As you like it, the best way to travel Bard none

Shakespearean characters launch Solihull train serviceDay-trippers, culture vultures and shopaholics have been handed an early Christmas present with the first direct train service between Solihull and Stratford-upon-Avon in more than 30 years.

The new service, which begins on Monday (December 9), is the result of a £1.5m partnership deal between regional transport authority Centro, Warwickshire County Council and train operator London Midland.

Silhillians heading to the world renowned Royal Shakespeare Company or simply for a day out in the Bard’s home town are being offered an hourly daytime service running Monday to Saturday.

Meanwhile those in south Warwickshire heading to Solihull for some retail therapy at its flagship stores can also take advantage of the new service and leave the car behind.

Cllr Roger Horton, Centro’s lead member for rail and Metro, said: “Stratford-upon-Avon has always been a popular destination for West Midlands people while Solihull has established itself in recent years as a prime shopping location.

“This new direct rail service now makes it possible for people to have a great day out without having to worry about congestion or car parking. With Christmas fast approaching the timing of the launch could not be better.”

The new Solihull service has been made possible by the introduction of a second train each hour between Birmingham Snow Hill and Stratford-upon-Avon and routing it via Solihull on weekdays between 10am and 6pm. One of the two trains every hour on a Saturday will also go via Solihull.

There will also be a 7:29am morning peak train from Stratford-upon-Avon to Solihull and on to Birmingham Snow Hill (arriving at 8:19am) and an evening peak train leaving Snow Hill at 5:56pm for Solihull and arriving in Stratford-upon-Avon at 6:49pm.

Councillor Peter Butlin, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for transport and planning, said: “The new Stratford-upon-Avon to Solihull train service is great news for people living in south Warwickshire, particularly if they regularly travel to Solihull to work or shop. We hope that people in Solihull will also use this great new service to sample everything that Stratford-upon-Avon has to offer.

“Warwickshire County Council is committed to enabling people to choose more sustainable ways to travel and this improved timetable from London Midland, which we have worked closely with Centro to deliver, will also mean better transport links to and from Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon.”

Terry Oliver, London Midland’s head of Snow Hill services, added, “This is great news for residents of both Stratford-upon-Avon and Solihull, and I’m delighted that our partnership with Centro and Warwickshire County Council has enabled us to implement these changes.” 

The new services form part of a wider package of improvements for the line, which include the opening of the new Stratford Parkway train station by Warwickshire County Council earlier this year.

The new station enabled service enhancements, again jointly funded by Warwickshire County Council and Centro, to be introduced including making the last train between Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon 11:30pm instead of 9:30pm and increasing Saturday services to two trains an hour.

Full timetable details of the new services are available at http://www.networkwestmidlands.com/train93/stratford_station.aspx