2 august 2018
chiltern railway service changes due to closure of euston station
London Euston station will be closed on three successive weekends later this month to enable engineering work to take place. The dates of the closure are 18-19 August, 25-27 August and 1-2 September.
For Stourbridge line passengers, this means some good news and some bad news.
First, the good news. On the three Sundays in question, through trains from Kidderminster to London Marylebone will not be affected with through trains departing from Kidderminster at 0940 and 1113 and returning from London Marylebone at 1810 and 1940. In addition, on Monday 27 August (the later summer bank holiday), a revised timetable will see four through journeys in each direction - from Kidderminster at 0629, 0712, 0809 and 0912 with return journeys from London Marylebone at 1710, 1810, 2010 and 2110.
Now, the bad news. On the three Saturdays in question, the Chiltern website states that “In accordance with the partial closure of the Euston to Birmingham route due to engineering works, Chiltern Railways services between Marylebone and Birmingham will convey additional carriages. No Chiltern Railways services will serve Birmingham Snow Hill and stations to/from Kidderminster; Marylebone/Birmingham services will serve Birmingham Moor Street ONLY.”
The timetable for these three Saturdays shows that the stock that resides overnight in Chiltern’s Stourbridge depot and which normally runs in service from Kidderminster in the morning and back to Kidderminster in the evening will instead run as empty coaching stock to and from Birmingham Moor Street. It means that 4 of the first 10 trains of the day from Kidderminster will be cancelled, meaning inconvenience to passengers and overcrowding on the remaining West Midlands Railway services.
This is not the first time that this has happened - Chiltern did exactly the same thing over the Spring Bank Holiday. What made it worse was that there were a lot of passengers along the Stourbridge line who turned up on a Bank Holiday to catch one of these trains only to find that it wasn’t running. There was no announcement in the local press, nor notices at Stourbridge line stations. It appears that everybody uses the Internet! However to add to the confusion, the National Rail Enquiries website on 2 August stated that no Chiltern trains would run between Snow Hill and Moor Street but showed the four Chiltern services from Kidderminster as actually running. You couldn’t make it up. The National Rail Enquiries page may be viewed by clicking the link below.
SLUG will be bringing this matter up with Chiltern for their comments. SLUG will also raise the matter with the West Midlands Railway Executive to find out what they can do. Euston closures are going to be a common occurrence over the next few years as the station is remodelled for HS2. It is not right that Stourbridge line passengers should be the losers because of engineering work over 100 miles away.