Midlands Mayor backs call to add Longbridge to new passenger rail line

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West Midlands Mayor Andy Street (L) at Longbridge Station with Gary Sambrook (Cons parliamentary candidate)

West Midlands Mayor elect Andy Street has today said that he backs a call to add Longbridge to a new £40m rail route which will run across South Birmingham from New Street.

The revival of the Camp Hill line will see stations reopened in Moseley, Kings Heath and Stirchley (Hazelwell).

However, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Birmingham Northfield, Gary Sambrook has asked Mr Street to champion the idea of ending the line at Longbridge, connecting travellers to Cross City services.

Mr Street said: “I think what Gary Sambrook proposes is an exciting idea that would really transform rail services in this part of South Birmingham and I will certainly be looking seriously at how this might be delivered.”

Mr Sambrook believes the project would drastically improve public transport for the people of Birmingham Northfield.

He said: “Andy Street has done a fantastic job in getting funding in place to reopen the Camp Hill line and following a £15m funding boost from the Department for Transport, we are closer than ever to seeing the line fully operational for commuters.

“With the decision still to be made on where the line will terminate, I have written to Andy Street to ask for the line to terminate at Longbridge.

“This would benefit our area in many ways: More services will be stopping at Kings Norton, Northfield, and Longridge, with more capacity for people commuting into and out of the city centre.”

Mr Sambrook said that the move would mean improved conditions on the often overcrowded cross city line, as well as reducing congestion and pollution in the area.

Mr Street added: “Gary Sambrook’s campaign is a great example of how our plans to re-open Moseley, Kings Heath and Stirchley stations along the Camp Hill line could deliver new services not just to those communities, but also into Kings Norton, Northfield and Longbridge.

“After decades of underinvestment and decline our rail network is being turned around with use increasing and genuine progress on opening up new stations and providing extra services – I know Gary will be tenacious in continuing to champion Kings Norton, Northfield and Longbridge being a big part of this railway revival.”

11 COMMENTS

  1. Gary Sambrook’s request to Andy Street that the revived Camp Hill line be extended to Longbridge is an excellent idea. At certain times of the day the present cross-city line is very crowded and with the Labour Council soon to charge commuters for taking their cars into the city centre there will be even more people on the trains – something the current Labour administration does not seem to be concerned about. People using the trains could well have very unpleasant journeys due to the overcrowding so Gary’s suggestion of making this new service available to those of us who live on the outer edge of the city is very welcome.
    With the upcoming election it’s good to know that one of the candidates at least has fresh and exciting ideas on how to help the people of south-west Birmingham and it is to be hoped that local people vote for him to replace our present tired-looking representative in Parliament.

  2. I can’t wait for Labour to re-nationalise the rallways and finally get this shower out.
    9 years of cuts to public services, police, education and the NHS.

    • D hides their identity and we don’t know their age but I wonder if they’re old enough to remember just how really awful services were in the days when the railways were nationalised. Travelling by train was a great misery, and I had to do it a lot then, and I dread to think how bad things will be if Labour were re-elected and if it renationalised the railways. Believe me, renationalising the railways is a very bad idea.

  3. Imo the reason British rail was so poor in the 70’s and 80’s wasn’t just a lack of investment in its major asset by the government, but that it’s budgets were constantly cut for idealogical reasons, much like austerity today.

    However even then despite the cuts, due to  wide spread reorganisation and improving technology British rail was one of the most efficient railways in Europe before it was privatised.

    After re-nationalisation in 1994,Why was Railtrack plc Re-nationalised in 2002 to Network rail? 

    At the minute the taxpayer pays for the track(debt) without runing services(profit).

    You say with certainty that nationalisation would be a bad thing, but don’t say why you think it would be bad.  You might be right but if you want people to believe you, you might need to explain why.

    Three words Graham, East Coast Rail. Re-nationalised in 2009 by labour (after it’s operator collapsed) that saw its satisfaction rates (91%)the joint highest of rail providers. And running at a profit, profits that were reinvested back into the railway and not share holders in tax havens.
    In its final year it paid £225m to the government and pre-tax profit of £8.4m.

    But despite that success, what did the conservatives do to east coast rail in 2015 Graham?
    Then “failing Grayling” forced to do last year?

    We now pay 3 times as much in subsidies (5bn)to rail franchises (that’s not including Network Rails huge rising debt) than we did under nationisation at the end of the 80’s(1.5bn).

    Why couldn’t the econemy of scale work on a well invested railway network?

    How does nationalising debt and privatising profit benifit the passengers or country?

    • In response to D’s question of why do I think that renationalisation would be a bad thing I give a simple answer – personal experience. British Rail provided its customers with miserable, horrible travelling experiences that were far worse than happens now even though services are often far from perfect now. I can’t even begin to count the number of hours lost waiting in the days of British Rail for severely delayed trains on cold horrible stations with shocking overcrowding on dirty trains. Present day rail travellers who never experienced those terrible times on the railways just could not believe how awful train travel was then. Statistics may be produced to show that travel on the nationalised railway was the best thing since sliced bread (probably that used for the dire British Rail sandwich) but those forced to use frequently the lamentable services of those times know differently.

  4. Call me an idealist Graham but I’d hope our governments, (or anybody for that matter) took a more evidential based approach to form an opinion on nationalisation than your experience as a passenger 30-40 years ago,when government investment was very poor with swinging cuts year after year,not only to it’s budgets, but to it’s services,routes jobs and rolling stock.

    So of course you and other passengers at the time were inevitably going to get a poorer service. That’s what a lack of investment does.

    • As an argument against the re-nationalisation of our railways?

      train drivers and guards have gone on longer strikes and caused just as much disruption over pay and conditions since privatisation,so i can’t see the point your the point your making.

  5. my preference for re-nationalisation comes down to three things, 1/safety (for passangers & workers)
    2/accountability
    3/overall cost and benifit to the country and citizens.

    From all the arguments I’ve read for and against Re-nationalisation, I’m yet to see or hear a real positive argument for privatisation that deals with those points that hasn’t been argued since privatisation, that hasn’t proved wrong,and if not wrong then shown to to be totally over egged and exaggerated without any nuiance or factual basis.

    http://turniprail.blogspot.com/2011/03/no-steven-norris-in-1990s-british-rail.html?m=1

    https://weownit.org.uk/public-ownership/railways

    https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/the-east-coast-franchise-debacle/

    https://www.citymetric.com/transport/rail-privatisation-hasn-t-worked-it-s-time-reverse-it-3613

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