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 also operate a new hourly service between Leamington Spa and Coventry calling at the new station opened at Kenilworth on 30 April last year.
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.
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.
Chiltern have announced a transformation project in Warwickshire which affects Solihull, Warwick Parkway and Leamington Spa stations. All works for this scheme to be delivered by the 31st March 2019. Key improvements are –
- Refurbishment of the booking hall
- Refurbishment of subway, stairs and landing
- Redecoration of the waiting room with new LED lighting
- Modernisation of ladies toilets on the platform
- Modernisation of gentlemen’s toilets on the platform
- Warwick Parkway
- Extension of station building to create additional waiting area and to house the TVMs
- Transformation of the booking office into an open plan booking office
- Reconfiguration and modernisation of the ladies, gentlemen’s and accessible toilets
- New café provision
- Remodelling of forecourt area
- Relocation of external TVMs to inside the new booking hall
- Leamington Spa
- Transformation of booking office to an open plan ticket office
- Booking hall to be extended towards the back office
- Main entrance door replaced with automatic sliding doors
- Additional wide aisle gate to the gateline
- Customer Information Screens & PA enhancements in Booking Hall
- Modernisation of both ladies and gentlemen’s toilets on the platform
- There are also plans for a Customer Information Point on platform 3. Listed Building Consent has been obtained for it to go ahead.
- Chiltern also have ambitions to improve the station forecourt at Leamington Spa station and Warwickshire Council have put a bid in for funds from the LEP
- Elsewhere a new entrance/exit is now in use at the northern end of Birmingham Snow Hill
- Improved toilets are being provided at Solihull and extra car parking is under review
- In addition to the Chiltern improvements there are plans for Solihull station to be rebuilt in a £20 million scheme, including reinstating the presently disused island platform. The previous scheme to relocate the station nearer to Touchwood Shopping Centre has been dropped.
- At Dorridge the booking hall is being refurbished and it is proposed to replace the canopy on the outside of the station. A "Friends of Dorridge Station" group has been formed to liaise with Chiltern on various projects.
- The car park at Hatton has been enlarged.
- The underfloor subway lighting at Warwick Parkway has been restored, and extra car parking is being considered. The Stagecoach X17 bus service now calls and connects with Warwick town centre, Leamington Spa, Kenilworth and Coventry
- Major improvements have taken place at Warwick where the subway has been completely renovated and buffet facilities may be provided
- At Leamington Spa the northbound waiting room has been completely restored with CCTV, improved passenger information facilities and disabled access. The area has been decorated with 1930's style railway posters provided by "Friends of Leamington Station", winning many national awards for their efforts. They also continue to improve the gardens. Similar arrangements are under way on the southbound platform, where a new buffet has recently opened. The stonework of the listed building is being cleaned. A large new car park has been opened to the north of the station.
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.