LONG-EXPECTED extra evening rail services in Solihull borough will boost the night-time economy and provide a ‘cultural connection’, the West Midlands mayor claims.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has welcomed new services coming down the track at stations between Dorridge and Birmingham Snow Hill from May 19.
He claims the new West Midlands Trains timetable represents the largest improvement to the region’s train services since the mid-1990s.
Passengers travelling from stations including Dorridge, Widney Manor, Solihull, Olton and Acocks Green will benefit from an enhanced evening timetable.
Trains will continue to run every half an hour from 7pm until the end of service on weekdays and Saturdays.
The new timetable was agreed by the transport minister Chris Grayling as part of the franchise for West Midlands Trains.
The timetables were intended to be introduced last December but Mr Grayling delayed the timetable switches due to fears over delays, cancellations, and disruption – after a ‘chaotic’ roll-out of new timetables across the country last May.
“Residents and commuters in Solihull will see a real improvement in the evening train services available after May,” Mr Street said.
“We’re talking about a doubling of frequency of trains on the line from the city to Dorridge in the evenings.
“The purpose of these changes are not only to make it easier if you want to go into the city – to go to the theatre, cinema, to see your favourite band or to eat – but also crucially if you are staying late in Solihull these services will allow residents to commute back home along the line.
“These improvements help the night-time economy all along the line, and provide a cultural connection right across the conurbation.
“It’s not just about going into the city, it’s about drawing people into Solihull too, to enjoy the nightlife on offer.
“The services will also help those working later shifts,” added Mr Street, who grew up in Solihull.
Under the changes, on weekdays and Saturdays, services after 7pm between Birmingham and Dorridge are being doubled in frequency to run every half hour.
The last evening trains to operate between Birmingham New Street and Coventry will depart between 20 and 45 minutes later, with an additional 12.40am departure from Birmingham New Street on weekdays.
Mr Street said that capacity on the line would also benefit from ambitious plans to develop Moor Street station.
The new timetable will operate from Sunday, May 19. There will be changes to the time and formation of some services, so passengers are advised to check their train times and to plan ahead for the changes.
The new timetable is now live on journey planning systems and can be found at www.westmidlandsrailway.co.uk or www.londonnorthwesternrailway.co.uk