Published on : Monday, January 8, 2018
The upgrade and electrification of the line, part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, means that trains will be faster, more frequent and quieter through the area.To keep local people safe and reduce risk, the crossing will be permanently closed from 0001 on Saturday 13 January.Network Rail has worked closely with Walsall Council to plan the closure and provide alternative ways of crossing the railway.
A new road bridge at Central Drive provides access over the railway for motorists. A pedestrian footbridge will be built and is due to open in summer 2018.While the crossing is closed and the footbridge is being built, a free shuttle service will be provided for pedestrians who need to cross the railway.
Eddie Hughes, MP for Walsall North, said: “Although the level crossing is closing, in the interim, Network Rail will be providing a minibus service to ferry people from one side of the crossing to the other before a footbridge is installed.
“This will cause some inconvenience in the short term however in the long term there is going to be a tremendous amount of benefits, as it will mean faster and more frequent trains with improved safety. This will benefit the people of Bloxwich and the surrounding area in the long run.”
Martin Tiller, sponsor for the Chase Line upgrade for Network Rail, said: “We are investing over £100m to improve journeys between Birmingham New Street and Rugeley Trent Valley via Walsall. Passengers will benefit from a more reliable train service and those who live near the railway will see a reduction in railway related noise as electric trains are quieter than diesel trains.
“Closing the crossing is an important part of the upgrade and will make it safer for local people to cross the railway using the new footbridge or the new road bridge at Central Drive.”
Councillor Lee Jeavons, portfolio holder for transport and regeneration at Walsall Council, said: “The council has always supported Network Rail’s electrification project of the Walsall to Rugeley Trent Valley railway, also known as the Chase Line. Not only will it improve Walsall’s connections with the region, which is vital to the economic growth of the borough but it also reduces noise levels for local residents.
“Since the start of the project we asked that Network Rail keep residents and local businesses informed of the plans to close the crossing. It’s important we have assurances that disruption will be kept to a minimum.”