Yesterday’s announcement that the Government has approved rail improvements on a Staffordshire line will be a further boost to prosperity and job creation, the county’s transport leader has said.
The Department for Transport has given the go-ahead to the £30m electrification of the Rugeley to Walsall Chase Line included in the West Midlands Rail Development Plan. Projects approved today will be carried out between 2014 and 2019.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport Mike Maryon said: “I’m delighted proposals for the electrification of the Rugeley to Walsall line have been given the go-ahead today.
“Good connectivity is vital as it brings in more opportunities including those in employment and leisure. It also increases the attractiveness of towns along the line as places to live, work and do business.
“As a result of the electrification of the line, we will see faster services, an expanded timetable and more capacity for rail users.
“In Staffordshire we have great communications links but want to see improvements all the time to ensure sustained economic growth.
“The proposals had universal backing from a range of organisations in Staffordshire so this really is good news for everyone.”
Cannock Chase MP Aidan Burley, who has campaigned for the improvements and recently led an adjournment debate in the House of Commons, said: “This is not only great news for commuters, who will experience faster, smoother and more frequent journeys. There are also major economic benefits to be had by improving our access to the markets of Birmingham, London and the South East. This will go a huge way to help support my efforts to bring business to the area, and reinforce the message that Cannock Chase is the place to come to in Staffordshire – to live, work and for leisure.”
County Councillor Maryon added that the project will complement London Midland’s increased capacity on services through Tamworth, Lichfield, Rugeley, Stafford, Stone and Penkridge which could start as early as next year.