"Clearly we must continue our campaigns to achieve a high-quality train service for Stourbridge Line users," continued Don Barton.  "As an active user group we engage with the rail industry on many levels to make the case for improvements, and although this news is encouraging it also shows that our group and our members need to keep on doing this to achieve more than the minimum standard that has been laid down here."

At a recent meeting the group have challenged the recently formed West Midlands Rail, who will ultimately manage the rail franchise in our area to explain why our route is excluded from the benefit of earlier Sunday services.  It seems other West Midland routes will, this has to be to the economic and social detriment of the people of North Worcestershire and the South West of the Black Country.

slug welcomes planned train service improvements (press release)

A Press Release from the Stourbridge Line User Group.


But new franchise specification also misses opportunities for Stourbridge/Kidderminster line

The Stourbridge Line User Group has welcomed some of the measures included in the Invitation to Tender document for the next West Midlands passenger train franchise, which starts in October 2017.  However, it is not satisfied that some steps that would produce clear benefits for users of the Worcester-Kidderminster-Stourbridge-Birmingham line are not specified.

"We are very pleased to see that the bidders for the next franchise must plan to operate more trains in the evenings and on Sundays," said the group's recently-appointed chairman, Don Barton.  "But on Sunday mornings, when the service starts up woefully late, it seems that they are not required to make any improvements, so we will be carrying on campaigning to change that.  The fact that earlier Sunday services are specified for several other routes in the West Midlands makes this look unfair to people living along the Stourbridge line."

The Stourbridge Line User Group represents and campaigns on behalf of train passengers on the line between Worcester and Birmingham via Kidderminster and Stourbridge.  It takes a keen interest in the quality of the passenger service and in connections to other routes available along the line, and is encouraged by suggestions in the Invitation to Tender that a strategy on ticket-checking is required and that improvements to Worcester-Cheltenham-Gloucester connections (which give access to long-distance trains serving south Wales and south west England) are to be investigated.  However, it notes that no hard requirements are specified on these aspects.

16 september 2016