BROMSGROVE’S new railway station is firmly on track to be opened in the spring of this year, Network Rail has confirmed to The Standard.
The organisation said a date for the opening would be confirmed in the coming months and, once that happened, the current one would be removed and work to electrify the line would begin.
That will continue throughout the year and the electrified line will be ready to open in 2017.
Good progress has been made with the signalling work to go with the new track. That has been carried out on Saturday nights after the trains have stopped running and more work will be done on that in October when there will be a complete 12-day closure of the railways.
That ‘down time’ will also be used to progress the laying of the new track.
Work was carried out over the Christmas period to pull out a culvert which had reached the end of its shelf-life and that was replaced with a new one which will underpin the whole new track.
Bromsgrove’s new station is part of a joint £17.4million project between Network Rail, Centro and Worcestershire County Council.
The new station will have longer platforms to accommodate six-carriage trains as well as provide capacity for an extra 300,000 passengers a year.
Currently the existing unmanned station sees more than half-a-million people pass through every year but passenger numbers are expected to rise to around 800,000 by 2029.
It will have a staffed ticket office, passenger waiting room, toilets, ticket and travel information, new car parks providing standard and disabled spaces, along with electric vehicle charging points, car share bays and two bus stops.
A concourse will link to the new bus stops, taxi rank, pedestrian footpaths, cycle store and car parking areas.
There will also be a covered bridge link to platforms from the concourse with stairs and lifts to all platforms.
Mike Ponsonby, the chairman of Bromsgrove Rail User Group, said: “We are delighted to hear the excellent news from Network Rail that progress has been made with the new station and furthermore that we are well on track to an electric service into Birmingham with four trains an hour from 2017.
“This is the most important infrastructure development since 1840 when the original Bromsgrove Station was built.”
He added in 1838 when the plans for the first station were put forward, the shopkeepers in Bromsgrove objected to it so much that it was moved out to Finstall.
He said the business owners did not want a railway station at all as they feared the noise and smoke would scare away all their customers and deter them from coming to the town centre.