Timetable Changes In December 2022 and May 2023
In December 2022, a major change will be made to the times of all services emanating from London Euston and running along the West Coast Main Line. In the West Midlands, this means major changes to services that operate along the corridor from Coventry to Wolverhampton. This will mean changes to services operated by West Midlands Railway, London Northwestern Railway, Avanti West Coast, Transport for Wales and CrossCountry. As an example, the Avanti West Coast service from Euston to Birmingham New Street, which operated every 20 minutes pre-Covid, will be split into a half-hourly express service stopping at Coventry and Birmingham International only, and an hourly "semi-fast" service which additionally stops at Watford Junction, Milton Keynes Central and Rugby.
The Snow Hill line services will not alter in December 2022, but changes will be made in May 2023 to produce a more resilient timetable. Chiltern Railways services will also be changed in May 2023 to integrate better with the services provided by West Midlands Railway.
How does this affect the Stourbridge line?
- Transport for Wales services from Birmingham International to Aberystwyth/Pwllheli/Holyhead will no longer call at Smethwick Galton Bridge but will call at Sandwell & Dudley instead. thus removing direct links from the Stourbridge line to Birmingham Airport, the NEC and Mid and North Wales.
- West Midlands Railway services from Birmingham New Street to Shrewsbury calling at all stations between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury will call at Smethwick Galton Bridge rather than Sandwell & Dudley, thus providing a far inferior slower direct link between the Stourbridge line and Shrewsbury.
- London Northwestern Railway services from Birmingham New Street to Liverpool Lime Street will continue to call at Smethwick Galton Bridge until the Midland Metro line to Brierley Hill opens in 2024. The Smethwick Galton Bridge stop will then be removed to allow an additional stop at Dudley Port, thus removing direct links from the Stourbridge line to Liverpool and the West Coast Main Line at Crewe.
The above changes effectively makes Smethwick Galton Bridge impotent as an interchange station for Stourbridge line passengers. SLUG strongly opposes these changes and has arranged a meeting with West Midlands Rail Executive to state its case for the retention of links to Birmingham International, Crewe, Liverpool and Mid/North Wales.
- The service level of 2 trains per hour to or from Kidderminster with an additional 2 trains per hour continuing to Worcester will be maintained.
- One train per hour will operate from Droitwich Spa to Worcester Foregate Street via Worcester Shrub Hill and one train per hour will operate directly from Droitwich Spa to Worcester Foregate Street.
- Services that operate to or from Kidderminster will operate as semi-fast services.
- Services that operate to or from Worcester will call at all stations.
- Extra dwell time will be built into the timetable at destination stations and at Snow Hill to improve the performance of the service.
The document makes no mention of any changes to the Sunday timetable. SLUG intends to raise this issue at its meeting with West Midlands Rail Executive.
The document showing all the changes proposed for December 2022 and May 2023 may be viewed by clicking on the link below.