Latest news

27 November 2021

Music Maps

The Shakespeare Line has received considerable publicity as a result of the launch of a West Midlands Trains sponsored project known as music maps which are to be placed at 30 stations across the West Midlands network. The first of these fis at Hall Green station and features UB40.

All those that fought so hard to keep this railway line open over 50 years ago and again over 30 years ago but who are no longer with us would be so pleased to see where we are today and that such an event took place on our line with such joy.

For more on this story, click here.

28 October 2021

User groups protest about unreliability and cancellations

The Shakespeare Line Promotion Group, the Solihull and Leamington Rail Users’ Association, the Cotswold Line User Group and the Stourbridge Line User Group have joined forces to make a formal protest about the current high level of cancellations and unreliability. The text of the letter is published below.


1 September 2021

The latest edition of West Midlands Trains Business Update is now available. Please click here.

2 September 2021

Changes to services

Some (but not all) Stratford-upon-Avon-Dorridge-Birmingham services have now been reinstated. Please check your connections before travelling. Click here for times.


31 July 2021

Changes to train services from 2 August 2021

Considerable changes to the timetable will be mace with effect from 2 August 2021, due to staffing problems caused by the COVID self-isolation requirement. Services on the Snow Hill routes will be reduced, entailing the loss of direct trains between Solihull and Stratford-upon-Avon. Some Chiltern trains will make additional stops at Widney Manor, Lapworth, Acocks Green, Olton, Small Heath, Dorridge and Tyseley. Passengers with valid rail tickets to/from stations in the Solihull area will also be able to use the X20 (Stratford-Solihull-Coventry) bus service operated by Johnsons of Henley. Click here for the timetable. Rail replacement buses will also be in operation.  This information is provided in good faith, but please check departures before travelling: click here for times. It is hoped that these changes will only be temporary.

18 June 2021

A hybrid train for Chiltern?

Chiltern Railways are testing a HybridFLEX train, i.e. a unit which can be powered either by a diesel engine or by batteries.  If successful, it could be the first such unit to enter service in the UK and could well be seen on services in the Midlands. Click here for details.

3 June 2021

Potential reinstatement of direct Coventry-Leicester services

Midlands Connect has published a report on the reinstatement of direct services between Coventry and Leicester. Click here to access it.

23 March 2021

Friends of the Shakespeare Line website goes live!

Friends of the Shakespeare line now has its own dedicated website. Just click here.

18 January 2021

Approval for business case funding for new stations

The WMCA has approved a full business case for new stations ay Darlaston, Willenhall, Moseley, King’s Heath  and Hazelwell and agreed a total project budget of £61.4m. Perry Barr station interchange has also been approved,

Friends of the Shakespeare Line

4 October 2020

SLPG Launches Friends of the Shakespeare Line

It’s incredible to think that in 1969, and again in 1984, the then British Rail tried to close the railway line between Birmingham and Stratford upon Avon. Our predecessor organisation, the North Warwick Line Defence Committee, led the fight and stopped the proposed closures, indeed in 1969, closure was stopped within only two days of the last timetabled train! read more.


Community Rail Officer for the Heart of England appointed

Julia Singleton-Tasker has been appointed as Community Rail Officer for the Heart of England Community Rail Partnership and started in her new role on Monday 6th January.

Having come from a background of working with different communities through teaching and personal training, Julia is looking forward to working with local communities and businesses to enhance the services already provided and to find opportunities to enthuse people about volunteering and communicating the benefits of having a station and a railway to be proud of.

She said: “I am looking forward to being a part of this exciting new phase for Community Rail in the Heart of England.  The benefits in other areas of the country provide a very positive picture for the future of Community Rail.”

Julia will be working with the three TOCs, the County, Borough and District Councils, West Midlands Rail Executive, and the established rail user groups under the guidance of a steering group. ACoRP – the Association of Community Rail Partnerships – will be providing her with invaluable expertise and training as she starts her new role.

Julia will be formally based at Warwickshire County Council but will be spending a lot of time out and about working with the communities and partners around the 37 stations in the partnership.

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