West Midlands transport bosses have welcomed a multi-million pound funding package that is set to revolutionise the region’s railways.
The passenger transport authority Centro is pleased that Network Rail will invest £90? million in railway upgrades across the region.
The funds, which are in addition to an investment in the New Street Gateway Project will allow new stations to be built, train platforms to be lengthened and allow for a better service for passengers over the next five years.
Centro, which is currently developing the West Midlands Rail Development Plan, is pleased that this will allow it to carry out much needed work across the rail network.
Detailed works include electrification of part of the line which will allow more services to run on the Cross City Line, a new station at Bromsgrove and the lengthening of station platforms to increase capacity.
Centro spokesman Steve Swingler said: “This funding confirmation is great news for the region’s rail passengers. Particularly welcome is the go-ahead to extend electrification on the Cross City Line from Barnt Green to Bromsgrove and to provide extra track capacity to Redditch.
“These new schemes alone will mean more services especially during peak times to both of these important commuter towns.
“Other schemes such as new signalling on key parts of the regional network and platform lengthening at local stations will also bring significant benefits for passengers in terms of more reliable and comfortable services.
‘‘Centro has worked closely with Network Rail in planning many of these projects and we look forward to working in close partnership to bring them to fruition over the next five years.”
Network Rail’s route director Jo Kaye said the investment will signal an end to the days of the Railway Children where small signal boxes dominated the railways.
Instead she said the rail networks would be completely different.
“We are looking towards the longer term and the future,” she said. “The days of the Railway Children when there were little signal boxes around the railways is going. We need a long-term strategy for the railways and that is so important.”
She also emphasised the need to do works with the minimal amount of disruption for passengers.
“We realise that we have to do these works and still keep the railway running.
“People do not want to travel by bus if they have paid for a train ticket so we need to keep disruption to a minimum.”