Shakespeare Line rail user group gets a rebrand - The Leamington Observer

Shakespeare Line rail user group gets a rebrand

A LONG-standing rail passenger group that speaks up for train users on the Shakespeare Line has had a rebrand.

For over fifty years, users of the railway line between Birmingham and Stratford have been represented by a rail user group, initially known as the North Warwickshire Line Defence Committee. It was formed to save the railway line from proposed closure in 1969.

Following a second attempt to close the line in 1984, the group was renamed the Shakespeare Line Promotion Group as it focused on encouraging greater usage of the train service.

Now, and in the future, the group will be known as the Shakespeare Line Rail User Group (SLRUG).

The decision to change the name has arisen from the much greater interest and involvement with the line by people from the local communities it serves, which has led the group to branch off in two directions – station volunteers and rail user group members.

In 2020 when the Covid pandemic hit the country, the group sought to connect with the communities served by the railway line. The results from this engagement exceeded expectations. Within six months, over 70 volunteers had stepped forward, with volunteers adopting all 20 railway stations between Stratford and Birmingham.

Such was the success that the Friends of the Shakespeare Line was formed as a separate and wholly voluntary organisation to support the volunteers at all the stations along the route.

Six voluntary trustees now manage and operate what is a Community Station Partnership.

The purpose is to attract funding and to support the volunteers at each station without the volunteers needing to become involved in filling out paperwork or paying to join organisations to obtain funding.

This enables SLRUG to continue to concentrate on the interests of the travelling public who use train services but also those that support greater use of public transport and railways as part of the modal shift needed to contribute towards Net Zero.

Users of the line, and individuals, can now decide the level of their involvement and participation. They can join SLRUG as a member with an annual subscription of £5, and/or they can volunteer at a station with Friends of the Shakespeare Line.

Peter Morris, the Chair of SLRUG, said: “These changes have been made to simplify things for people. We want people who use train services and individuals to consider joining us as we speak up for train service users and contribute towards ensuring local plans include adequate investment from development towards better and enhanced transport infrastructure. The more members we have, the more influence and leverage we can use on behalf of train service users.”

More information about Friends of the Shakespeare Line and how to volunteer at one of the Shakespeare Line stations can be found at


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