Network Rail is inviting people to have their say on plans to upgrade the railway in and around Staffordshire to deliver a more reliable network for passengers with extra train services.
The layout of the railway in and around Stafford, particularly Norton Bridge, restricts capacity and performance along the main line. Options are being considered to upgrade Norton Bridge Junction to separate the path of cross country trains between Birmingham and Manchester from fast services between London and the North West.
The new junction together with signaling and track enhancements will improve the reliability of services and allow extra trains to run on the main line. The project will deliver:
- Two extra fast trains per hour between London and the North West
- One extra train per hour between Birmingham and Manchester
- One additional freight path per hour through Stafford via Trent Valley, helping take lorries off congested roads such as the M6
Local residents are invited to find out more about the scheme at one of the forthcoming exhibitions and to provide their comments on the plans – in person, by post or online.
Jo Kaye, route director for Network Rail, said: "We want as many people as possible to find out about this exciting project by visiting the exhibitions or viewing the plans online. Britain relies on rail and with demand for rail travel increasing it’s essential we invest in the railway now to provide better services for passengers with more trains, additional seats and fewer delays.
“The west coast main line is one of the most well used routes in the country connecting London, the North West and Scotland. The plans we are launching today will make the route even better and help meet future demand.”
Cllr Robert Marshall, cabinet member for infrastructure and regenerations at Staffordshire County Council said: “This is exiting news for Staffordshire. Investment in the railway is essential and we are pleased this scheme will create extra capacity for passenger services on the main line. Good rail links are important for the county’s infrastructure and economic viability and we hope people take the opportunity to view the proposals.”
"The proposed work at Norton Bridge is essential for the national rail network. We'll continue to work with Network Rail to minimise the impact on local communities," added Cllr Doug Davis, Stafford Borough Council's cabinet lead on planning.
This is the first round of public exhibitions and more detailed consultation will be carried out next summer. Network Rail hopes to submit an application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission in late 2012 to gain the necessary permissions to complete the works.
Notes to editors
More information about the project can be found at http://www.networkrail.co.uk/stafford-nortonbridge
Public consultation will continue throughout 2011 before a final scheme is prepared in 2012.
Consultation details are set out below:
· 10 November, Chebsey Village Hall (4pm – 9pm)
· 11 November, St Luke’s Church, Norton Bridge (11am – 3pm)
· 12 November, Great Bridgeford Village Hall (2pm – 7pm)
· 13 November, Chebsey Village Hall (11am – 3pm)
· 15 November, Walton Community Centre (3pm – 8pm)
· 16 November, Yarnfield Village Hall (3pm – 8pm)
· 17 November, Stafford Railway Station (3pm – 8pm)
About Network Rail
Network Rail is the not for dividend owner and operator of Britain's railway infrastructure, which includes the tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, level crossings and stations - the largest of which we also manage. We aim to provide a safe, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure for freight and passenger trains to use. www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk