WITH three weeks to go until the eight-week closure of the railway between Redditch and Barnt Green, Redditch MP Karen Lumley, visited her local station to find out how the improvement works will benefit residents.
Network Rail will install 3.2 kilometres of new track between Redditch and Alvechurch. From December 2014, this will allow London Midland to run three trains per hour, instead of the current two, providing a more frequent and reliable rail service for Redditch’s residents, visitors and commuters.
The improvement scheme forms part of a £24.5 million package led by Network Rail, and includes the redevelopment of the station at Alvechurch, which will benefit from an additional platform, new footbridge, waiting shelter, CCTV and lifts.
Mark Goodall, London Midland’s head of Cross City services said, “I apologise to passengers for the temporary disruption they will face while the works are carried out.
“Looking forward, the installation of this new section of track not only allows us to run more trains, but will also play a key role in improving performance and reliability.
“Effectively it provides us with a passing loop, so removes the limitations of the current single track structure. Running a reliable train service is what passengers want the most, and we are committed to delivering that."
Redditch MP Karen Lumley added: "This is a huge programme of work and will mean a much needed improvement to the line – increasing frequency and therefore capacity and reliability for consumers.
“Trains are vital to many people’s day to day lives and it is completely reasonable that they expect to get a punctual, reliable and comfortable service. London Midland have assured me that much work is going on to improve the customer experience, the new track being just one example.
“Unfortunately with railway work comes railway disruption. I met with Network Rail and London Midland to ensure that this disruption was kept to a minimum. I was pleased to get assurances from them that the necessary bus replacement services will be available and that these will be able to cope with the capacity. They also assured me that contingencies are in place to ensure that this work does not overrun. If they stick to their plans I believe that the benefits of the new line outweigh the costs of disruption."
The closure, which comes into effect on July 6 and runs through to August 31, will affect anyone who normally travels between Barnt Green and Redditch.
London Midland has commissioned replacement bus services, which will run from Barnt Green station, Alvechurch (from the Red Lion public house) and Redditch station, to transport passengers to a train station further down the line where they can connect with rail services on the Cross City route. As a general guide, passengers are advised to allow an extra thirty minutes to their usual journey time.
Passengers who prefer not to use the replacement bus services to travel the short distance between stations are advised to drive to Longbridge. Ample parking is available a few minutes walk from the station, which costs £1.50 to park all day.
Customers are reminded that the car park and station at Alvechurch will close completely while the improvement works are carried out.
For more information, visit londonmidland.com/redditch