What's happened to the direct trains between London and Stratford-upon-Avon?

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Bungle73

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Thinking of gong there "some time", but I was just looking up the trip on NRE to remind myself of how long the journey was and it is showing zero direct trains! This was on a few random week days. There used to be several a day!
 
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berneyarms

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They've switched to a more frequent connecting service at Leamington Spa since the Oxford services were launched.
 

Cherry_Picker

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Few and far between these days. There are decent connections at Leamington Spa and Dorridge though.
 

Bungle73

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But having to change trains when you're lugging a suitcase is a huge hassle. I was expecting a nice easy direct ride.
 

CyrusWuff

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Only direct trains in the Winter/Spring timetable are as follows:
  • Mondays to Fridays
    • 0618, 1824 and 2043 from Marylebone
    • 0733, 1736 and 2139 from Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Saturdays
    • None from Marylebone
    • 0756 from Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Sundays
    • 0943 from Marylebone
    • 0938 and 2038 from Stratford-upon-Avon

Connections at Leamington Spa are available every 2 hours, and at Dorridge or Solihull every hour.
 

thenorthern

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I would say practicality is another reason as much of the Warwick to Stratford-upon-Avon line is single track and to reach Stratford from London its a bit of a roundabout route after Banbury.
 

Groningen

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That 10.10 from London Marylebone is with a change in Leamington Spa still more than 30 minutes faster than the direct train. To London the german travelplanner gives 1 train with a change in Birmingham. I think that it is a detour. Almost 1 hour longer in travel, than that 10.10 train.
 

dk1

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Loadings where never that great. Operators know best how & where stock & services are best utilised.
 

Andrewlong

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I used to travel to Stratford to see my mother directly from Reading when FGW ran services from Paddington. With fewer Chiltern through trains, you are forced to wait at Leamington Spa for a connection which I wouldn't recommend if it's over an hour, or go for a taxi from Leamington to Stratford or possibly a bus.

Warwick Parkway has a frequent service from Marylebone but you need to get a bus/taxi to Stratford.

It's all pretty poor as train service to the home of the bard. If I was to travel to Stratford now, I would take my car.
 

387star

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Loadings where never that great. Operators know best how & where stock & services are best utilised.

The thames trains used to be full of tourists from oxford

This is depressing news as as recently as summer 14 I took advantage of that service
 

387star

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This 1993 pic shows the launch of the then new London service to Paddington
 

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jimm

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The thames trains used to be full of tourists from oxford

This is depressing news as as recently as summer 14 I took advantage of that service

Blame the SRA/DfT for this one, as they wanted to make the franchise map neat and tidy, so moved the London-Stratford service to Chiltern, which never wanted it in the first place - just an annoying distraction from serving Birmingham - and of course severed the tourist-friendly link with Oxford, which was a fundamental reason why BR had designed the service that way in the first place in the early 1990s.

FGW/GWR has expressed an interest in resuming a Stratford service in the past and the idea was mentioned in invitation to tender in the aborted GW franchise contest in 2013.

4.3.2.2 Franchise Geography
The Franchise Agreement (paragraph 2.2 of Schedule 1.6), sets out the routes over which the Franchisee is permitted to operate. This has been based on those of the current franchise plus two further routes that have been added following receipt and review of suggestions from Bidders prior to the issue of the ITT. The additional routes over which the Franchisee may also operate if they so wish are:
Southampton Central to Poole from May 2017 onwards only; and
Banbury to Stratford upon Avon.
Bidders are free to operate trains over these routes, subject to fulfilling the other requirements of the Franchise Agreement. Such services will not form part of the TSR. By accepting Bids which include plans for such services, the Department does not guarantee it will support future applications for track access on these routes. During Bid assessment the Department may risk adjust revenue or cost assumptions if it believes the Bidder has
taken an unreasonable view on any future allocation of track access rights.

GWR has also put money into studies for Honeybourne-Stratford reopening and still broadly supports that idea.
 

berneyarms

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I used to travel to Stratford to see my mother directly from Reading when FGW ran services from Paddington. With fewer Chiltern through trains, you are forced to wait at Leamington Spa for a connection which I wouldn't recommend if it's over an hour, or go for a taxi from Leamington to Stratford or possibly a bus.

Warwick Parkway has a frequent service from Marylebone but you need to get a bus/taxi to Stratford.

It's all pretty poor as train service to the home of the bard. If I was to travel to Stratford now, I would take my car.

When would you have to wait for "over an hour" at Leamington Spa for a connection if travelling between Reading and Stratford?

There are actually more trains now between Stratford and Leamington Spa than there were before the last timetable change?
 

route:oxford

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Admittedly some trains could get busy at certain times of the day/year but they where few & far between.

165 units, 3+2 seating, no air conditioning and tourists with luggage would give the perception of being busy.

The Chiltern line has also improved considerably in recent years, back in the olden days a considerable number of Banbury people would take the Stratford service from Paddington. Was it the Thames Turbo 17:18(?) from Reading (start Paddington) which went to Stratford - it was usually standing only to Oxford and being a TT wasn't subject to peak restrictions from Paddington.
 
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Andrewlong

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When would you have to wait for "over an hour" at Leamington Spa for a connection if travelling between Reading and Stratford?

There are actually more trains now between Stratford and Leamington Spa than there were before the last timetable change?

My experience was from 2012. I can't speak for what happens now. You can travel from Reading to Leamington every 30 minutes - I doubt there is a connecting service at Leamington to meet it so a wait is inevitable. If thee service has more become more frequent then that's great news.
 

jimm

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165 units, 3+2 seating, no air conditioning and tourists with luggage would give the perception of being busy.

The Chiltern line has also improved considerably in recent years, back in the olden days a considerable number of Banbury people would take the Stratford service from Paddington. Was it the TT 17:18(?) from Reading (start Paddington) which went to Stratford - it was usually standing only to Oxford and being a TT wasn't subject to peak restrictions from Paddington.

The Paddington-Stratford service was booked for Class 166s, not 165s. Air con if you were lucky. And people did use the services. That it ended was down to a central decision to tidy up the franchise map, not how people were actually using the trains.

That the services ran Paddington-Oxford-Stratford, rather than from Marylebone, was the result of a lot of work looking at what the tourist markets and travel patterns were, not the tossing of a coin at NSE Towers.

The Chiltern Line may have been improved, Chiltern's offer for Stratford has not. And before anyone goes 'look at all the connections there are now' - again - tourists don't like changing and people in Stratford who want a train to London continue to vote with their cars and drive to Warwick Parkway, as it's quicker than using the train to and from Stratford.

So going back to the future and having a service from Paddington, via Oxford, aimed fair and square at the tourist market is probably the best bet for the long term. And if it can eventually go via the Cotswold Line, then to Stratford via Long Marston, so much the better.
 

HowardGWR

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So going back to the future and having a service from Paddington, via Oxford, aimed fair and square at the tourist market is probably the best bet for the long term. And if it can eventually go via the Cotswold Line, then to Stratford via Long Marston, so much the better.

And if the trains at tourist times could be slowed down through Adlestrop, how much better? Even better than that, if late afternoon return trains could actually stop, and the p.a. play the poem and bird song , wow!

I am for once, serious. It could be worth reconstructing the platforms and signs too.
 

CyrusWuff

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Self-fulfilling prophecy really...Divert the direct trains away from one tourist destination (i.e. Oxford) and lose most of the market that existed to coach tour operators, thereby making the case for reducing the service to a shuttle for much of the day...which doesn't exactly encourage people to go by train!

As an example, London Walks used to do a regular day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon...That last ran in their Summer 2014 schedule as far as I can tell. Instead, they now do an Oxford and The Cotswolds tour from Paddington.
 

Andrewlong

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And if the trains at tourist times could be slowed down through Adlestrop, how much better? Even better than that, if late afternoon return trains could actually stop, and the p.a. play the poem and bird song , wow!

I am for once, serious. It could be worth reconstructing the platforms and signs too.

Uncalled for sarcasm. I doubt your average tourist from overseas would know where Adlestrop was and would care even less about its significance!
 

jimm

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And if the trains at tourist times could be slowed down through Adlestrop, how much better? Even better than that, if late afternoon return trains could actually stop, and the p.a. play the poem and bird song , wow!

I am for once, serious. It could be worth reconstructing the platforms and signs too.

I've no idea if you are being serious or not, but the fact remains that many tourists, especially from Japan, combine visits to Oxford, the Cotswolds - the Japanese signs at Moreton-in-Marsh station are there for a reason - and Stratford, so for the railway to be able to offer simple, easily-understood access to this full set of destinations using a single properly-marketed route, to both independent travellers and tour operators, would be a bolted-on moneyspinner. Never mind the benefits reopening Honeybourne-Stratford would have for local residents.
 

MichaelAMW

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My experience was from 2012. I can't speak for what happens now. You can travel from Reading to Leamington every 30 minutes - I doubt there is a connecting service at Leamington to meet it so a wait is inevitable. If thee service has more become more frequent then that's great news.

I think that just means you're catching the wrong train from Reading...
 

Rail Ranger

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A BR spokesman once famously said that it would have been better if Shakespeare had been born in Coventry.
 

6Gman

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It's all pretty poor as train service to the home of the bard.

But I have it on good authority that Shakespeare never travelled by train, so why should the railway go out of its way for him?





:D
 

D1009

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Was there once a train leaving Stratford for Paddington around 2300 designed for returning theatre goers?
 
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