Solihull and Leamington Rail Users Association


GENERAL OVERVIEW

Services within the SALRUA area are provided by Chiltern Railways, West Midlands Railway and Cross Country.

Chiltern Railways Mainline trains operate between Birmingham Snow Hill/Moor Street and London Marylebone, with some peak services running to/from Stourbridge Junction or Kidderminster.  In addition to this core pattern there are local "shuttles" between Birmingham Moor Street and Leamington Spa. Direct services between London Marylebone and Stratford upon Avon have been reduced to a few peak time trains only with a two-hourly or so shuttle running between Leamington Spa and Stratford upon Avon

West Midlands Railway operate an intensive local service between Birmingham Snow Hill and Dorridge these include trains originating from more distant locations such as Worcester and Stourbridge Junction. Some peak and late night trains run through to Leamington Spa,. An hourly service to Stratford upon Avon via Solihull also runs, calling at stations to Dorridge before diverging towards Stratford upon Avon. In addition, a regular service to Stratford upon Avon via Henley in Arden and to Whitlocks End diverges from the main line at Tyseley.

West Midlands Railway will also begin operating a new hourly service between Leamington Spa and Coventry calling at the new station due to be opened at Kenilworth. This service was due to start late 2017 but is now expected to begin in late Spring 2018.

Cross Country Trains call at Leamington Spa twice each hour linking Reading and the South Coast via Birmingham New Street to either Manchester or the North East of England.  One of these services runs via Coventry, the other service running non-stop to Birmingham via Solihull.


STATIONS

Improvements, both major and minor, to passenger facilities continue to take place at many of the stations in SALRUA's area, over and above routine maintenance.

LOOKING AHEAD

Several of Chiltern's services are formed of ex-BR MkIII coaches that have been refurbished, hauled by Class 68 diesel-electric locomotives working in push/pull mode, and give probably the best ride in  Britain.  The coaches are fitted with sliding doors and more sets are envisaged in order to increase the number of seats available

West Midlands Trains are usually formed of new Class 172 DMU's.  These new units are faster, quieter, have full passenger information facilities, and have plenty of legroom.

Cross Country continue to use their fleet of Voyagers and Super Voyagers.  If the redoubling of the track between Leamington Spa and Kenilworth takes place, it is envisaged both services per hour will run via Coventry.  This would reduce the pressure on the Solihull route.

Although outside SALRUA's area, a new station at the Stratford upon Avon park-and-ride site has opened which could increase passenger traffic  at both the Leamington  and Birmingham ends of our interest.

SALRUA is frequently invited to participate in forward planning of rail services in the Midlands, and one aspiration that could increase traffic in the area is the extension of the Nuneaton to Coventry  service to Leamington Spa, via the new station at Kenilworth.  This is not a new idea, as over 20 years ago, a service from Nottingham to Stratford upon Avon was proposed, reversing at Leamington Spa.  It was so far
advanced that modified signalling was installed at Leamington Spa, but was never used.

For passengers with an interest in the history of railways, it is worth looking at a short piece of track  discovered at the station end of platform 1.  This track has the rail keys positioned on the inside of the rail.  This arrangement was common in the very early days of railways, and the chairs in this section of track are believed to date from between 1870 and 1885.  It is hoped eventually to clean this section as an exhibition piece.  At present access to progress this work is difficult.


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