THE BIGGEST upgrade of Redditch’s railway line for more than two decades is set to begin next month.
From Sunday, July 6 the line between Redditch and Barnt Green will be closed for eight weeks to allow the £24.5million project to be carried out.
It will see Network Rail install 3.2 kilometres of new track between Redditch and Alvechurch as well as an extra platform at Alvechurch, a new footbridge, waiting shelter, CCTV and lifts.
Once completed the scheme will allow three trains an hour to run between Redditch and Birmingham, delivering the most frequent service in the town’s history. It represents the biggest change to the line since electrification in 1992.
Mark Goodall, head of Cross City services at London Midland, said: “Looking forward, the installation of this new section of track not only allows us to run more trains, but will also play a key role in improving performance and reliability.
“Effectively it provides us with a passing loop, so removes the limitations of the current single track structure. Running a reliable train service is what passengers want the most, and we are committed to delivering that.”
During the work replacement bus services will run from Barnt Green Station, the Red Lion pub in Alvechurch and Redditch station to take passengers to a station further down the line where they can get on a train. Passengers are being advised to add an extra 30 minutes to their usual journey time.
Alternatively people can drive to Longbridge where they can pick up Cross City services. Alvechurch station and the car park will be closed completely during the work.
Liam Sumpter, Network Rail’s area director, said: “We have worked closely with London Midland to deliver the improvements with the least amount of disruption possible but I apologise for the inconvenience caused while the work is taking place.”
Redditch MP Karen Lumley visited the station recently to get an update on the project and assurances the bus replacement service would be able to cope with demand.
She said: “They also assured me that contingencies are in place to ensure that this work does not overrun. If they stick to their plans I believe that the benefits of the new line outweigh the costs of disruption.”