Updated 14 October 2018, 11:30

The Shakespeare Line - the right track for business, studies and leisure

Sporting its new West Midlands Railway livery, class 172 339 heads for Stratford-upon-Avon as it passes Edstone Aqueduct with a service from Stourbridge junction on 14 December 2017. Image © Fraser Pithie 2017. Click on image to see enlarged image

The Shakespeare Line

Welcome to this website, which is provided by the voluntary Shakespeare Line Promotion Group >>

We aim to promote travel along The Shakespeare Line - the railway line between the City of Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon.

We provide here an introduction to the railway line together with an insight into the wide range of features and attractions available along the line.

Stations along this line serve the City’s shopping and business districts, urban suburbs, market towns, rural communities and Stratford-upon-Avon’s international visitor centre and facilities. More >>

A range of website links are provided to give more detailed information. So just follow the links for train times, fares, operations, venues, attractions, visitor and area information etc.

The Shakespeare Line Promotion Group is a member of Railfuture.

The Group aims to :

  • encourage the use of the railway between Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon
  • promote the line's benefits to residents and visitors
  • monitor operational standards of trains and stations
  • liaise closely with train operating companies, Government, Councils, and Regulatory Authorities
  • promote further development of the Shakespeare Line as a major transport asset for Birmingham, Solihull and Warwickshire
  • promote the proposed extension from Stratford to Long Marston - Avon Rail Link >>

All information on this site is provided in good faith, but no liability whatsoever can be accepted for its accuracy. Neither can any liability be accepted for the content of other websites to which links are provided.

Latest news

Design visions for HS2 stations released

The design visions for the HS2 stations at Curzon St and Solihull (actually at the NEC/Birmingham Airport) have been released. Views are being sought by HS2 on the designs, via the following links:



A 30 Year Rail Investment Strategy 2018-2047 – Launch of the consultation draft strategy

West Midlands Rail Executive has launched its consultation draft Rail Investment Strategy for delivering better rail services across the whole region. It sets out our views and proposals for developing services in the medium and long term.

This Rail Investment Strategy evidences West Midlands Rail Executive’s ambitious plans to expand our local rail services and stations together with Midlands Connect and the rail industry before and after 2032, and to maximise the benefit of High Speed 2 to the region.

The views of a wide range of organisations, businesses and individuals on our draft Rail Strategy are sought. The draft Strategy and the questions which we are seeking consultation responses on are available here. Consultation is open until 12:00 hours on Monday 19th November 2018.

Five new stations for Birmingham?

Plans have been unveiled to open three new stations on the Camp Hill-King’s Norton line, at Moseley, King’s Heath and Hazelwell. A fourth, at Balsall Heath, could follow. The original stations were closed in 1941 due to wartime economy measures and never reopened. It is hoped that construction work will start in 2020 and that the stations will be open by the end of 2021. An initial service of two trains per hour to/from New St is foreseen. The plan does not depend on the construction of the Camp Hill chords, which could be built as part of the Midlands Rail Hub.

This follows the announcement of a plan to reopen Willenhall and Darlaston stations on the Wolverhampton-Walsall line. Passenger services on this line were withdrawn in 2008, but at that time there were no intermediate stations.

West Midlands Transport brand

Work is under way to rebrand trains, trams and buses in the West Midlands. Trains will carry a purple livery, trams on the Metro will be finished in blue and buses in red.

December 2018 timetable

The West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) has stated that as a consequence of the problems surrounding the introduction of this summer's timetable in the north and south-east,  the Secretary of State has decided to defer most timetable changes that were expected in December 2018 to May 2019. This is clearly disappointing for WMRE, as the new timetable would be bringing significant benefits which will not now be forthcoming until May next year. Part of the decision has been based on an assessment of the readiness of the new electrification infrastructure on the Cannock Chase line, which is critical to the new timetable structure, and it is clear that there are some doubts as to whether the infrastructure will be available in time.

Cheaper rail tickets with Trainsplit

It has long been possible to save money on rail fares by splitting ticket purchases, i.e. by purchasing two or more tickets for a journey rather than one through ticket. However, this has hitherto involved a lot of work comparing fares. A new website - Trainsplit - has now been launched which makes the whole process much easier. It works in a similar way to Opodo, which offers cheaper flights by accepting changes and combining fares for the individual parts of a route, instead of just looking for direct services and through tickets.

Some examples of the savings which can be achieved are shown below.


Cheapest return fare on Trainline

Cheapest return fare on Trainsplit


Journey details

Stratford-upon-Avon to Stoke-on-Trent, returning same day




Dep. 10.24, arr. 12.43

Return dep. 17.07, arr. 19.23

Change in Birmingham

Henley-in-Arden to Glasgow, returning one week later




Dep. 09.41, arr. 15.15

Return dep. 12.00, arr 17.07

Change in Birmingham

Birmingham to Taunton, returning one week later




Dep. 10.17, arr. 12.14

Return dep. 09.51, arr. 11.58

No changes

Both single and return fares are available: the examples above are based on the cheapest return fares. It will be seen that the cheaper fares do not involve any more changes of train than the more expensive options, although this is not always the case. It is possible to customise the search for fares by including or excluding changing points, routes or train operating companies and including a Railcard discount. N.B. The site does not cover Eurostar services.

The use of split tickets is perfectly legal.

Bus services

All buses serving Stratford stop at the Natwest Bank/Oxfam shop on Wood Street, a few minutes' walk from the station in the direction of the town centre. Please check times and routes before travelling, as they can change at short notice. Click here to see current bus timetables for Warwickshire or use the National journey planner - train, bus and coach.

Buses now serving Stratford station

The following bus services currently serve Stratford-upon-Avon (town) station:

City Sightseeing services and services nos. X17 (to West Green Drive), X19 (in the direction of Alcester, Studley and Redditch) , 229 (to Wilmcote, Bearley and Snitterfield) and services to the Park & Ride use stop A. N.B. Wilmcote, Bearley and the Park & Ride can also be reached by train.

The X17 service in the direction of the town centre departs from stop B.

Service 20 to Shirley station departs from stop C. On Sundays, it runs from central Birmingham through Stratford to Chipping Norton as service X50.

Stops A and B are on Alcester Road, up the steps from the station forecourt. All other stops are in the station forecourt.

Please check times and routes before travelling, as they can change at short notice. Click here to see current bus timetables for Warwickshire or use the National journey planner - train, bus and coach.

© Shakespeare Line Promotion Group 2005 - 2018 - all rights reserved.