Situated on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) connecting London to Birmingham and the North West, the present station, managed by Virgin Trains, is located roughly half a mile north of Rugby town centre. On the WCML as a whole, it is located 82 miles north of London Euston, and 319 miles south of Glasgow Central.
Main line train services into Rugby are operated by Virgin Trains. There are regular services to London, Birmingham, the North West, and limited direct services to/from Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and Holyhead.
Local services from Northampton to Coventry and Birmingham are provided by London Midland. In December 2005 Silverlink and Central Trains (the previous franchise holders) jointly introduced an infrequent semi-fast Euston / Northampton to Crewe / Liverpool service via the Trent Valley Line as a precursor to the revamped hourly service to be introduced in December 2008. This service is now also operated by London Midland.
The original station had been located at the point where the railway crossed the Rugby to Leicester tollpike road (now the A426) because at the time this was the only road north from Rugby. When the second station was opened, a new road Railway Terrace had to be built to link it to the town centre.
This second station was effectively managed by two companies - the London and North Western Railway and the Midland Railway - and for this reason grew up in a haphazard fashion. It was at first no more than a temporary wooden structure, but was rebuilt in brick in 1850. This station consisted of platforms at each side of the track with one bay platform. The platforms were rather low and passengers complained of having to perform an "acrobatic feat" to board trains.
Today's station consists of one large island platform (currently out of use) with disused bay platforms at each end, four at the north end and two at the south. The bay platforms are all out of use although one of them (a south bay) will be reinstated once all station upgrade work is completed. There is also a platform on the south side currently used for all Northbound services. In addition to these an island platform numbered 5 and 6 is now open on the north side of the station and is currently used for all Southbound services. The main island platforms are accessed from a tunnel at road level and a ramp leading to the platforms and are currently being reconstructed.
The station had one of the longest platforms of any British railway station, at 421 metres, but the two main island platforms have both been shortened as part of the upgrade.
At its height, as well as the West Coast Main Line, Rugby station served railway lines to Leicester, Leamington Spa, and Peterborough via Market Harborough. In the 1960s all but the West Coast line were closed as part of the Beeching Axe.
When constructed the station had a large steel and glass roof which covered the station platforms and the tracks on each side. This lasted more than 100 years until the structure became unstable and was replaced in the early 2000s with a modern 'gull wing' roof over the platforms.
In 1899 a second station, Rugby Central, was opened in Rugby (see below). To distinguish it from the other station, the present station became known as Rugby Midland. Rugby Central closed in 1969, and Rugby Midland reverted to being called just Rugby in 1975.
As a part of the West Coast Main Line modernisation programme, major track restructuring work is being carried out to allow higher speed running through Rugby; three new platforms have being added, along with a new ticket office and entrance. Work began in September 2006 and is due to be completed late in 2008.
It was at one time thought that remodelling of the track layout would entail complete demolition of the present station, but the final plans involved retention of the existing island platform and buildings. The track upgrades will allow non-stopping trains to run through Rugby Junction at 125mph, thus eliminating another bottleneck from the WCML.
The new platform on the south side of the station opened for use on 29 May 2007 and as a result all of the platforms were renumbered. The new platform became Platform 1, the former Platform 1 became Platform 2 and 2 became 4. The new platforms on the north side of the station are numbered Platforms 5 and 6 and they opened on 27 August 2008. Platform 8 will eventually become Platform 3 but is temporarily out of use until further notice. The platforms originally numbered 3, 6 and 7 have been removed.signal gantries in Britain. Situated to the south of the station and erected in 1895, it spanned three tracks and carried forty-four semaphore arms. Every arm was duplicated due to sighting difficulties that resulted from the Great Central Railway's 'Birdcage' bridge crossing the WCML behind the gantry's location. The gantry acquired the nickname of "the Rugby Bedstead" on account of its appearance.
In 1939, the LMS resignalled the Rugby area with colour light signals, although the mechanical signal boxes were retained. The famous signal gantry became redundant, following which it was divided up into smaller pieces to form a number of smaller structures for re-use elsewhere.
S.G.E. was awarded a contract to resignal the Rugby area in preparation for electrification. Rugby Power Signal Box (P.S.B.) opened in 1964. It is located south of the station, on the west side of the railway. The whole station area, together with part of the WCML stretching as far south as Castlethorpe, was controlled from this new box. It was equipped with an 'NX' (entrance-exit) panel. In 1991, Rugby P.S.B. took over control of the Northampton area using Solid State Interlocking (SSI).
Rugby Signalling Control Centre (S.C.C.), located north-west of the station, opened in 2004. Initially, its area of control was limited to a portion of the WCML between Kings Langley and Linslade Tunnel but eventually it will control the line as far north as Armitage, including the Rugby station area.
Rugby P.S.B. retains control of the Rugby station area at present. A new temporary interlocking was commissioned as part of the remodelling work in late 2007.
Rugby Central was Rugby's station on the Great Central Main Line which opened in 1899 and closed in 1969. When open, the station had services between London (Marylebone) and Sheffield via Leicester and Nottingham until closure of most of the route in 1966. The section between Rugby Central and Nottingham (initially Victoria, later cut back to Arkwright Street) remained open until 1969. This service was unusual in being self contained - none of the stations were used by trains on any other service.
Rugby Central was situated on Hillmorton Road roughly half a mile east of the town centre. It was a much smaller and less important affair than Midland Station, although it too consisted of an island platform.
The booking office was located at road level, built onto the side of the road bridge over the railway with the platform below. The platform was accessed by a staircase from the booking office.
The station buildings were demolished upon closure, although the platform still exists and can still be seen. The whole of the former Great Central Railway alignment through Rugby is now a nature walk called the 'Great Central Way'.
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