THE fight to retain intercity train services for Coventry has been stepped up with a ten-point plan to government.
It comes as Coventry’s Labour MPs and councillors across the political divide are campaigning to retain three fast trains an hour between Coventry, London and Birmingham.
The government is currently consulting on future services on the West Coast Main Line, which currently provides fast Virgin trains between London and Birmingham. stopping at Coventry.
Documents for the consultation seeking people’s views before August 2 suggest one future option could be to cut out ‘intermediate’ stations between England’s two biggest cities to speed up services.
People’s and organisation’s views are supposed to help shape a future blueprint for services, for which train operators will bid to provide when the current franchise is up for renewal.
Coventry City Council has now submitted a ten-point priority list as part of its consultation response to the Department For Transport, which also takes in connectivity with other towns and cities, and station development.
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, said: “One of our great strengths is how well connected we are.
“Our railway station is also the fastest growing station outside of London and it has a critical role to play in our work to attract new investment and create new jobs.
“It’s not acceptable that we could see fewer trains stopping at Coventry to speed up the connection between London and Birmingham.
“The department’s own vision says the new franchise needs to enable economic growth, support investment and build on high levels of customer satisfaction. We will be trying to hold them to this.”
The ten-point priority list is:
1 – COVENTRY TO LONDON. Retain o3 Inter City West Coast (ICWC) express services per hour between Coventry and London Euston with consistent journey times of 1 hour or less.
2 – COVENTRY TO BIRMINGHAM. Retain 3 ICWC express services per hour between Coventry, Birmingham International and Birmingham New Street.
3 – COVENTRY TO NORTH-WEST ENGLAND, GLASGOW AND EDINBURGH. Retention and development of one train per hour London Euston – Coventry – Glasgow Central or Edinburgh service (destination alternating each 2 hours).
4 – HIGH SPEED 2 WORKS AT LONDON EUSTON 2018-2021. Reassurance from HS2, Network Rail and the ICWC franchise operator that effects on Coventry to London Euston services will be minimised.
5 – COVENTRY STATION MASTERPLAN. Proactive engagement from the ICWC franchise operator, as Coventry station facilities owner, in delivering a new platform and new car park capacity.
6 – OTHER OPERATORS’ SERVICES AT COVENTRY. Proactive support for continuous improvement of passenger facilities and customer service to accommodate other new and developing train services.
7 – PERFORMANCE. ‘Radical, transformative commitment’ by the ICWC franchise operator to ambitious improvement targets.
8 – FARES. Commitment to value for money fares and simplifying ticket purchase.
9 – ON-TRAIN CAPACITY. Improving balance between First and Standard Class accommodation.
10 – PLANNING FOR HIGH SPEED 2 Ensuring development of a post-HS2 WCML train service after 2026.