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Talks held over plan to reinstate Lichfield to Burton passenger rail service by extending cross city line

A passenger rail service between Lichfield and Burton could have moved a step closer.

Talks on reinstating the line – together with a stop for the National Memorial Arboretum – have been “positive” according to Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant.

The existing tracks heading from Lichfield to Burton
The existing tracks heading from Lichfield to Burton

Freight tracks currently remain, but Malcolm Holmes, chief executive of the West Midlands Rail Executive, said that short and long term options were being explored to run a passenger service on the line for the first time since 1965.

He said:  “The Rail Investment Strategy specifically identifies the option of electrifying the Lichfield Trent Valley to Burton line, which would enable the existing cross city line electric train services to be extended to Burton and also serve the proposed new station at Alrewas.

“This option is also likely to require the construction of a second high level platform at Lichfield Trent Valley station and some additional infrastructure at Burton-on-Trent station.

“The electrification of the track and infrastructure enhancements would require significant public investment and therefore be subject to the Department for Transport’s new Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline process.

“However, it may be that there is a shorter term option to provide at least some passenger services on this route without requiring all of the major infrastructure elements to be in place.

“For example, use of non-electric rolling stock might allow a shuttle train to operate between Burton and Lichfield to operate in the first instance without requiring expensive electrification.

“The West Midlands Rail Executive has therefore had some exploratory discussions with both the local Lichfield Rail Promotion Group and with the infrastructure operator and owner Network Rail, to establish in more detail whether there is scope for such an interim solution

“Initial indications appear to be positive and we will be talking further to Network Rail, Staffordshire Council and other stakeholders over the next couple of months to see if a way forward can be agreed.  I share your enthusiasm for enhancing rail services on this corridor.”

“Encouraging news”

Mr Fabricant said he believed reopening the line would also help ease local traffic on the A38.

The Conservative MP said: “This is encouraging news and comes on top of major enhancements now underway at Lichfield Trent Valley and improvements soon to be made to London West Midlands Train services.

“I look forward to working closely with Mr Holmes and other agencies and I have already had detailed discussions with ministers at the Department of Transport in London.

“This new rail service would provide an effective link between Derby, Burton, Lichfield, Birmingham, and the whole of the West Midlands.

“Once it has proved its worth, full electrification will be possible.”

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15 Comments

  1. Robert Griffiths-Jones

    4th May, 2019 at 8:44 am

    This is very welcome news indeed ,it will certainly reduce local traffic to Burton and attract more visitors to our city and people visiting Alrewas . Hope that this will go ahead and not at a snails pace !

  2. Mike

    4th May, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    Excellent news, although this has been campaigned for over the last twenty years. I will not give Michael Fabricant the plaudits for getting it to this stage. For the record these aren’t freight only lines, as they do operate passenger diversions and are the signalling infrastructure is set up for passenger services in terms of safety. At present, if the railway was that way inclined, they could run the Birmingham – Nottingham service that leaves Birmingham at 19 minutes past across this line instead of via Tamworth. A call at Sutton and Lichfield would provide a connection to Burton. If the passenger service via Alrewas is reinstated, they will need to put back into place the opposite platform on the high level of Lichfield Trent Valley.

  3. Steven Norman

    6th May, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    This must be excellent news for Lichfield residents as they will be able to get to their local police station – in Burton On Trent.

  4. Darryl Godden

    6th May, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    This is welcome news, not really sure what Steven Norman is trying to say.

  5. Jon O'Hagan

    6th May, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    As usual Steve Norman is trying to make a cheap political point.

    As usual, he fails to offer an alternative suggestion.

  6. Wilf

    6th May, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    Stay classy, O’Hagan. After all it worked so well on your election campaign…

  7. Jon O'Hagan

    7th May, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Telling the is always classy Wilf. It’s much better than hiding in the shadows behind your labour party pals.

  8. Philip Allso

    7th May, 2019 at 8:59 am

    I am all for improved infrastructure but it must be backed by need and sustainability. Much of the traffic on the A38 is not intended for Burton but Derby and beyond, much for the M1. Domestic use of a train service between Lichfield and Burton is likely to be low (a direct line to Queens Hospital would be welcome!). Local bus services are reducing as their viability declines. This is not the pre Beeching era when few people owned cars. Now most people want door to door transport with the ability to carry their purchases home. I would like to be convinced that this line really would make a difference. Constructive opinions would be very welcome.

  9. Jon O'Hagan

    7th May, 2019 at 9:22 am

    Sorry Wilf, that should have been telling the truth is always classy.

  10. Wilf

    7th May, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Makes you wonder why you didn’t get elected doesn’t it, O’Hagan? Guess you’ll have plenty of time to lurk in the shadows now you don’t have council meetings to attend.

  11. Jon O'Hagan

    7th May, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    The reason 1334 conservative councillors didn’t get elected was Brexit.

    Unlike you, I won’t be hiding in the shadows. I’ll be out campaigning, and supporting the excellent work LDC’s conservative group. I hope to be back on LDC in four years time.

    In the meantime, you can keep your identity private, and take pot shots with impunity, at anyone you disagree with.

  12. Simon Partridge

    7th May, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Any improvement to public transport is to be welcomed, but this needs to be part of a wider overhaul of the rail network. Instead of HS2 we should be spending money on upgrades to the current network as well as investment in re-openings such as this one which would allow more people to travel by train.

  13. Wilf

    7th May, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    Do you ever stop and wonder O’Hagan why you were one of the few Tories who didn’t get in in the bluest of blue councils? Given your self-confirmed brilliant record on working hard for local residents and obvious re-election in four years, it seems baffling that you didn’t get in this time round. Could it be perhaps that you shout your mouth off like a playground bully on social media and websites like this? Or perhaps it because you’ve essentially trolled a fellow councillor with insults in recent months on such platforms?

  14. Mike

    7th May, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    “Instead of HS2 we should be spending money on upgrades to the current network ”

    Why does this always get brought up? The current network does have money spent on it. Around the Midlands area alone in the last twenty years such signalling and line speed improvements in Derby Stafford, Nuneaton, along the Trent valley line, theres been the electrification of the Hednesford line, improvements down towards Cheltenham, (Bromsgrove in particular), Improvements to the Wolverhampton and Coventry corridor.the Cross city line has benefitted from a better service and is set to have new trains soon. However there is only so much you can do with the present lines. HS2 is providing a brand new line for very high speed running, instead of trying to build another line alongside the west coast main line. It means it is dedicated to passenger services has very few junctions, will feature in cab signalling to allow higher capacity and higher speeds and will open up paths on the West Coast Mainline for other services. These comments about improving what we’ve got is not fact based at all, its just anti-HS2, which in essence means it’s anti-railway.

    Regarding reinstating passenger services on the Lichfield to Burton line, it will improve train travel a lot for Lichfield. It will mean you can get to Burton without changing at Tamworth or having to travel into Birmingham first. You can then change at Burton for Derby, Nottingham and the North and North East. There no chance of building a line to Queens Hospital, but they could look at Trams to facilitate that instead.

  15. Steven Norman

    8th May, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Let me help with my earlier comment on the good news for Lichfield residents. Although I had a photo taken of the sign on the District Council’s door before @PaulRay111 did, as I told him on election night, he beat me tweeting it on the 30th April. It states:

    “Please be aware from 1st April 2019. This public police reception area is now closed. Your nearest police station is Burton [sic] or Cannock.”

    So residents aren’t even able to call at ‘their’ new police station the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner had built on the Green Belt in Lichfield!

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