The first ever electric train has travelled between Birmingham and Bromsgrove.
The West Midlands Railway train made the historic journey last night (Sunday 20 May) to test the newly installed overhead power lines, ahead of a full electric service being introduced later this summer.
The upgrade and electrification of the railway to Bromsgrove by Network Rail is part of the Railway Upgrade Plan. When the work is completed, West Midlands Railway will operate an extra three trains every hour. Currently the town has two trains per hour in the peak and just one train per hour off-peak.
The testing also marks the permanent switch on of the overhead power lines, which carry 25,000v of electricity, 24 hours a day. Local communities are being urged to be well aware of this additional safety hazard and the added danger it poses should anyone choose to trespass on the railway.
Richard Dugdale, senior sponsor for Network Rail, said: “Passengers will soon be travelling on electric trains between Birmingham and Bromsgrove which will provide a better, greener, more reliable service.
“The Railway Upgrade Plan is delivering significant improvements across Britain. Bromsgrove with its new station and electric train service is reaping the benefits.
“Electric trains mean overhead power lines along the railway are live, 24 hours a day. I would urge everyone to remember this and never put themselves or others at risk by trespassing on the railway.”
Richard Brooks, customer experience director for West Midlands Railway said “There is still more work to be done but the test train is a major step towards giving Bromsgrove the extra services the town needs. These are exciting times for the region. Rail travel in the West Midlands has never been more popular. We are investing almost £1 billion to create more and better journeys, helping to shape and support the region’s economy and identity.”
Engineers from Network Rail and West Midlands Railway were on board the test train as it made three return trips between Birmingham and Bromsgrove.
For timetable and travel information visit www.nationalrail.co.uk