THE LONG-AWAITED Cross City rail extension to Bromsgrove finally got under way with the route now providing an extra three trains an hour to Birmingham as part of £1billion investment in midlands rail infrastructure.
The first-ever Cross City service to Bromsgrove arrived at 9.35am on Sunday with the 9.03am, 2B02, from Birmingham New Street.
Electric train, number 323202, worked the service and was met by around 70 people witnessing the historic event with many taking photographs.
Bromsgrove becomes one of 23 stations served by Cross City services that now also sees electric trains at town for the first time in 178 years since the railway opened in 1840.
The full 31-mile journey from Lichfield Trent Valley takes up to one hour and 17 minutes to complete the full journey.
The inaugural service from Bromsgrove was the 9.42am, 2G07, to New Street carrying around 40 passengers as it set-off.
One passenger Malcolm Wood said: “I’m very pleased with the new service, we’ve been waiting years for this.
“I’m delighted to have travelled on the first service up the Incline and to New Street.”
The notorious Lickey Incline also shows the electric trains – class 323 electric multiple units (EMUs) – operating the new services possess more power than the diesels which also serve the town.
The diesel train working the 09.53am service from Bromsgrove took 5 minutes and 15 seconds to pass the Incline’s summit at Blackwell on Wednesday. Whilst the electric train working the 9.42am from Bromsgrove covered the same distance in just 3 minutes and 12 seconds on Sunday.
However, the introduction of the Cross City extension has also been met with disappointment and frustration following the withdrawal of CrossCountry services from Bromsgrove.
Stuart Smith, who also travelled on the inaugural service from Bromsgrove said: “I’m disappointed CrossCountry has stopped calling at Bromsgrove as we’ve lost the connection to the South that goes with it.
“But more trains into New Street has got to be a good thing.”
There are now 132 trains each weekday, up from just 45. The earliest Cross City service from Bromsgrove departs at 6.12am for Birmingham, and the last service at 11.20pm.
Meanwhile, the earliest train to Bromsgrove departs from New Street at 5.53am, and the final weekday Cross City service back departs at 10.53pm.
Existing West Midlands Rail services to and from Worcester, Hereford and Birmingham continue to serve the town seven days a week.
- Have you been using the new electric services this week? What do you think of them? Email your views to email@example.com
Popular train still busy
Travellers aiming for the popular 9.53am weekday service to New Street should be aware that this train is continues to be full and standing before it arrives at Bromsgrove.
There is no corresponding corresponding Cross City service at that time, there are trains at 9.12am and the first off-peak ones at 9.32am and 9.52am.
The 9.12am and 9.52am will both have six carriages and the 9.32am three carriages.
Story by Neil Gordon.
The Standard says……
FINALLY Bromsgrove commuters now have a regular railway service they can rely on.
Four trains-an-hour with hundreds of extra seats makes a defining difference to those who work in Birmingham.
The Bromsgrove Rail User Group (BRUG) should be congratulated on their successful efforts.
But there is a downside – the loss of the CrossCountry trains which worsens the service for those travelling south.
The Department of Transport is currently consulting on this and, like BRUG, we urge all residents to ensure they have their say before August 30 deadline.
Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/cross-country-rail-franchise to have your say on the consultation.
For more on ‘BRUG’s rallying call to Bromsgrove residents to have their say, click here.