Good railway news for a change!

Improvements could be made to Stone Station if a station adoption scheme gets the go-ahead.

Chair of North Staffs Rail Promotion Group Jon Heal shares updates on Stone’s rail service

Train Times

“Passengers have been wondering how different the train services at Stone will be after the December timetable changes,” writes Jon.

“In fact the answer is, not much at all.”

Rail users had been expecting a big reorganisation of services operated by West Midlands Trains, which includes the London Northwestern Railway service that calls at Stone. These changes were due to start on December 9th this year. However, after problems in other parts of the country when big changes came in earlier this year, the Government has played safe by postponing many of the December changes, including the ones to the Stone service.

“We are told that these changes will now start in May next year,” says Jon.

“We have asked to see the provisional timetable very soon to check if we think it will work!”

Rail users will have two choices to London as from May 2019. One option, changing at Stafford, should be the quickest way. The train calling at Stone will now provide both a direct service to Birmingham and also a rather longer route down to Euston. There should also be more trains running and a better evening service.

In December the timetable for Stone should be very similar to now, though a few trains will be changed by a couple of minutes. You can already check on www.nationalrail.co.uk by putting in the date you want to travel, and the times will be shown.

Adopting Stone Station

There have been a few past attempts to start up a station adoption in Stone, but support from the train company was not forthcoming. However, the North Staffs Community Rail Partnership is getting money from West Midlands Trains to improve facilities at some other stations including those at Stone. Until now North Staffs Community Rail Partnerships had mostly been limited to the Derby to Crewe line.

The new officer, Claire Sandys, is keen to meet with local people who have an interest in supporting the station in any way. Station adoption often starts with improving the look of the platform by getting station gardens back into life, but other things can be done as well. Stone Station has an interesting history which could be the basis for an exhibition. Claire hopes to be able to use the meeting room in the station for a storytelling festival.

Many adopted stations get artwork on display, often with the help of local schools. In fact, a local art group did exhibit a number of attractive posters last year in the shelter on the far platform. Four posters are still there, but since these were printed by the old train company London Midland, who no longer exist, nobody seems to know where the other posters went to!

If anybody needs further information, please contact Jon Heal of the North Staffs Rail Promotion Group at jhnorthstaffsrail@hotmail.co.uk.