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More people are now getting on the train across Black Country and Staffordshire

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The number of people catching trains across the Black Country and Staffordshire has increased by nearly seven per cent in the last year, new figures reveal.

There were 20.375 million 'entries and exits' at stations across the region in 2015/16, up from 19.081 million the year before.

Of the region's 33 train stations, just three saw their overall visitors decline during that time.

According to the estimates of the usage by the Office of Rail and Road, Cannock station was visited by 221,124 people in 2014/15 but a total of 220,290 travellers over the last year.

Cannock could benefit from £76m work which will see electrification of the Chase Line, which runs from Rugeley to Walsall. That should be completed by December 2017.

Lichfield City and Shenstone also saw a slight decline in the number of people using them.

Meanwhile Wolverhampton railway station, which is operated by Virgin Trains, saw 4.746m visitors in 2015/16 – an increase of 5.6 per cent from 2014/15's total of 4.495m.

Dudley's busiest station, Stourbridge Junction, saw an increase to 1.434m. It rose from 1.323m and showed an 8.3 per cent rise.

Rowley Regis, which was the busiest in Sandwell, was used by 1.015m passengers after 921,116 people used it in 2014/15.

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People using Walsall rose to 1.404m from 1.303m in 2014/15 – a 7.7 per cent increase.

Usage of Stafford station also rose, from 2.119m to 2.228m.

Steve Wright from independent campaign group Railfuture said: "We are very enthusiastic about rail in the West Midlands and it is generally accepted that the growth in the West Midlands is growing more quickly than anywhere else in the country.

"We are looking forward to the next franchise, which is due in July next year for October next year. That may see some significant improvements in (journey) frequency."

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He said the pressure group is 'actively campaigning' to see a line reopened between Walsall and Wolverhampton.

He said: "It is not surprising in view of growth of traffic congestion. It takes a long to travel around not just the West Midlands but any conurbation."

"Once the Chase line is electrified, that might make it a lot more convenient to use."

London Midland operates all the stations in the Black Country and Staffordshire, other than Wolverhampton and Stafford.

Its spokesman Francis Thomas said: "We have seen phenomenal growth in the last eight years since the franchise began."

The busiest station outside London was Birmingham New Street, with just over 39m people using it. The next busiest were Glasgow Central, Leeds, Manchester Piccadilly and Edinburgh.

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