More than £50million is being invested into Worcestershire’s rail network as the region looks to continue to grow its booming economy.
The tens of millions being invested into the rail network will ensure the county, which has one of the fastest growing economies in the country, has better connectivity.
It comes as figures show that Worcestershire will see a 97% growth in passenger numbers on its rail network by 2043.
On some routes, including Worcester to London, it is expected to double current figures.
Cllr Ken Pollock, Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure at Worcestershire County Council, said: “We have a booming economy in Worcestershire and we fully expect the upward trend to continue.
“To allow for future growth, this county needs an improved rail network so that is why, alongside partners, we’re investing into it.
“Better rail connectivity benefits not only residents but also businesses and improving connectivity is one of the County Council’s top priorities.”
Around £53million is being spent by the County Council and its partners on rail improvements up to 2019 including stations such as Kidderminster, Parkway and work already completed at Foregate Street in Worcester, Malvern Link and Bromsgrove.
Work is due to start at Worcestershire Parkway this autumn with a construction target date of winter 2018 with it being fully open to the public early 2019. The new station will forge better links between Worcester and London . The vision is for two trains per hour, one being a fast express train and one a multi-stop train, from the County down to the capital as well as the station giving improved access to South West, South East and the North.
Plans have also recently been revealed for £4.3million to be invested to improve Kidderminster Station, the second busiest station in the county. It is set to see a 50% increase in passenger numbers in the next five years. Work there is due to start in the autumn of 2018.
In terms of investment already made, £24million has gone towards revamping Bromsgrove Station to ensure it is fully accessible to all users and has the capacity to handle 800,000 passengers per year. In addition, the longer platforms will allow additional rail services to stop at Bromsgrove in the future. Further railway construction works are taking place as Network Rail electrification works continue. Once completed, there will be four trains per hour between Bromsgrove and Birmingham. A total of just under £2m was spent on Foregate Street in Worcester and Malvern Link.
Steve Richardson, Director from global financial software company Rimilia in Bromsgrove, said: “The planned station at Worcester Parkway and the current provision at Bromsgrove is of great help to Rimilia.
“Being a global financial software company, access to London for face to face meetings with clients and industry events is essential to our continued growth. I know I’ve picked up clients from the station before so it’s had an impact on how easy we are to access.”
Worcestershire County Council has just completed a period of consultation on its draft rail strategy that sets out the vision for a better rail network in the County. This strategy shows that with extra investment locally from the both Department For Transport and Network Rail, Worcestershire’s already thriving economy could be given even more of a boost.
For more information follow this link Draft rail strategy