With electrification work complete, the new West Midlands Railway Cross City connection to Bromsgrove has launched today (Sunday 29th July) with up to an extra three trains per hour linking to Birmingham and through to Lichfield.
Services which previously terminated in Longbridge will now run to and from Bromsgrove – every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday and every half an hour on Sundays.
Network Rail has invested £100m in installing new track, new signaling and upgraded power to allow the new electric train service to run. The new overhead power lines between Barnt Green and Bromsgrove were switched on in May 2018, when the first trains started test runs on the route.
The electrification of the line is part of a £1bn investment in West Midlands region and follows the construction of the new Bromsgrove station which opened in July 2016.
The extra trains to Bromsgrove will support a package of wider improvements to the Cross City line. This includes 100 new carriages, that are due to be delivered under the region’s new rail franchise which is managed by West Midlands Rail Executive – a consortium of local councils, in partnership with government.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, chair of West Midlands Rail Executive and transport lead on the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “Electrification and the extra trains for Bromsgrove mark the latest stage in a 40-year journey for the Cross City Line during which time our local transport authority has worked tirelessly with partners to transform the route into the region’s busiest commuter line, relied on by thousands of people every day.
“It now means Bromsgrove will get the same sort of high frequency service enjoyed by the rest of the Cross City Line and that’s good for the regional economy as well as for passengers. Together with the new franchise improvements, it shows the value of local investment and of moving responsibility for the regional network from Whitehall to the West Midlands.”
Richard Brooks, customer experience director at West Midlands Railway added: “Our customers in Bromsgrove will benefit immensely from these new services – with far more choice of when and where they can travel. Not only are we offering more trains to and from central Birmingham, but also to many other destinations on our network that were previously not served directly from Bromsgrove.”
Rail Minister Jo Johnson said: “We are investing in the most significant upgrade of the rail network since Victorian times, delivering more trains, a greater number of services and more comfortable journeys for passengers. The completion of this project demonstrates the benefits of our £1bn investment in the region’s railways, with a significant increase in the number of trains into central Birmingham during peak times.”