The Sky Blue Trust are delighted to see that the award of the franchise for local and inter-regional services, currently held by London Midland Trains, to West Midlands Trains specifically includes plans for the radical improvement of services to the Arena station for major events.
During 2016 the Trust actively lobbied the Department of Transport and strongly encouraged local Coventry and Warwickshire MPs, Council Leaders, Wasps RFC and Coventry City FC to contact the Department to demand two things. First, that potential franchisees should explicitly indicate the short and long term plans that they had for running appropriate train services from Coventry and Nuneaton to the Arena for major events: and secondly that the responses of the potential franchisees to these questions should be a material consideration in the allocation of the franchise.
The Trust, largely due to a well informed and dogged campaign headed up by board members Bruce Walker and Frank Smith had an excellent response from all parties to this request to lobby the Department and we are grateful to them for those responses - they appear to have achieved success!
However, the Trust also notes that the proposed service improvements are unlikely to come on stream until very late in 2018.
As CCFC supporters, supporting a Club trapped in a web of critical deadlines due to the incompetence and intransigence of the current owners, we are very seriously concerned that by the time the much needed service improvements to the Arena are implemented our Club may be elsewhere or, most worryingly, nowhere at all.
The end of the Ricoh rental agreement in the Summer of 2018 coupled with the termination of the Academy agreement at the Alan Higgs Centre in the Spring of next year, the sale of the Ryton training ground and the uncertain outcome of High Court decisions affecting the future location and very existence of the Sky Blues, means that our reaction to the proposed service improvements is one of 'Very welcome, but we have got a lot more to be worried about between now and then'.