Central Trains - A

Central Trains - A
Central Trains was a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by National Express that operated a variety of local and inter-regional trains from 2 March 1997 until 11 November 2007.
Central Trains Overview
Created out of the Central division of Regional Railways during the Privatisation of British Rail, Central Trains passed into the private sector on 2 March 1997. The franchise was awarded to National Express, who maintained control of the company until its eventual demise in 2007. Central Trains employed over 2,400 staff.
The company invested significantly in rolling stock, with significant orders for new trains placed and the fleet later further grown through the acquisition of trains made surplus by other companies. Despite a reduction in the area covered during the ten years of its existence, the company grew its core fleet from fewer than 300 passenger vehicles to a total of 379 – a capacity increase of over 28%. It also refurbished a number of its stations, introducing ticket gates, help points and live information boards.
Central Trains also clamped down on vandalism on its trains and fare evasion, including through a controversial poster campaign publicising the names and addresses of passengers who had been fined for not having valid tickets.
The franchise gained a reputation for poor timekeeping: its best performing period between 2000 and 2007 still saw one in six trains five minutes late or more, with punctuality dropping as low as 61% in 2003. The company also suffered from ongoing staff relations problems which led to extensive and long-lasting cancellations of Sunday services.
Following a government policy announced in 2004, Central Trains was eventually disbanded in November 2007 with its services dispersed amongst London Midland, East Midlands Trains and CrossCountry.
Central Trains Network
At its greatest extent, Central Trains operated 253 stations and provided services covering 1,534 miles of the UK's railway network, covering most of central England and Mid Wales. In its last years, the company saw 43 million passenger journeys and a total of 930 million miles travelled every year.
Services ranged from rural and local services to flagship express services originally branded as Alphaline and later developed into Central Citylink. In the West Midlands, the company also operated the extensive urban rail services under contract to the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive.
Central Trains Long Distance Services
Key longer distance and express routes included
  • Birmingham New Street – Liverpool Lime Street
  • Birmingham New Street – Stansted Airport
  • Cardiff Central – Birmingham New Street – Nottingham
  • Liverpool Lime Street – Nottingham – Norwich
From 2003 onwards, the Central Citylink brand name was used by Central Trains to differentiate its long-distance and regional express routes from local services. The brand was used in timetables and publicity to highlight the enhanced service provided on such routes.
While there was no separate dedicated fleet, Citylink services were usually operated by Central Trains' more modern Class 170 and Class 158 diesel multiple units, featuring air-conditioning and reservable seating. At-seat catering was also provided on many services.
Central Trains' Guide 1 timetable was designated for all Citylink services, and highlight the special features of the brand.
Central Trains Regional Services
  • Birmingham New Street – Nottingham via Leicester (terminated at Leicester from 2004)
  • Birmingham New Street – Nottingham via Derby
  • Birmingham New Street – Shrewsbury
  • Birmingham New Street – Mid Wales and Chester (transferred away in 2001)
  • Northampton – Crewe
  • Coventry – Lincoln Central via Nuneaton (ceased in 2004)
  • Nuneaton – Coventry (from 2005)
  • Nottingham – Skegness
  • Doncaster / Lincoln Central – Peterborough via Spalding
  • Newark North Gate – Lincoln – Cleethorpes
  • Leicester – Lincoln Central (from 2004)
  • Derby – Crewe / Nottingham / Matlock
  • Nottingham – Mansfield Woodhouse / Worksop
Network West Midlands services
  • Coventry – Birmingham New Street – Wolverhampton (split at New Street in 2004)
  • Cross City Line: Redditch/Longbridge – Four Oaks/Lichfield Trent Valley
  • Snow Hill Lines: Great Malvern/Worcester/Kidderminster – Dorridge/Shirley/Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Chase Line: Birmingham – Walsall / Stafford (cut back to Rugeley in 2005)
  • Walsall – Wellington via Wolverhampton
  • Worcester – Birmingham New Street
Central Trains Overview
Central Trains Franchise(s): Central Trains
2 March 1997 – 11 November 2007
Central Trains Main Region(s): Midlands (East, West)
Central Trains Other Region(s): North West England, East Anglia, South East Wales
Central Trains Fleet Size: 156
Central Trains Stations Called At: 232 (193 operated)
Central Trains Parent Company: National Express
Central Trains Reporting Mark: CT
Central Trains Predecessor: Regional Railways
Central Trains Successor: London Midland
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