Longer trains and platforms planned to ease overcrowding on services through Telford
Platforms and trains could be lengthened, and new services introduced as part of plans to prevent chronic overcrowding on trains through Telford.
Forecasts published by Network Rail suggest rail services between Telford and Wolverhampton will be stretched to breaking point, with two commuters fighting for each seat on the final leg of the journey into the city at peak times by 2023.
In a report looking at the West Midlands and Chiltern routes, the rail infrastructure company says: "To meet forecast demand to 2023 a value for money case for train lengthening on this corridor has been identified, which will require some platform lengthening on the route."
The most likely stations to receive extended platforms would be those at Albrighton, Bilbrook and Codsall, which could allow trains with five or six carriages to run to Telford and on to Shrewsbury.
Network Rail hopes to complete the investment by 2024. However, the report does demonstrate that concerns remain over the value of investing in the line.
Other plans include increasing off-peak frequency of some trains, by allowing the peak-time extra train that currently uses the route to continue in off-peak hours.
Commuter numbers into Birmingham are expected to grow by 49 per cent by 2023, and by 114 per cent by 2043.
While capacity between Telford and Shrewsbury is within manageable levels – and expected to remain so – seats are already full on commuter services between Codsall and Birmingham.
By 2023, current projections suggest it will be standing room only on these trains, and by 2023 trains will be 140 to 200 per cent full, in terms of the number of passengers relative to the number of seats.
The study forms part of an overall plan to improve access on the routes.
A separate report for Wales's rail network has proposed investing millions in building a new platform and passenger footbridge in Shrewsbury station.
Costing between £5 million and £15 million, that would allow more services to run in and out of the county town amid spiralling passenger numbers in the next three decades. The new platform eight would be opposite the Buttermarket in Howard Street.
The Welsh report reads: "On average passenger demand is expected to grow by 24 per cent to 2023 and by 82 per cent to 2043 during peak hour into Shrewsbury from Welsh Route Study corridors."
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