COMMUTERS in Alvechurch and Barnt Green will benefit from a much-improved rail service when more trains operate between Redditch and Birmingham.
From Sunday (December 14) there will be three trains an hour in both directions between Redditch and New Street Station.
The alteration from two trains to three an hour has been described by London Midland as ‘the biggest changes in history of the town’s rail services’.
The new service is a result of a £24.5million project by Network Rail to create an extra loop of track between Redditch and Alvechurch as well as upgrade Alvechurch station which saw the line closed for eight weeks over the summer.
But, given the problems at the end of 2012 where trains were cancelled because of a lack of train crew and delays and cancellations which have happened in the last year, The Standard asked the operator if it could guarantee the added number of services could be run and on time.
The head of London Midland’s Cross City services Mark Goodall said the increase in the number of trains was a welcome improvement and added local residents and commuters would definitely feel the benefits.
“There has been significant investment in the rail infrastructure, and I thank local residents for their patience during the summer months while the new passing loop and station were built at Alvechurch.” he added.
Rail users seeing the figures relating to local services operating out of Birmingham New Street are bound to be sceptical though, after the statistics showed 88.1 per cent of trains were on time between August and September, but that dropped to 83.1 per cent in October and to 74.4 per cent last month.
Trains, travelling to Birmingham, via Alvechurch and Barnt Green, will leave Redditch at 12, 34 and 55 minutes past the hour.
The journeys back will leave Birmingham New Street at 02, 22 and 42 minutes past the hour.
The new trains, along with others across the West Midlands, have been made possible, thanks to a £62million worth of Government investment.
London Midland managing director Patrick Verwer said: “With more people travelling with us each year our passengers are telling us they want more services, quicker journeys and more seats.
“We have listened and taken the opportunity with our new trains to make as many improvements for as many passengers as we can.
“With £62million invested in new trains, this is the biggest change to our timetable in six years.”
Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “We are absolutely committed to building a world-class rail network that provides more seats, more services and better journeys.
“I am delighted London Midland’s passengers across the network are seeing the benefit of our investment.”
Visit www.londonmidland.com/goodnews for more information about the new timetable.