All aboard for new rail service from Walsall to London
A councillor was one of the passengers on board the first newly electrified rail service directly from Walsall to London.
Councillor Richard Worrall, for the Rushall-Shelfield ward, was on board the first direct train which left Walsall at 6.02am on Monday.
The news comes after a six-year project, which will see trains on the Chase Line – from Walsall to Rugeley – run locally every half an hour and be more environmentally friendly than before after the route was electrified.
The project has cost more than £200 million according to Network Rail project sponsor Martin Tiller.
A passenger service for politicians and rail executives was put on earlier this month and a plaque was unveiled.
Councillor Worrall said: “I was lucky enough to be among the guests on the first electric train between Walsall and Rugeley on May 10.
“This was the next step in a journey which started in the late 1980s, when I was closely involved as a member of the then West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority in the successful negotiations with Staffordshire which resulted in new stations and the re-opening of the line north of Walsall as far as Hednesford in 1989. This was then followed in 1997 by the re-opening to Rugeley Town and Trent Valley.
“Thirty years on – that’s how long rail developments can take – dirty, noisy diesels are replaced by faster, cleaner, quieter, electric trains which, from Monday link all Chase Line stations, and Walsall and Tame Bridge Parkway direct to Birmingham International for the airport, and to London Euston, without the need to change at Birmingham New Street.
“I’ll be on the first direct train from Walsall to London which leaves at 6.02am.
“But this is not the end of the journey – we can all play our part in making this service a success, and thus getting further improvements, by making a point of using it. It runs hourly to London Mondays – Saturdays and there are two trains per hour from Euston to Walsall and all stations on the Chase Line.”