MORE frequent and faster train services are needed between Stratford and Birmingham.
So says the Shakespeare Line Promotion Group (SLPG) in its response to the West Midlands Rail Executive’s Rail Investment Strategy (RIS) which sets out a vision and plan for railways in the West Midlands over the next 30 years.
The group, which represents rail users between Stratford and Birmingham, has largely welcomed and supported the RIS but said it needed to be bolder and set much faster timescales to deliver service improvements.
SLPG surveys carried out with rail users and Stratford town centre businesses revealed the need for more frequent and faster services between Stratford and Birmingham was the highest priority for both rail passengers and businesses.
Stratford currently has two trains an hour to and from Birmingham through the day – one service travelling via Henley and Shirley and the other service going via Dorridge and Solihull.
SLPG wants to see a third service added per hour by extending to and from Stratford train services that currently stop and turn back at Whitlocks End near Shirley
SLPG secretary Fraser Pithie said: “The attraction of extending current train services to and from Stratford that already come halfway down the line with Birmingham is it doesn’t mean any costly and time-consuming infrastructure work. It would be relatively easy to re-timetable the services to provide a much-improved interval service.
“SLPG have stated that passengers want to see greater frequency and faster services. Consequently, we want a third service operating semi-fast from and to Whitlocks End calling only at Henley and Wythall. Let’s not forget this is also about supporting Stratford’s town centre businesses and we need to do all we can to help sustain them.”