SALRUA AGM - WEDNESDAY 22nd MAY, 2013 - ODDFELLOWS HALL, LEAMINGTON SPA AT 7PM
Services within the SALRUA area consist of Chiltern Railways Mainline trains between Birmingham Snow Hill/Moor Street and London Marylebone, with some peak services to/from Kidderminster. In addition to this core pattern there are local "shuttles" between Birmingham Moor Street and Leamington Spa, plus the Stratford upon Avon service to/from London Marylebone that diverges from the main line at Hatton.
London Midland operate an intensive local service as far as Dorridge from many destinations beyond Birmingham Snow Hill, such as Stourbridge Junction and Worcester, etc. In addition, a regular service to Straford upon Avon via Henley in Arden and to Whitlocks End diverge from the main line at Tyseley.
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.
- A new entrance/exit is now in use at the northern end of Birmingham Snow Hill
- Solihull and Dorridge have transferred to Chiltern control
- Improved toilets are being provided at Solihull and extra car parking is under review
- 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" has been formed to liaise with Chiltern on various projects.
- The car park at Hatton is being 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 is to be provided. The stonework of the listed building is being cleaned. Extra car parking is now available on both sides of the station.
Several of Chiltern's services are formed of ex-BR MkIII coaches that have been restored, hauled by Class 67 diesel-electric locomotives working in push/pull mode, and give probably the best ride in Britain. The coaches are to be fitted with sliding doors and more sets are envisaged in order to increase the number of seats available
London Midland has just received a new fleet of Class 172 DMU's to replace the 20+ year-old BR Sprinters. 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, the proposed new station at the Stratford upon Avon park-and-ride site 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, with a 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.