New Rugby to London train service launched

By Dan Santy Tuesday 11 December 2012 Updated: 03/01 08:50

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Buy photos » London Midland this week launched its new Rugby to London service, running every hour and taking 56 minutes. (s)

LONDON Midland trains returned to normal on Monday (December 10) after weeks of disruption because of driver shortages.

The company, which runs trains through Rugby, said all shifts would now be covered and it would be able to run all of its 1,300 scheduled services because its new batch of trainees had completed their training.

This week the firm launched a new hourly fast train from Rugby to London to join those already provided by Virgin Trains.

It will take 56 minutes and start only as an off peak service but will later be moved to peak times.

Chair of Rugby Rail Users Group, Stephanie Clifford, said: "After the disastrous handling of the West Coast franchise, this is good news for Rugby passengers.

"We hope London Midland will deliver a service to be proud of."

Ms Clifford added the recent problems with London Midland's driver shortages had been frustrating for Rugby's commuters.

It has also been decided Virgin will hold on to its contract to run the West Coast Mainline - for now.

A two year contract was agreed with the government weeks after it lost the franchise to rival First Group. However, the process by which the tenders were assessed was found to have been done incorrectly and will be restarted again in the new year.

Trains will continue to operate under the Virgin Trains brand name, serving London, the Midlands, the North West, north Wales and Scotland.

It coincides with the early completion of a government-backed deal to roll out 106 new Pendolino carriages with four new 11-carriage trains and lengthening 31 existing trains from nine carriages to 11, adding 28,000 seats to services.

A new hourly service between London and Glasgow has also been introduced.

Chief executive Tony Collins said: "We have had great support from staff and customers in recent months and we will repay that loyalty with even better service.

"We are proud of what we have achieved since 1997, but there is undoubtedly more to come and we will work closely with the Department for Transport to bring even better services in future."

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