Train users in Cannock Chase will be able to enjoy increased services on the Chase Line later this month, following investment from West Midlands Railway.
The revised timetable from 20 May will see the re-introduction of two trains per hour during the day between Rugeley, Cannock and Birmingham as part of a £200 million project to improve rail services in the area. Timetable leaflets are available online and from Council Offices.
Recent track and signaling enhancements will enable trains to travel faster along the route, and the completion of electrification works later this year will pave the way for a brand new twice-hourly electric train service to Birmingham Airport and the NEC, and hourly to London via Coventry & Milton Keynes from mid-December
The new four-carriage trains will provide hundreds of extra seats, and over the next few months, work will be undertaken to extend the platforms at every station along the Chase Line - including Cannock, Hednesford and Rugeley, to accommodate the longer trains.
Councillor Gordon Alcott, Economic Development and Planning Portfolio Leader said ”We are pleased to see the benefits to the improved Chase Line rail service being introduced later this month. This will be initially through more frequent diesel services and faster, electric services. From December they will introduce direct services to the NEC, the Airport and London Euston.
“The opening of the £160m McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Cannock at Mill Green in 2020, which will be adjacent to Cannock rail station, has 11 million consumers living within a 90 minute catchment, and with 39 million people visiting Birmingham each year, the Council is confident the current boom in passengers numbers will continue.
“The Council has made investment into rail stations a priority and the current Chase Line Station Alliance work by the West Midlands Combined Authority, Local Enterprise Partnerships and West Midlands Trains, will hopefully lead to improved station facilities at Cannock.”
Richard Brooks, customer experience director for West Midlands Railway, said “The growth of the Chase Line is a success story everyone can be proud of. It has gone from being a freight line to becoming a major West Midlands commuter route in a generation. We are doubling the number of off-peak services in May and in December; we will be adding new direct services to London as part of our £1 billion investment in the West Midlands rail network.”