Mid Worcestershire MP, Peter Luff led the celebrations at Hartlebury train station this morning (9 December) as he waved off the 09.19 service to Whitlocks End – the first train in the new hourly service linking to Worcester and Birmingham stations for almost 50 years.
Mr Luff was joined by local residents, senior managers from London Midland, the Chair of Wychavon District Council and representatives from the Stourbridge Line User Group and Cotswold
Line Promotion Group, who came together after successfully campaigning to reinstate the service.
Terry Oliver, London Midland’s head of Snow Hill services said, “We are committed to providing
quality journeys for everyone and I’m really pleased that we have been able to modify the timetable to provide a much improved service for the people of Hartlebury”.
Local residents, who applauded as the train pulled into the station for an extended three minute
stop, were handed complimentary passes for a day’s free travel on the London Midland service.
Stourbridge Line User Group chairman, Rob Hebron said, "I am delighted that London Midland has decided to provide an enhanced service for Hartlebury. We have persistently requested this improvement and they have delivered. Not only is Hartlebury accessible throughout the day but the village is now plugged into the London Midland network, which is of considerable size.
He added, "It makes sense to fully utilise this station which is an ideal rail head for Stourport on Severn. If passengers support this service, as I believe they will, I'm sure London Midland will develop it further."
Chairman of the 1700 member-strong Cotswold Line Promotion Group, John Ellis said, "Hartlebury's new services will not only offer passengers much better links to the second city, but will also improve local services to Worcester where they can make connections to the Cotswold Line and to services in the South West.
"We welcome these improvements and hope they match the success of our group’s work to improve
services and use of the South Worcestershire stations of Pershore and Honeybourne."
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Since 2007, London Midland has been providing train services to and from London in the south, to Birmingham in the Midlands and Liverpool in the north-west. Over 60 million passenger journeys a year are made using on the network and London Midland manage 148 stations and operate
over 1,300 services a day.
London Midland is owned by Govia, the partnership between the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. Govia
is the UK’s busiest rail operator, responsible for nearly 30 per cent of UK passenger rail journeys through its three rail companies, Southern (which includes Gatwick Express services), Southeastern and London Midland. Further information on Govia is available at www.govia.info
London Midland has won a range of awards, including Best Local Transport Integration, four Rail Business Awards for marketing, public relations and customer information, five Golden Spanner Awards for Engineering, two IOIC award for internal communication and three Railstaff Awards for Outstanding Customer Service, Lifesaving and Charity Work.
In 2013 London Midland was awarded the Investors in People (IiP) Silver Award and been awarded the 5 Star award by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) in 2012.