Virgin Pendolino on West Coast Main Line

A Driver's View of the West Coast Main Line

Penolino approaches on West Coast Main Line

Our Mission

After 20 years West Coast Rail 250 remains the only nationwide campaign for a single railway line and its crucial local economic role.

When our Campaign started in 1992 West Coast train services were among the most unreliable in the country. This was damaging to local, regional and national economies. WCR250 is now focused on the improved rail services’ role in stimulating much-needed growth and employment.


Key Objectives of the Campaign

  1. Increased capacity for passenger and freight services
  2. Faster and more frequent long distance services
  3. Improved links between local and regional centres and moves to seamless interchange with the national network
  4. Improved passenger facilities on new or refurbished trains and stations
  5. Attention to public transport interchange and cycle/walking station accessibility helping create seamless journeys competitive with the private car’s convenience
  6. Making the social, economic and environmental rail investment case, together with the line’s role as vital infrastructure underpinning Britain’s economy.


High Speed Rail

West Coast Rail 250 strongly advocates that a High Speed Rail Line between London, the West Midlands, North West England and Scotland be constructed, its services being fully co-ordinated with those on the WCML. This line would provide faster and more frequent inter-city connectivity and release significant capacity on the classic West Coast Main Line to accommodate additional freight trains and enhanced local and regional passenger services.


Investment in Classic Rail

Notwithstanding support for new high speed lines, the campaign’s core focus will continue to be making the case for consistent investment in the existing West Coast infrastructure, improving service quality at all existing stations. 

Key projects remain outstanding despite recent investment. The WCR250 Campaign will work with our members to push for improving local connectivity, delivering economic growth and new employment.



Membership and Links

Membership of the Campaign is open to local authorities, private sector companies, consumer transport organisations, and individuals.

The All-Party Group for the West Coast Main Line provides strong links with both Houses of Parliament. This formally registered Group’s activities complement the wider campaign. WCR250 also benefits from links to the Welsh Assembly via North Wales local authorities membership.


Campaigning and Lobbying

The Campaign works closely with the All-Party Group, key MPs and peers, and other relevant campaign groups. It will also liaise with the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament on relevant rail issues, while maintaining strong links with DfT officials and ministers, as well as NWR, TOCs, FOCs, RFG and the ORR.


Our 2013 campaigning priorities are:


The campaign seeks continuing passenger service improvements, monitoring those services and promoting their upgrade. It will seek to:

  • Achieve continuing reliability and quality improvements, including car parking volume and security, modern station environments and facilities suitable for all users.
  • Identify timetabling deficiencies and achieve their rectification, particularly to improve feeder service interchange, including to buses, light rail or future trolleybus where appropriate.
  • Develop frequency and timetable aspirations, updated regularly, to discuss with TOCs, Network Rail and consider at Railway Timetable Conferences.
  • Support Passenger Focus in improving the ‘journey experience’
  • Press for further rolling stock improvements and demand/capacity management to reduce overcrowding, possibly including reconfiguration of first class capacity to standard to meet identified need.
  • Actively promote these priorities within any renewed WCML franchising consultation process, engaging closely with the DfT and bidders for the future franchise after 2015.




As there has only been a ‘partial’ WCML upgrade since 2002, thus WCR250 will campaign for a continuing infrastructure renewal programme to:

  • address deficiencies remaining, including diversionary routes, trackwork, signalling, power supply, platforms, and station facilities.
  • ensure infrastructure renewals provide adequate capacity for future WCML train service growth, including through services using the High Speed Line.
  • promote improved bus and light rail interchanges.
  • ensure good pedestrian and cycle access
  • press NWR and TOCs to fulfil their obligations to increase parking provisions at selected WCML stations, including cycle parking.
  • develop an aspirational investment programme for stations / passenger facilities to ensure common standards along the route.
  • support further electrification, with particular emphasis on infill schemes and diversionary routes where a business case can be made.
  • support national electrification schemes allowing more intensive use of the WCML.
  • pursue these infrastructure priorities within the WCML re-franchising process.



The Campaign has a unique strategic and user-based insight into the WCML’s transport, social, economic and environmental role and can make a strong contribution to the new franchise’s viability. WCR250 remains committed to supporting WCML dependent communities and economies. It will:

  • lobby officials and Ministers to ensure that a new ITT is used to deliver line enhancements omitted from the recently abandoned franchise.
  • engage with all franchise bidders, using confidential meetings to press the campaign’s agenda.



WCR 250 will campaign for a high speed route between Scotland and London with new high-speed lines to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh, serving intermediate centres such as Carlisle which acts as an important hub for connecting services to and from South-West Scotland and other parts of the Lake District.

West Coast Rail 250 | Contacts | Members Area
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