Travel Advice

Update: 1800hrs, 3rd April 2020

As part of an industry-wide response, we are running a reduced service for essential journeys, for key workers such as NHS staff, emergency workers and carers.

The government has made it clear that public transport is for essential use only, so that key workers and our staff an practice social distancing and be safe on their journeys. If you are not one of these workers and your journey is not essential, please do not travel.

We thank our staff for their courage and dedication, and we thank our passengers for their co-operation during these most challenging of times.

Coronavirus has had a big impact on staff availability in light of the government’s advice on self-isolation. In recognition of this, most routes have a reduced timetable in place.

However, some routes will have no service from 6th April. This is to ensure Network Rail and ourselves are focusing resources where they are needed most, particularly on trunk routes carrying both freight and key worker traffic. On the West Midlands Railway network, the following route is affected:

  • Stone - Stoke / Stafford

If you are a key worker travelling to/from Stone and have no alternative means of getting to work without the train service (e.g. no access to a car), we need to hear from you. Please also get in touch if our reduced timetables make travel impossible for you.

Simply email us at [email protected] giving details of your journey, your place of work and your working hours. This will help us to understand whether an alternative solution can be found.

From Monday 6 April, we will be changing our timetable, running fewer services in a modular way. This means that we can keep more of our network open for as many people as possible – but still for essential journeys only.

All timetables are available to download now. During Friday, online journey planners will be updated with the latest information for future train services. Below is a summary of our new timetable plan.

Birmingham New Street lines

Birmingham – Northampton

  • Birmingham New Street – Northampton, via Coventry (all stations) – hourly (increases to 2 trains per hour from 15 April).

In addition, Avanti West Coast is planning to run hourly between Coventry – Birmingham International – Birmingham New Street – Wolverhampton, and CrossCountry will be running hourly between Leamington Spa – Coventry – Birmingham International – Birmingham New Street – Wolverhampton – Stafford – Stoke-on-Trent.

Cross City (Lichfield - Redditch/Bromsgrove)

  • Lichfield Trent Valley – Birmingham (all stations) - 2 trains per hour
  • Birmingham – Barnt Green (all stations) 2 trains per hour
  • Birmingham – Alvechurch - Redditch – hourly
  • Birmingham – Bromsgrove – 2 trains an hour
  • University – Birmingham – 3 trains an hour

CrossCountry is planning to run every 2 hours between University – Birmingham New St

Chase Line (Rugeley/Walsall - Birmingham)

  • Birmingham – Rugeley Trent Valley (all stations) - hourly

Wolverhampton - Birmingham New Street

  • Wolverhampton – Birmingham – 3 trains per hour
  • Wolverhampton – Birmingham, all stations – hourly
  • Sandwell & Dudley – Wolverhampton / Birmingham – 2 trains per hour
  • Smethwick Galton Bridge – Wolverhampton / Birmingham – 2 trains per hour

Avanti West Coast will run hourly between Wolverhampton and Birmingham New Street, calling at Sandwell & Dudley

CrossCountry will run hourly (non-stop) between Wolverhampton and Birmingham New Street

Birmingham New Street - Stafford / Crewe

  • Birmingham New St – Liverpool, via Penkridge / Stafford / Crewe – hourly
  • Alsager, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent, Stone – no service

CrossCountry ​is planning to run hourly between Birmingham – Stoke-on-Trent via Stafford

Hereford / Shrewsbury lines

  • Worcester Shrub Hill – Droitwich Spa – Bromsgrove – University - Birmingham New Street– hourly
  • Hereford, Ledbury, Colwall, Great Malvern, Malvern Link – rail replacement bus service
  • Worcester Foregate St – Droitwich Spa – Birmingham Snow Hill – hourly
  • Shrewsbury – Wolverhampton (all stations) – Sandwell & Dudley - Birmingham New Street – hourly

Birmingham Snow Hill lines

  • Dorridge – Solihull – Birmingham Snow Hill – hourly
  • Birmingham Snow Hill – Kidderminster via Stourbridge Junction – 2 trains per hour
  • Stratford-upon-Avon – Birmingham Snow Hill via Whitlocks End – hourly
  • Worcester – Birmingham Snow Hill – hourly

Chiltern Railways is planning to run hourly between Leamington Spa –​ Dorridge – Solihull – Birmingham Moor Street

Branch lines

  • Coventry – Nuneaton – Leamington Spa – hourly
  • Stourbridge Town – Stourbridge Junction – 4 trains per hour (starts earlier, finishes later than currently)

CrossCountry is planning to run hourly between Leamington Spa – Coventry

Our reduced timetable ensures that vital train services can keep running throughout a prolonged coronavirus outbreak. It will remain in place until further notice, though service levels will be kept under regular review.

This is a summary of the timetable we plan to run. Short notice issues may also lead to alternations on the day, so please check wmr.uk/plan before you set off.

Download full timetables here.

Birmingham New Street lines

Coventry – Birmingham New Street via Birmingham International

  • Northampton via Rugby – hourly
  • Coventry, Birmingham International – 2 trains per hour
  • Tile Hill, Berkswell, Hampton-in-Arden, Marston Green – 2 trains per hour
  • Canley, Lea Hall, Stechford, Adderley Park – hourly

In addition, Avanti West Coast is planning to run hourly between Coventry – Birmingham International – Birmingham New Street – Wolverhampton, and CrossCountry will be running hourly between Leamington Spa – Coventry – Birmingham International – Birmingham New Street – Wolverhampton – Stafford – Stoke-on-Trent. Transport for Wales is also planning an hourly service between Birmingham International and Shrewsbury.

Cross City (Lichfield - Redditch/Bromsgrove)

  • Lichfield Trent Valley – Redditch, via Birmingham – 2 trains per hour
  • Birmingham – Longbridge, via Selly Oak – 4 trains per hour
  • Birmingham – Redditch – 2 trains per hour
  • Birmingham – Bromsgrove – 2 trains per hour

CrossCountry is planning to run hourly between University – Birmingham New St

Chase Line (Rugeley/Walsall - Birmingham)

  • Birmingham – Tame Bridge Parkway – Walsall - 2 trains per hour
  • Birmingham – Walsall, all stations – hourly
  • Birmingham – Rugeley – hourly

Wolverhampton - Birmingham New Street

  • Wolverhampton – Birmingham – 5 trains per hour
  • Wolverhampton – Birmingham, all stations – hourly
  • Sandwell & Dudley – Wolverhampton / Birmingham – 2 trains per hour
  • Smethwick Galton Bridge – Wolverhampton / Birmingham – 3 trains per hour

Birmingham New Street - Stafford / Crewe

  • Stafford – 3 trains per hour
  • Crewe, via Penkridge and via Stoke-on-Trent – hourly
  • Liverpool, via Crewe – hourly

CrossCountry is planning to run hourly between Birmingham – Stoke-on-Trent via Stafford

Hereford / Shrewsbury lines

  • Hereford – Birmingham New Street via Worcester / Great Malvern – hourly
  • Worcester – Birmingham Snow Hill – hourly
  • Shrewsbury – Birmingham New Street – hourly

Birmingham Snow Hill lines

  • Birmingham Snow Hill – Kidderminster, via Stourbridge Junction – 2 trains per hour
  • Birmingham Snow Hill – Worcester, via Droitwich Spa – hourly
  • Dorridge – Birmingham Snow Hill – hourly*
  • Stratford-upon-Avon – Birmingham Snow Hill, via Whitlocks End – hourly*

*extra trains Monday-Friday during peak times

Chiltern Railways is planning to run hourly between Leamington Spa –​ Dorridge – Solihull – Birmingham Moor Street

Branch lines

  • Coventry – Nuneaton – Leamington Spa – hourly
  • Stourbridge Town – Stourbridge Junction – 4 trains per hour

CrossCountry is planning to run hourly between Leamington Spa – Coventry

Following the government advice that people should avoid non-essential travel, we have built a plan to keep everyone moving who needs to. Under this plan, we have made some important changes to the way we run our trains:

  • We have relaxed our policies on refunds so customers can cancel or change their travel plans more easily
  • We have stepped up our cleaning regime, focusing on high-touch areas such as handrails and hard surfaces
  • Some of our ticket offices and other station retail outlets may close or operate to shortened hours
  • We are limiting close personal contact between our staff and the travelling public. For this reason you may not see the conductor on your train but be assured they are there if needed in an emergency
  • Our frontline staff, such as those on trains, at stations and in depots, cannot work from home. Many are coming to work while dealing with difficult personal circumstances relating to COVID-19. We ask you to understand the environment they are working in and support them as we all deal with these unprecedented circumstances​
Safe Travels

If you choose not to travel

If you bought your ticket from us, we're happy to temporarily waive the £10 admin fee when applying for a refund on single and return tickets, for journeys between now and 31st May 2020.

Additionally, all Advance fares purchased before 7am on Monday 23 March can be refunded with no admin fee.

Season tickets are eligible for a refund if they still have at least 7 days' validity left (although annual passes have no refund value after 10 months and 13 days, due to the discount already incorporated into the price). The £10 admin charge still applies for refunds on season tickets.

Where to change your ticket or apply for a refund

Please DO NOT go to the ticket office for your refund.

In line with government advice to stay at home and for the safety of our staff, please apply online. This option is available now, please apply here.

Don't worry if you have already stopped commuting, following the government advice on 23 March: we will calculate refunds based on the day you stopped travelling.

Tickets bought online or by phone

For tickets bought through our App or website, please log into your online account to access your bookings under 'My Account'. Alternatively, for season ticket holders please email Season Ticket Support, for all other ticket types email General Ticket Support. Please be patient - refund requests are obviously at unprecedented levels, and it will take longer than usual to process your refund. Tickets bought at stations will need to apply here, the email addresses here are for online or phone purchases only.

The call centre is not currently available - please apply for a refund online or via email. If you purchased your tickets from another retailer (e.g. Trainline), please contact them directly.

Following the latest government update on COVID-19, we would like to reassure our passengers that we are committed to playing our part in keeping them safe and well, and to getting them to their destinations on time.

We also urge passengers to help out by keeping up to date with the latest official health advice. For health information and for answers to frequently-asked questions on travelling by rail during this challenging period please click here to visit National Rail's coronavirus page.

To help older people and people with disabilities take advantage of special retail hours, we are removing the ‘no travel before 9.30am, Monday-Friday’ travel restriction for English National Concessionary Pass holders until further notice.

For most people, the answer is no. You should only travel if your journey is essential. If you are unsure if your journey is essential, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus for guidance. If you travel unnecessarily you could be fined by the police.

The current government and NHS guidance recommends that public transport should be used for essential journeys only.

No. If you have cold or flu-like symptoms you should be self-isolating for 14 days according to the latest government and NHS guidelines. You should follow NHS guidance to reduce the risk of catching coronavirus or spreading it to others. See www.gov.uk/coronavirus for guidance.

We have relaxed our refunds policy. For more details open the “How to get a refund or change a ticket” section.

In these exceptional times, the railway is for essential use only. Anyone whose journey is not essential should not travel. We encourage passengers to ask themselves if their journey is really necessary. The rail industry has moved very quickly to bring in a reduced, emergency timetable from today (Mon 23 Mar). Rail workers are not immune from COVD-19 and this timetable is necessary in order to keep services moving with reduced staff numbers. We are monitoring train performance carefully, listening to feedback and will make necessary adjustments to ensure safe travel. Where possible we will respond to local pressures to strengthen trains or adjust timetables if necessary.

This decision has been taken across the rail industry and takes into account the latest public health guidance to protect customers and staff during this unprecedented period. Like everyone, our staff and their families are feeling the impact of coronavirus and we thank our customers for your patience and understanding.

Open the “Reduced timetable” section. For live travel information visit www.wmr.uk/plan

The timetable is in place indefinitely. We are continuing to monitor passenger usage and there may be further changes, depending on the spread of the virus. If further changes are made these will be communicated at www.wmr.uk/coronavirus and on social media.

You should only travel if your journey is essential. The reduced timetable has been designed to serve as many key routes as possible with the available resources. If you have no other means or transport, you may need to explain to your employer that fewer trains are running.

Yes. We have stepped up our cleaning regime on board our trains and at our stations, focusing on high-touch areas such as handrails and flat surfaces.

There are many reasons why a train may be delayed or cancelled on a given occasion. Rail workers are also not immune from the effects of coronavirus, so short-notice cancellations due to sickness are a possibility.

Owing to the developing coronavirus situation and to protect our staff, our telephone team offices are currently closed meaning you will be unable to speak to our advisors over the phone. On a daily basis, we will be collating frequently asked questions from our social media channels and providing answers to topics such as our reduced timetable and what we are doing to keep you safe.

If your query is specifically relating to refunds, you will shortly be able to apply online for a refund, even if your ticket was purchased at the ticket office. Once we've finalised the online claim process you will be able to to find it on this page.

The rail industry has moved very quickly to bring in a reduced, emergency timetable from today (Mon 23 Mar). Rail workers are not immune from COVD-19 and this timetable is necessary in order to keep services moving with reduced staff numbers. We are monitoring train performance carefully, listening to feedback and will make necessary adjustments to ensure safe travel. Where possible we will respond to local pressures to strengthen trains or adjust timetables if necessary.

The rail industry has moved very quickly to bring in a reduced, emergency timetable from today (Mon 23 Mar). Rail workers are not immune from COVD-19 and this timetable is necessary in order to keep services moving with reduced staff numbers. We are monitoring train performance carefully, listening to feedback and will make necessary adjustments to ensure safe travel. Where possible we will respond to local pressures to strengthen trains or adjust timetables if necessary.

Only as a last resort where there are no other means to pay. The first choice will always to be to pay online, by mobile phone, card or contactless payment, to minimise risk to staff and customers.

It's important to remember that, in effect, season tickets offer 'free travel' based on the alternative of buying other tickets. In the case of weekly season tickets, it's roughly three days free travel, for monthly seasons it's roughly a week of free travel and for annuals it's roughly two months free travel. So, the amount you could get back would depend on these specific circumstances.

If you request a refund, whether you have a weekly, monthly or annual ticket, West Midlands Railway will calculate the cheapest way you could otherwise have bought the travel which you have already used. In some cases this may mean that you will receive less than what you may have been expecting and sometimes there is little or no value left on a ticket that has been used for several months.

Until further notice, waiting rooms across our network will be closed. The measures have been introduced to help protect customers and staff while it operates its reduced key workers timetable.

Where waiting rooms form part of the ticket office, these will remain open at present. This follows advice from the government and is in-line with action taken by train operators across the country. In the event of bad weather West Midlands Railway will review the situation and may look to re-open waiting rooms if appropriate.