December 14th. approaches. What is so special about that date? It is the inconvenient internationally agreed time for the annual timetable change - not a natural break between summer and winter traffic patterns. How will it affect us? Quite differently for each of our four train operating companies.
- CHILTERN TRAINS have announced full details of their new services on their web site and as expected are making no big changes.
- CROSS COUNTRY have now been operating for several months under the new Arriva (though they are being shy about their name) franchise. So far the timetable has not much changed but in December they are required to make drastic alterations. Full details are still under wraps but will be revealed in due course on their web site. The general picture is that trains will be more frequent but journeys north will frequently require a change at Birmingham New Street, where some ongoing trains will now be operated by Virgin West Coast.
- FIRST GREAT WESTERN have not announced their plans yet, but no drastic changes are foreseen.
- Finally, WREXHAM & SHROPSHIRE, our newcomers, have been getting established during the summer. As an open access operator, they are restricted in competition with established franchises. Therefore Banbury passengers are only accepted to or from Tame Bridge Parkway (where?), Cosford and points north.