£30m to improve Midlands train link

A £30 million cash injection to speed up trains between Walsall and Rugeley was today announced by the Government, as part of the biggest investment in the rail network in more than a century.

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A £30 million cash injection to speed up trains between Walsall and Rugeley was today announced by the Government, as part of the biggest investment in the rail network in more than a century.

The electrification of the Chase line is among £9 billion worth of transport schemes which have won backing.

Ministers say it will improve connections with the north-west, with the Birmingham to Liverpool train running via Walsall.

The cash, covering the period 2014 to 2019, will include the electrification of large sections of rail in a move which should bring faster and more reliable services.

It will benefit the Midland Main Line from Bedford to Sheffield, local lines in the Welsh Valleys, and an extension of the already-announced electrification between Manchester and Leeds.

Cash will also go to The Northern Hub – a series of projects around Manchester that improve northern rail capacity to get more and faster trains across the north of England.

There will also be upgrades to the East Coast Line from London to Leeds and Newcastle and the reopening of the east-west link from Oxford and Aylesbury to Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire.

The Campaign for Better Transport welcomed the investment, but said massive fare increases should not be used to pay for it.

This January the annual increase in regulated fares, which include season tickets, was limited to RPI inflation plus one per cent, based on the RPI figure for July 2011.

With inflation running high last year, passengers ended up paying an average of six per cent more for their season tickets at the beginning of this year.

Inflation is now lower, but the Government is committed to rises of RPI plus 3 per cent in January 2013 and in January 2014, so commuters face further price hikes.

Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said: “Government promises of rail investment after 2014 do not justify inflation-busting fare rises now.

“None of the rail schemes being pledged this week will see a penny of money spent on them until at least 2014 with many of the improvements not benefiting passengers until the next decade.

“Passengers facing another two years of fare rises of up to 11 per cent will be unimpressed by ministers trying to suggest that there is any link between fare rises now and promises of investment beyond the next election.”

Comments for: "£30m to improve Midlands train link"

antony j

we shall see eh?

but i wont be holding my breath

Stephen M

Good news. Makes sense to fill the 'gap' between Walsall and Rugeley.

Bill B expat in France

How many readers will be aware that British Railways did indeed intend to electrify the line 50 years ago?

Beeching and Marples put a stop to it. Thank goodness the short-sighted decisions of that era are being corrected at long last.