Direct Walsall to London train to be introduced in major timetable changes
A new train service will take passengers direct from Walsall to London as part of a raft of timetable changes in the West Midlands.
Starting at Rugeley Trent Valley, the train will depart hourly and mean people travelling to the capital from Walsall, Cannock or Hednesford will no longer have to change in Birmingham.
And a reduced waiting time on the West Coast Mainline at Northampton will mean anybody travelling from the West Midlands to London will see their journey times reduced.
- Scroll down for full details on the new Walsall to London route
Other changes include increased Birmingham to Shrewsbury trains, faster services on the Chase Line and direct trains from Walsall to Birmingham International.
The new timetables will come in from May 19 and passengers can already plan their journeys via the West Midlands Railway website.
The rail franchise will be hoping the transition goes smoother than the introduction of Govia Thameslink Railway's new timetable last year, which led to hundreds of cancellations and lengthy delays across the country.
Key West Midlands Railway timetable changes:
- A new direct hourly service from Rugeley Trent Valley to London Euston via Cannock, Bloxwich and Walsall
- A direct Monday to Saturday half-hourly service from Walsall to Birmingham International
- An extra train each hour between Birmingham and Shrewsbury via Codsall
- Faster trains with more carriages on the Chase line between Rugeley and Walsall
- An extra train to Wolverhampton leaving Birmingham at 11.38pm and stopping at Smethwick Rolfe Street, Smethwick Galton Bridge, Sandwell & Dudley, Dudley Port, Tipton and Coseley
- Four trains an hour will continue through to Lichfield Trent Valley on the northbound Cross City Line, instead of the current two or three
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, said: “This is great news for those who want to go out for a night at the cinema, take in a show or see their favourite band because they know they will be able to get the train home thanks to later evening services on key routes.
"There will also be more services on Saturdays and Sundays which will help those going for a day out as well as those many people who work weekends.
“And for some of those commuters who struggle with overcrowded trains day in day out there will be extra carriages on a number of services, with a promise of more to come in future years thanks to West Midlands Railway’s £1 billion investment.“
More trains, more capacity
The number of trains running between Birmingham and Shrewsbury - calling at Bilbrook, Codsall, Albrighton, Cosford and Shifnal - will increase from one per hour to two on weekdays and Saturday and from two-hourly to hourly on Sundays.
And passengers in the Walsall area heading to the airport or NEC will be able to travel direct to Birmingham International for the first time when the changes are introduced on May 19.
Meanwhile journey times between Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley will be reduced thanks to the completion of the line's £100 million electrification. There will be a minimum of four carriages on the trains which will run at speeds of up to 110mph.
The train franchise has promised extra carriages across its network, with carriages previously used on the Chase line to be put on the Birmingham to Shrewsbury route.
West Midlands Railway is also introducing a later last service between Birmingham and Shrewsbury, although this will still not be as late as Transport for Wales' train leaving on the same route from New Street at 11.24pm.
Councillor Roger Lawrence, chair of the West Midlands Rail Executive and leader of Wolverhampton Council, said: “One of our key demands for the new West Midlands Rail franchise was more frequent services and more capacity and we are delighted to see that they are delivering on this.
"We are also eagerly anticipating further improvements in the years ahead.”
Passengers are advised to check train times before they travel due to the potential for disruption as the new services are introduced.
Key facts about the Walsall to London route
- The full route will start at Rugeley Trent Valley, finish at London Euston, take around three hours and call at a total of 28 stations.
- The earliest service will start at Walsall instead of Rugeley and leave at 6.02am, with the next service also starting at Walsall at 7.03am. All services terminate at Euston.
- The trains will call at Rugeley Trent Valley, Rugeley Town, Hednesford, Cannock, Landywood, Bloxwich North, Bloxwich, Walsall, Bescot Stadium, Tame Bridge Parkway, Birmingham New Street.
- They will then continue to London via Stechford, Lea Hall, Marston Green, Birmingham International, Hampton-In-Arden, Berkswell, Tile Hill, Canley, Coventry, Rugby, Long Buckby, Northampton, Wolverton, Milton Keynes Central, Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard and London Euston.
- The trains will depart Walsall at 49 minutes past the hour, every hour, from 8.49am.
- The journey time from Walsall to Euston will be between two hours 36 minutes and two hours 44 minutes.
- The last direct service to London will leave Walsall at 6.49pm, however passengers will still be able to leave for the capital as late as 11.40pm by changing at Birmingham New Street.
- Direct trains from Walsall are also hourly on Saturdays, with an extra later service leaving the station at 7.43pm.
- Reduced trains on Sundays will see just one direct service leaving Walsall at 9.14am.
- The new timetable will be in operation from Sunday May 19.