A £5.4m package has been made available to increase line speed on the Chase Line from 45mph-75mph.
Work is expected to complete on the Walsall-Cannock branch by 2014, providing quicker links to Birmingham New Street and beyond.
Cllr Gordon Alcott, Cannock Chase Council’s Economic Development and Planning Portfolio Leader, said: “This announcement is a welcome boost for our District and will improve links to Birmingham and access to national rail services.
“It is a key milestone and a step towards our ultimate aim, the electrification of the Wallsall-Rugeley branch.
“The old speed limit of 45mph dates back to the introduction of the Chase Line and an increase in line speed is long overdue.
”The increase in line speed will lead to increased efficiency and will improve value for money on the line; we hope it will also signal a move to restore services which were cut in December 2010.”
Network Rail had initially offered £2.7m for the improvements, with a further £2.7m in match funding to be provided from Regional Funding Allocations (RFA).
The scheme stalled when the RFA programme was withdrawn, leaving a £2.7m shortfall which Network Rail has now agreed to match themselves through Regulated Asset Base Increments.
Cllr Tom Ansell, lead member for rail and Metro on Centro, the transport authority for the West Midlands, said: “This is a really good deal for passengers and we are delighted that Network Rail is making this important investment.
"It means that journey times from Walsall into Birmingham and also out to Rugeley can be cut and that can only be a good thing for the thousands of people who use this line each day."
The funding was announced by Richard Eccles, Director of Network Strategy and Planning for Network Rail, at the Network Planning Regional and Local Government Conference.
Information coutesy of Alastair Smith
Member since: 10th July 2012
I am Steve Mallows, the owner of thebestofcannock.I have lived in Cannock since moving down from Yorkshire aged 5 years.I am passionate about the Cannock area and helping local businesses. I have a keen...