Coast Mainline, and the Rail Users Group asked for Northampton to get priority for the fast slots.

Following the meeting, the Chairman, Sally Keeble M.P, said “Lord Adonis was very supportive. He took the point about the limits on use of off-peak tickets, and the lack of consultation. The changes have meant that travelling at certain times has become completely unaffordable for many people and have had a particularly severe impact on families.”

 

“He has also opened some doors for us, especially with Network Rail, so that NRUG can meet to press for improvements to the track. He recognised the strategic importance of rail services to Northampton as a government growth area, and the need for us to be part of the national expansion of the rail network.”

 

The commitments given, and actions now required, will be fully debated at the next NRUG meeting on 6th March (on this occasion at Northampton Station Training Room, commencing at 10.00).

6th February 2010
NRUG Delegation Meeting Lord Adonis On February 8th

A delegation of NRUG members, led by Sally Keeble M.P., will be meeting Lord Adonis, Secetary of State for Transport, on February 8th. A representative of the Local Transport Authority (Northamptonshire County Council) will also be attending. Main items for discussion are the pricing structure (and particularly the imposition of evening peak restrictions), structure of current train services (to London and Birmingham, and connectional opportunities), and the importance to Northampton of proposals for new High Speed Routes. Significant outputs from the meeting will be posted here.

5th February 2010
National Passenger Survey : Autumn 2009

Passenger Focus has published Official Statistics on passenger satisfaction with rail travel from the National Passenger Survey for Autumn 2009.  London Midland are amongst three train operators who have been reported as "significantly improved". The Passenger Focus press release can be seen here. This also provides a link to the full National Passenger Survey results.

4th January 2010
Introduction of Return Evening Peak Restrictions from London Euston and Birmingham New Street 

Northampton Rail Users are dismayed to find that London Midland have made changes to their weekday travel restrictions. These now apply between 16:45 and 18:45 from London Euston and between 16.35 and 18.00 from Birmingham New Street, for those returning to Northampton.
 
Passengers who are unaware of these restriction will have to buy a ticket for their return journey before they travel. If for instance they have bought an off peak return to London with a Railcard for £15.10, they will have to pay an extra £17.15 to travel back to Northampton.
 
People without a railcard can buy a return ticket for £22.90, but would have to pay another £26.00 for a single ticket to travel back in the restricted hours.
 
Northampton Rail Users Group consider this is very unfair treatment of passengers, especially as there has been very little notice given to the Group, or anybody else. The Group met with representatives from London Midland on 5th December, but the earliest indication that this was going to be implemented was posted on LM's website on 22nd December. Information has only been displayed at stations during the last few days.
 
There were eight Bank Holidays, Saturdays or Sundays between 22nd December and the implementation of these restrictions.
 
To see today's Northampton Chronicle and Echo's report, incuding comments from NRUG Chairman Sally Keeble, M.P., please click here.
 
To see London Midland's "announcement" and PDF of the leaflet, please click here.

26th November 2009
"Autumn Trains Are Right On Track"

The most recent set of performance statistics indicate a modest improvement in performance compared with the same period last year. NRUG member comments in the item in today's Chronicle and Echo. To view the story click here.
 
To view the current performance statistics click here.
 
This subject will be discussed fully with London Midland represntatives at the next meeting of Northampton Rail Users Group - December 5th, 10 a.m., at Northampton Guildhall.

11th November 2009
DfT 'Remedial Plan' For London Midland

The Department for Transport announced today that it had issued London Midland with a “Remedial Plan Notice” for “exceeding the Franchise Agreement threshold on cancellations”

London Midland will require to submit a plan outlining how they intend to reduce the number of cancellations, but also implement a package of 50,000 Day Rover tickets over the Christmas Period*, and spend an additional £4.4m on information systems over and above that already committed within the franchise.

(* Notwithstanding that there will be no trains on Christmas and Boxing Days, and that the rest of the holiday period will no doubt be strewn with engineering work).

To see the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State’s statement, click here

To see the Chronicle and Echo’s report click here. This includes comments from NRUG member, Shaun Hope.

4th October 2009 (Updated 22nd November 2009)
No Services From Northampton Station 06/09

At the meeting on 5th September, it was agreed that the Secretary would write to the Managing Director, GoVia. To see the letter click here. 22/11:- To See The Reply From GoVia, Please Click Here.

Additionally, it was agreed that the Chairman, Sally Keeble, would invite Lord Adonis, Secretary of State for Transport to a future meeting of the Group.  To see the letter of invitation click here.

06th September 2009
No Services From Northampton Station 06/09

  NRUG are very disappointed at the complete failure to run a Sunday service, we believe we have a reasonable expectation of a 7 day rail service. London Midland have known about this issue for some time and it is very disappointing that they have failed to implement a workable 7 day rostering system that ensures Sunday running is not affected by insufficient volunteers. Time has moved on from the British Rail days and no-one today should be referring to such old agreements as a reason for not providing a 7 day railway.
 
NRUG would also like to make it clear that the lack of Sunday running is not something that just affects a few leisure trips. The line serves to take a number of public sector essential workers into Euston all through the week. As a community we all need those medical staff, policemen and women and emergency service workers to be at their place of work and to be able to get there in a reliable and efficient manner. The University of Northampton also makes it clear that Sunday running is very important to them.
 
It is disingenuous of the Department for Transport to describe this solely as a matter for London Midland and the workforce without recognising it was the DfT who set out the franchise conditions, performed the due diligence on the bidders and have awarded the franchise.
 
We look forward to an early and enduring solution to this problem.
 
Update on the position for London Midland Train Services on Sundays:
 
London Midland is to continue enhanced overtime payments for an extended period while it seeks a long-term solution to Sunday working arrangements.
 
Following the cancellation of the majority of London Midland’s services last Sunday (September 6) meetings have been held with the trade unions and staff representatives for drivers and conductors to discuss the issues around Sunday working and the reasons for the low numbers of volunteers last weekend.
 
As a result of these discussions, and to ensure that London Midland passengers are not inconvenienced by further cancellations and disruptions with the Sunday services, London Midland managers have advised Aslef and the RMT we will continue to offer enhanced overtime payments for drivers and conductors working Sunday shifts.
 
This is again for a time limited period and we will be continuing to seek a longer term solution, as we have already been doing, as well as ensuring that we continue to offer passengers improvements to the performance and reliability of London Midland services across the week
 
We apologise for the disruption to services on September 6.  London Midland fully understands the need to be able to offer our passengers a robust and reliable Sunday service in the future.

16th May 2009
Sunday Strikes Shelved; Two New Dates Added

London Midland strike action, due to take place every Sunday from May 3rd until June 21st has been cancelled. Instead, two strike dates have been announced for Tuesday 19th May and Thursday 21st May. This will disrupt London Midland services between Northampton & London Euston, and may also cause disruption on London Midland services between Northampton & the North.

London Midland's special timetable and further details can be seen here.

9th May 2009
Network Rail Holiday Engineering Work Woes

NRUG member Geoff Steel has taken up with Network Rail and Passenger Focus the continuing total engineering blockades giving rise to lengthy spells of bus substitution over the Easter holiday period, the recent May Day weekend and the forthcoming Spring Bank holiday weekend.

Additionally, Geoff’s letter to “Rail Management”, published in their 5 May edition, is available to view here.

A statement from Network Rail is awaited and will be posted here.

27th April 2009
06:42 Virgin Trains Service To London Euston - Service Update

The derailing and subsequent damaging of two Virgin Pendolino units at Wembley has led to VT using a 5 Car Super Voyager train on the 06:42 service from Northampton to London Euston. There is no estimate for the length of time that the Voyager will be operating for, owing to the uncertainty of how long the more heavily damaged Pendolino will be out of service. These details have been added to the Service Info page on this site.

24th April 2009
London Midland Announce More Strike Days - Every Sunday Between 3/05 & 21/06

London Midland have announced further strike days - however this time it is not a one off date(s); strikes have been schedueled every Sunday beginning 3rd May until 21st June. London Midland intend to run a full Sunday service despite this action. London Midland's press release can be viewed here.

11th April 2009
London Midland Announce Another Strike Day - Tuesday 14th April

London Midland have announced that another strike day will be held on Tuesday 14th April due to an ongoing dispute with the RMT. London Midland's press release can be seen here.

The Emergency Timetable For Tuesday 14th Can Be Viewed Here (PDF)

The Chronicle & Echo article on the strike can be seen here.

11th April 2009
"We're Not Sardines"

Brian Binley MP has again raised the point of the 09.05 weekday service to London Euston to be strengthened with further carriages, after a repeat trip on the 09:05 service showed that the train was still severely overcrowded. The full article and details are available on the Chronicle & Echo site here.