Lichfield’s MP says he’s confident it will be full steam ahead for improvements to the city’s railway stations and train services in the coming years.
Michael Fabricant has met with Jan Chaudhry-van der Velde, the managing director of new operator West Midland Trains before Christmas.
A number of items were on the agenda, including much needed upgrades to the stations serving the city.
Mr Fabricant said: “We discussed in detail the facilities at Lichfield City and Lichfield Trent Valley stations as well as services on the two rail franchises they have taken over from London Midland.
“I raised a whole series of issues with him.”
The new operator has taken over services on the cross city line, while its London Northwestern arm delivers routes on the West Coast Main Line.
“Following meetings Jan has had with Network Rail, they have confirmed to him – and now to me – that work will begin on the construction of the two lifts to the upper platform at Lichfield Trent Valley this summer,” he said. “This will give disabled access to all three platforms. And it will be a real boon to those carrying heavy luggage and baby buggies.
“I have also asked that they investigate constructing a ramp from the new car park at Lichfield Trent Valley down to the London-bound platform and they have confirmed that their customer services director has been tasked with exploring possibilities.”
Mr Fabricant says the company are also looking at potential ways to re-introduce toilets at Lichfield City station.
He has asked that they look at a number of options, including bringing the existing ones back into use, relocating them into the ticket hall or reopening the disabled facility using a CCTV buzz in system.
Mr Chaudhry-van der Velde said: “Concerning the toilets at Lichfield City station, I know you are aware of the history as to why the facilities are locked out of use. Like you, I am keen to see this matter resolved.”
There is also hope for on-board improvements for the West Coast Main Line route.
The Conservative MP said: “The introduction of a basic food service will be investigated for the London to Crewe route and I know that will be welcomed by hungry commuters.
“Of course we also discussed punctuality and reliability of services to and from Birmingham and to London. The company are investing in 100 brand new carriages on the cross city line alone and Network Rail are seeking improvements to the congestion at Birmingham New Street which will all help.
“There will also be earlier and later trains on the Birmingham line as well as more services on a Sunday.
“None of this can happen overnight, but I am confident that over the next couple of years we will begin to see major improvements on the trains and at both our Lichfield stations.”