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Railwatch 074 - December 1997


By Alan Bevan

Visions and strategies At the invitation of the West Midlands Regional Forum of Local Authorities the RDS has forwarded its observations on the draft Regional Transport Strategy. We urged less road building; sought more parkway stations; electrification of the Cannock and Snow Hill lines and new train services via Dudley, Brownhills, Kingsbury and Kenilworth. The RDS is also responding to Birmingham City Council's ''Visions'' Transport Strategy which sensibly aims to shift journeys away from cars and to provide good quality public transport. The city is also calling for a network of ''Parkways'' and for reopening the Frankley and Camp Hill lines to local services. We have strongly endorsed the need to provide new stations and services on the Bromford route and for extra tracks and capacity along the Stechford route.

Metro link Of two possible routes for an extension of Midland Metro line in Birmingham City Centre, the RDS is strongly urging the adoption of a route serving both Moor Street and New Street stations along with the Bull Ring shopping area. In our view there is an outstanding need to link the two stations with a quality transit service for commuters and visitors. The other route via Corporation Street would not serve Moor Street and would not provide close or easy interchange for New Street station.

Avon lines A report now published into the 1994-95 Local Plan Inquiry has found against putting a new road south of Strat£ord-upon-Avon station. The 700-page report has, however, supported a new road in front of the station which might affect the valuable car park area.

Rugeley success The new Rugeley Town station opened on 2 June this year, is already attracting the volume of passengers predicted for three years hence! Over l,000 passengers per week are now boarding at Rugeley with users at Cannock and Hednesford now having to stand or even get left behind! Staffordshire County Council says the volume of passengers has exceeded all expectations and that their anticipated subsidy has now been reduced from £38,000 to £11,200. From June 1998 Central Trains will be further extending this service to Stafford and will provide extra evening and Sunday services.

Coleshill returns Warwickshire County Council is backing the reopening of Coleshill station on the Birmingham-Nuneaton line following a contribution of £870,000 from the developer of Hams Hall Manufacturing Park. An extra £780,000 is being sought, via the TPP from Government, for the full mobility standard access facilities and some track improvements for the station, which would cater for the large number of employees in the Coleshill/Hams Hall area and commuters and shoppers.

Tram for Coventry? Coventry City Council and Centro are investigating the possibility of establishing the Parry People Mover tram system to link bus and rail stations with the City Centre.

Central stock From Barmouth to Yarmouth there is great concern at the serious shortage of rolling stock operated by Central Trains. Large numbers of intending passengers at stations throughout mid-Wales, the Midlands, the eastern counties have this summer encountered single and two-car trains incapable of carrying half the number seeking to travel by rail. It appears that good weather and low fares have generated more passengers than usual but, with nothing in the way of spare trains, Central Trains has resorted to providing road coaches. With the company planning several new train services in 1998 there is clearly a need for increased rolling stock and seating capacity. Some longer distance services could and should revert to loco-hauled trains.

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