The railway between Barnt Green and Redditch reopened today following an eight-week closure to improve services and facilities for passengers.
Normal services resumed on Monday 1 September after Network Rail built a new section of railway in the Alvechurch area and improved facilities and accessibility at Alvechurch station.
The new three kilometre section of railway – which has created a passing loop for trains - will allow London Midland to run three services an hour to run between Barnt Green and Redditch in both directions from December, rather than the two per hour which currently operate.
Alvechurch station has benefitted from a new platform as well as a new bridge and lifts to provide step-free access for passengers.
The improvements are part of a £100m investment package in the railway in north Worcestershire which also includes electrification, linespeed improvements and a new station at Bromsgrove.
To thank those affected by the recent closure for their patience, London Midland and Network Rail were at Redditch, Barnt Green and Alvechurch stations this morning, talking to passengers and handing out free breakfast snacks.
Liam Sumpter, area director for Network Rail, said: “The completion of this work is the first significant phase of the £100m improvement package being delivered across north Worcestershire.
“The additional train in each direction will mean passengers travelling between Redditch and Barnt Green – and on the Cross City line generally – will benefit from a much improved service while passengers using Alvechurch station have much better access and facilities.
“As an industry we are committed to investing in and improving the network to meet the demands of the ever increasing number of people who are choosing to travel by train.”
Mark Goodall, London Midland’s head of Cross City services said, “We worked extremely hard to implement an effective rail replacement operation for our customers over the last eight weeks, and I thank everyone who has travelled with us for their patience.
“The new station facilities at Alvechurch are extremely impressive, and we look forward to the implementation of the winter timetable when all passengers on the route will benefit from an improved rail service”.
The reopening of the railway means that passengers travelling to or from stations in Redditch, Alvechurch and Barnt Green will be able complete their journey by train without the need to change onto rail replacement bus services.
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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, three IOIC awards 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.