Electrification of the Chase line is well under way
Improvements to the railway between Rugeley Trent Valley and Walsall are progressing as planned as Network Rail engineers continue work to electrify the Chase line.
“This work, part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, will mean passengers travelling between Rugeley and Birmingham via Walsall will have a better, more reliable railway,” said Martin Tiller, Network Rail’s project sponsor. “The work is going to plan and we are progressing well. Unfortunately, these upgrades cannot be done while trains are running so we have had to close the line between Walsall and Rugeley Trent Valley for 16 days. The work has been carefully planned with London Midland to get the maximum amount completed whilst causing the least disruption. I would like to thank passengers for their patience while we carry out these upgrades to deliver a better railway.”
Engineers have carried out a range of work so far to electrify the Chase line, including installing 52 steel structures to support the overhead lines which will power electric trains, refurbishing existing power lines south of Walsall station and installing over 25 concrete foundations ready for steel stanchions to be installed. Vegetation has also been cut back, 120m of new drainage has been put in and the railway tunnel under Walsall has been inspected.
But there is still a long way to go, with the remaining steel structures to be installed as well as more of the existing overhead power lines and 2800m of rail to be replaced in the upcoming days.
“I completely understand that passengers will be very concerned about the disruption on the Chase Line in the coming weeks but they will enjoy a much better service once the electrification is complete,” added Amanda Milling, MP for Cannock Chase. “The electrification of the Chase line will see faster and more frequent trains which mean there are hundreds more seats, bringing an end to the misery passengers have faced over the last few years. I would urge passengers to check before they travel as there will be an amended timetable with a replacement bus service.”
An increasing number of passengers use the Chase line each year and improvements are needed to accommodate this growth. Overhead wires are currently only installed as far as Walsall which means London Midland currently runs diesel trains from Birmingham to Rugeley Trent Valley.
Once fully electrified, passengers will benefit from a cleaner, greener, quieter and more reliable railway between Birmingham and Rugeley with more frequent services.