Travelers using a number of stations in Solihull and Warwickshire are being warned of major works underway next month which will see services disrupted when a busy section of railway is closed for four days. Key parts of the railway are being replaced during a four-day rail closure as part of preparations for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The work is taking place between Birmingham Moor Street and Solihull stations, but will affect Chiltern Railways services between Birmingham and London which also stop at Warwick, Warwick Parkway and Leamington. Network Rail is investing £3million to overhaul switches and level crossings – moving parts of track that allow trains from the Tyseley maintenance depot to enter and exit the rail network.
It is a key site for three key rail operators – West Midlands Railway, CrossCountry and Chiltern Railways. Any problems at the depot during the Commonwealth Games could lead to significant delays across the region, including the risk of overcrowding at key stations serving sports venues.
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Network Rail says replacing complex equipment now will help keep rail services running smoothly during this summer’s Commonwealth Games, which are expected to see more than a million extra passenger journeys on the West Midlands rail network. The essential improvements will mean there will be no direct train services between Solihull, Birmingham Moor Street and Snow Hill between Monday June 20 and Thursday June 23.
Rail replacement buses will be in service and people are urged to plan ahead at www.nationalrail.co.uk. It is the first time in a generation that this part of the Chiltern Main Line will be completely closed for large scale works.
Denise Wetton, Network Rail’s Central Route Manager, said: ‘We know there is never a perfect time to close the railway and a mid-week closure for work like this is rare, but post-pandemic passenger numbers show that weekdays are now the least disruptive time to close the railway for vital works. This upgrades program will improve the network not just in Tyseley, but across the wider West Midlands, providing passengers with a cleaner, cooler and more reliable railway throughout our great sporting summer.
“It will also help to reduce the risk of platform overcrowding due to the one million additional passenger journeys expected during the Commonwealth Games.”
Eleni Jordan, Chief Business and Customer Strategy Officer, Chiltern Railways, said: “Network Rail’s crucial track replacement work between Monday 20 and Thursday 23 June will enable us to continue to provide a safe and reliable service to our customers. customers in what is expected to be a busy summer on the railways in the West Midlands. We will regularly communicate plans for alternative rail travel to and from Birmingham.
“We advise customers traveling during the lockdown to check their trip on the Chiltern website or app before travelling.”
Jonny Wiseman, West Midlands Railway’s Customer Experience Manager, said: “This essential work will make a real long-term difference to passengers by improving access to Tyseley depot where trains are serviced and refueled. I would like to thank our customers for their patience while this work is being carried out and urge passengers traveling during this time to plan their journeys carefully as revised timetables and replacement rail buses will be in service.
Engineers and planners will take advantage of the four-day closure of the railway line to carry out a host of works, including:
Installation of new rails, sleepers and ballast (railway foundation stone)
Tension rails to better cope with high heat
Remove invasive plants and graffiti
Carry out a deep clean at Birmingham Moor Street Station
Network Rail says this work will reduce future disruption to passengers and provide a more reliable rail network not just during the Commonwealth Games but for many years to come. It will also save taxpayers money, as work outside of a full track closure would normally take place over several weekends over an entire summer.
Passengers are advised to check before traveling on www.nationalrail.co.uk.