Cannock Chase Council’s Economic Development Leader has welcomed news that vital improvements to the Chase railway line have been approved.
The Government gave the go-ahead earlier this month for a £30 million electrification of the Rugeley to Walsall Chase Line, which includes stations at Bloxwich (Croxdene Avenue) and Bloxwich North (Mossley), extended halts which in 1989 replaced the original, more substantial LNWR Bloxwich Station in Station Street, which had closed to passengers in 1965 then been demolished, under the ‘Beeching Axe’ which destroyed many local train services.
Cannock Chase Council has worked hard over the last few years to build a wide coalition to press the case for electrification, including Centro and the Cannock Chase Rail Promotion Group. Meetings to press the case have been held with Centro, Network Rail and London Midland, while an adjournment debate secured in Parliament last month raised the profile of the need for electrification even further.
Cllr Gordon Alcott, Cannock Chase Council Economic Development Leader, said:
“The Council has been campaigning for electrification of the Chase Line for years so we’re delighted that the scheme has finally got the green light. Electrification will deliver faster and more frequent trains to Birmingham and boost Cannock Chase’s economic growth. This is the result of a great deal of effort on the Council’s behalf and I would like to pay tribute to the work of the Council’s principal planning officer, John Morgan, who has worked tirelessly for the electrification cause for decades.”
Over half-a-million passenger journeys a year are made from railway stations in Cannock Chase District and this figure is rising, with increased passenger growth of 10% per year seen in recent years.
The line is also extremely popular with travellers from Bloxwich and Walsall, offering links both to Birmingham New Street (via Walsall) and Rugeley Trent Valley (via Cannock and Hednesford).
Work on the Chase Line will not start until at least 2014, as the announcement from the Government covers the period 2014 to 2019.