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Big growth in numb er of rail users

By Mark Andrews | Telford | News | Published:

Nearly 3.5 million more people used West Midlands railway stations in the last financial year, an increase of two per cent.

The figures, released by the government rail regulator, showed the number of visits to stations in the region had risen from 150.6 million in 2016/17 to just over 154 million in 2017/8.

Shrewsbury saw one of the biggest increases, with visitor numbers up by six per cent from 2.087 million to 2.212 million.

Lichfield City station saw a 12 per cent increase, with 798,000 visitors, although the neighbouring Lichfield Trent Valley station saw a 0.68 per cent decline to 1.093 million.

Wellington station also saw significant growth, with the number of users rising by four per cent to 693,438.

The figures, from the Office of Road and Rail, showed that Birmingham New Street was the region's busiest station, attracting 43.7 million visits, up by 3.25 per cent compared to the previous year.

Wolverhampton station saw passenger numbers increase by 1.48 per cent from 4.92 million to 4.99 million.

The number of visitors to Sandwell & Dudley station increased by one per cent to 974,380.

Telford and Stafford stations saw slight increase in user numbers, with Telford up 0.3 per cent to almost 1.212 million, and Stafford up 0.46 per cent to 2.34 million.

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But the number of people calling at Walsall station actually declined, falling 2.85 per cent to 1.426 million.

While the increase in passenger numbers will largely be welcomed, it has led to complaints of overcrowding during busy periods.

Yesterday rail operator Transport for Wales pledged to take action to reduce overcrowding on its services, including the busy commuter route from Birmingham to Shrewsbury, stopping at Telford, Wellington, Wolverhampton, and Sandwell & Dudley.

The company said it had inherited problems after taking over the franchise from Arriva Trains Wales in October

Train depot head of production David Watts said his team of technicians were working tirelessly to keep rolling stock inherited from Arriva on track until new trains could be introduced.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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