An outbreak of common sense?2nd May 2007
When it was announced that Anglo-Scottish services along the West Coast Mainline wouldn’t be part of the new CrossCountry franchise, I and a lot of others expressed our concern about the move. At that stage, the plan was that Transpennine Express would fill the gap, a very silly thing to do because their trains wouldn’t have been up to the task in terms of capacity and speed. Now, according to Rail magazine, the Department for Transport’s rail group has opted for what seems to be a more sensible solution…
It now seems that Birmingham-Scotland West Coast services are transferring to the Virgin’s West Coast franchise when the new CrossCountry franchise starts later this year. It does mean that people travelling from south of Birmingham to places such as Penrith and Oxenholme will need to change at new Street station, hardly an ideal situation but things could have been much worse. Super Voyagers will pass to Virgin West Coast to support the additional services that they’ll need to run; there is a plan to upgrade them to feel more like Pendolinos.
In 2009, things get more interesting with service levels increasing. Hourly Birmingham-Scotland and Birmingham-Chester services are proposed. Regarding the latter, I can foresee the current Arriva Crewe-Chester services getting replaced by these and some will extend to Bangor and Holyhead in North Wales.
It all looks so much better than it could have been and I for one will be keeping an eye on things…
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