Jon Heal, Chair of North Staffs Rail Passenger Group tell the Gazette the latest news about Stone’s rail services.
Stone station gets a ticket machine
If you are catching a train from Stone, be aware that a working ticket machine is now in operation so you should buy a ticket before you board the train. The machine only accepts cards, but passengers without cards can still pay by cash on the train. The machine can also issue tickets from other stations, which is useful if you are having a break in your journey or returning from a different station.
Christmas travel problems?
Travellers may have encountered confusion about which trains were running in the days after Christmas. Jon Heal of NSRPG said,
“I was planning to go to London but for some unexplained reason my usual morning train missed calling at Stone and Stafford. When I raised this with London Midland, they admitted there had indeed been some confusion about the early morning services, and gave me an apology. Apparently, an error in the holiday timetable was not spotted in advance!”
If passengers wish to raise any similar local travel issues from the Christmas period, then please email the details to firstname.lastname@example.org, and NSRPG can pass them on.
Extra trains in 2017
We are pleased to report that an extra evening train from London to Stone was added in December. The last direct train now leaves Euston at 7.46pm, arriving at Stone at 9.51pm. There is also hope that two earlier trains that pass through Stone without stopping, because they are longer than the platform, may be able to stop here in the future. NSRPG have contacted Steve Helfet of London Midland, who is confident of announcing a agreement on this shortly.
The announcement about whether London Midland will continue to run the franchise next year will be made in the summer. This doesn’t immediately affect Stone, but in December 2018 the new service to Birmingham comes in, and passengers from Stone will change at Stafford for travel to London. Although this change has generated heated debate about which route is better for our area, the Birmingham service will provide more trains, every hour and throughout the day.
Community Rail Partnership
Now that London Midland have appointed Faye Lambert to encourage community involvement at their stations, they are better able to deal with suggestions from local rail users. Faye is well known to NSRPG as she was the officer running the North Staffs Community Rail Partnership for 10 years, and she is highly respected in the rail industry. If people wish to be more involved in improving the station, again email email@example.com and NSRPG can put you in touch with Faye Lambert at London Midland.