This virtual gathering was attended by reps from Marston Vale, Watford and Abfly rail user groups, among others. Much of the ground had been covered in LNR’s Abbey Line briefing (see my post of 31st August).
New points which may interest Abbey Line users:
- LNR’s new national rail contract (superseding the Government’s financial support during the pandemic) came into force on 19th September. Revenue “risk” now with Department for Transport. No details of contract yet but Lawrence Bowman (LNR’s Marketing Manager) claim that the investment programmes will continue (including new trains and station improvements).
- Station adoption – Tim Bellenger stated that every LNR station (apart from Kings Langley and two further north) was now adopted “in some form” including all on the Abbey Line. A new initiative with Watford Mencap covers adoption of Watford North and St Albans Abbey stations.
- Timetable Karen Booth explained the Abbey Line will have an “almost full” timetable restored from December this year. LNR are to arrange separate crew diagrams on local lines (Abbey & Marston Vale) to keep them separate from those on the “main line”.
- New timetable from December 2022. Max Taylor (Head of Business Planning) described how the timetable for the whole of the West Coast main line (including Avanti, LNR, West Midlands, Manchester & Liverpool) will have its first comprehensive review since 2008. Main changes will include:
- No “peak” timetable (reflecting post-Covid changes in commuting)
- Evenly spaced fast services operating throughout the day,
- All “slow” services stopping at Harrow
- More connectivity with Avanti services
- Consultation will be launched before Christmas
- Accessibility for disabilities & equalities. In what seems to be a new post, LNR introduced Peter Williamson who outlined a range of initiatives.