Improving the service on the Chase Line is an issue I have campaigned on even before I was your Member of Parliament. It will come as no surprise that this is an issue that remains at the forefront of my mind.
Over the years we have seen the line electrified, an increase in the frequency of trains and more seating capacity with more carriages on the trains.
Two issues that I have continued to campaign on are improving station access and also the timetabling of late evening services.
I have long lobbied for the last service on the line from Birmingham to go all the way to Rugeley, instead of terminating at Hednesford.
I have raised this in the House of Commons. I have met with West Midlands Trains and Network Rail to discuss this. As well as raising this matter directly with the Rail Minister. I have been working hard to press for this service improvement to be made.
I am therefore delighted that West Midlands Trains have reached an agreement with Network Rail which will allow the 23:22 service (Mon-Sat) from Birmingham New Street to continue through to Rugeley Trent Valley.
This change will come into effect from the date of the next national timetable change on Sunday 10 December 2023. It will mean the last train of the evening from Birmingham city centre to Rugeley Town and Rugeley Trent Valley will depart 52 minutes later than the current final service at 22:30. Just in time for Christmas Parties in Birmingham!
This change will enable passengers in Rugeley to enjoy improved access to evenings out in Birmingham without finding themselves stranded in Hednesford. It goes without saying that I am delighted with this improvement.
My efforts to improve local rail services will not stop here. I am meeting the Rail Minister here in Cannock Chase to discuss local train services and press for improved access at the Rugeley stations. This way the Minister will be able to see and experience first hand some of the issues passengers face when using these stations.
Whilst we have seen service improvements on the Chase Line over the years, there is still more to do.
As always, if you require my help with anything at all, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone on 01543 877142.