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Thursday, March 30, 2023

London Midland to withdraw on-train catering from 27 August

Following an extensive review, London Midland have said they are ‘sorry to announce’ that there will be no catering on board their trains from 27 August 2011.

The train operating company said:

“Over the past 3 years we have trialled catering on a number of routes – Birmingham to Liverpool, Birmingham to London, and Crewe to London – and recently increased the number of services with catering facilities to assess demand at different times of day.

“Whilst a small proportion of passengers appreciate the option to buy on the train, the greater range of products at station outlets means that the majority choose to purchase food and drink before boarding.

“On this basis we regret that we can no longer justify the high cost of providing on-train catering.

“Many of our stations already have excellent food and drink outlets, but if you have any suggestions for your local station, please email us to let us know.

“If you are travelling on our Crewe to Euston route, many of our trains stop for around 10 minutes at both Stafford and Northampton, where there are a number of catering outlets.

“Several Birmingham to Euston trains also have extended stops at Northampton.

“We’re sorry if our decision to remove catering affects you; as always, you can contact us with any comments or suggestions by emailing [email protected]


  1. Getting back to the early days of railways when trains stopped at places like Swindon, Rugby or Crewe so that passengers could buy food. Well done London Midland for reviving the nostalgic days of travel! Perhaps if the on-train catering had been more widely advertised, and been more reliably provided more people would have used it! What’s the point of spending £billions upgrading the line for higher speed if all the time gained is lost admiring the sights of Stafford or Northampton. What a marvellous railway Company.

  2. My nearest stations are Grantham and Nottingham.  When going to London the fare is cheaper from Nottingham but a) it’s further to travel to the station, b) the carpark has been a building site for months, c) the last time I parked there, the parking charge was iniquitous (it’s hefty at Grantham too, but one can easily park nearby for free), d) the journey time is longer, e) and now you’re saying I can’t even get a cup of tea in the middle of the trip? [if you mean that meal service is being removed but a trolley service will exist, you’re certainly not making that clear]  Forget it!!

  3. I live in STAFFORD and, FORTUNATELY, DON’T HAVE TO TRAVEL BY LONDON MIDLAND.- I always choose Virgin, since the service, INCLUDING CATERING, is excellent, the staff are pleasant, polite and helpful and the trains are well- designed, comfortable and safe.

    The suggestion that during a stop of “about 10 minutes” one can go to the station’s catering outlet, is RIDICULOUS.  Unless you come in on plarform 1, you would have to :
    run along the platform, up the stairs, along the bridge, down the stairs, along platform one to the catering outlet, queue, buy, pay ……..
    then reverse the whole procedure …..
    and find your train had disappeared.

    The person, who made this comment, obviously has no knowledge of Stafford station and needs to come down from whichever cloud, or ivory tower, he exists on.

    Furthermore, if you leave the train, how do you ensure your seat has not been taken in your absence. Leave some personal possession on the seat ?  I don’t think so !! 

    Perhaps London Midland needs a good “mole” within the Virgin organisation ….. to find out how a GOOD TRAIN SERVICE OPERATES.

  4. Are London Midland serious about their inter-urban services, or are they just a basic commuter operator that happens to run pseudo-Intercity services between places such as Birmingham and Liverpool?

    I had the pleasure of travelling on one of the their services from Hartford to Birmingham a few Sundays ago and could see why the catering service did not do very well – the chap operating it spent most of the journey stood with his trolley in the front vestibule of the train and took one walk through the train after a considerable amount of time.

    Given that a catering trolley service can be provided on routes such as Cardiff – Manchester (ARRIVA Trains Wales), Cardiff – Portsmouth (First Great Western) and Manchester – Hull (First Trans-Pennine Express), I fail to see why it can’t be provided on the core London Midland inter-urban routes.

    Perhaps as an owning group Go-Ahead can’t be trusted to act in the best interests of it’s customers – as their on-going plans to minimise station facilities, through limited staffing, also seem to spell out!

  5. It’s a case of ever-decreasing circles here. If you’re unsure whether the trolley will operate, or be able to get to your seat, you’ll play it safe and buy at the station. If LM had properly promoted the catering and damn well ensured all trains had it, people would rely on it.

    Dare I say it but BR Inter City had a hard-and fast rule – all services up to 2000 had a full buffet bar and all buffet services were marked in the timetable. This meant some buffets ran at a loss and others at a profit, but I bet the fact you could rely on them meant they were profitable overall.

    This is just another example of our cheapo railway run by busmen along bus lines.

  6. Why do you have the extended stops?  Speed up the journeys, attract more travellers, offer them refreshments … job done!


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