Network Rail’s West Midlands Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) sets out the priorities for rail investment in the region over the next 10 years in detail to meet increased demand for both passengers and freight, but within an overall 30-year timeframe to identify strategic issues
Cannock Chase Council’s response to the RUS includes concerns on a number of issues relating to the Chase Line.
The Council disagrees with Network Rail that recent improvements to Chase Line stations should mark the end of upgrade work
Cannock, Hednesford and Rugeley Town stations have received new waiting shelters, help points and CCTV. The Council, however, feels that station booking offices at Cannock and Hednesford, as well as improved disabled access at Rugeley Town and Cannock, still need to be developed
The Council has asked Network Rail to give greater priority to increasing line speed on the Chase Line, which is currently at a maximum speed of 45mph
Since the publication of the RUS, the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed on 29th November 2010 that the Chase Line speed upgrade is now an unfunded scheme at a regional level and will have to compete for funds if it is to proceed. The Council is asking Network Rail to give greater priority to the line speed upgrade in the RUS and will now be seeking for this scheme to be actively promoted by Staffordshire County Council and Centro so that a bid for new funding sources can be made.
The Council also intends to raise the urgency of this scheme through the Staffordshire and Birmingham Local Enterprise Partnerships, of which it is a member of both. Confirmation of Network Rail’s continued support and, funding from the Network Rail Discretionary Fund for this outstanding scheme, has been sought in the consultation response
The Council has asked Network Rail to take steps to secure the extension of the final Chase Line evening service to Rugeley
The final evening service from Birmingham at 2318 currently terminates at Hednesford, due to engineering works, resulting in the last Rugeley service departing Birmingham an hour earlier at 2217.
Following withdrawal of the direct Chase Line service to Stafford in 2009, changes at Rugeley Trent Valley have been required. However, the recent withdrawal of the half-hourly weekday Rugeley-Birmingham service has now resulted in long delays for connections at Trent Valley, particularly southbound. This has made the service to Stafford less attractive from Cannock, Hednesford and Rugeley Town
The document makes no reference to the recent reduction on the Chase Line of the weekday off-peak service and the resulting hourly frequency, or the offer of financial support by the Council in partnership with Centro and Staffordshire County Council, to retain the weekday evening and Saturday half-hourly services to Rugeley.
Information courtesy of Jamie Summerfield Cannock Chase Council Communications Officer
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...