I am pleased to receive a reply back from Andy Street, Mayor for West Midlands in relation to improvements to the rail line infrastructure which I would like to share with my constituents:
Thank you for your letter of 13th December 2023 regarding improvements to the Shrewsbury - Wolverhampton rail line. The West Midlands Rail Executive of which I am Chair, is working closely on this with Midlands Connect and we support the proposal to reduce journey times and ultimately electrify the Shrewsbury – Wolverhampton line.
The electrification of the Shrewsbury - Wolverhampton route also features in our recently published West Midlands Rail Investment Strategy, although I must acknowledge that the electrification of the intensively used Birmingham Snow Hill lines commuter network remains the top WMCA priority from a performance, decarbonisation and city centre air quality perspective.
However, I am pleased to confirm that there are a number of significant shorter term improvements to Shrewsbury – Wolverhampton/Birmingham/London train services already being implemented Firstly, the rollout of West Midlands Trains new fleet of Class 196 trains on the Birmingham - Shrewsbury route is now complete and is already delivering improved passenger comfort and significantly reduced emissions compared to the older diesel trains which have been replaced. Transport for Wales is also replacing its aging British Rail era diesel trains with similar new Class 197 trains on a number of services from Shrewsbury and on the Shrewsbury – London route, Avanti West Coast is introducing a new fleet of bi-mode express trains this year, which will be capable of electric operation between Wolverhampton and London Euston.
As well as the introduction of new train fleets on all Shrewsbury to Birmingham services, the West Midlands Rail Executive has been working closely with West Midlands Trains and the Department for Transport to restore a second West Midlands Railway train per hour between Shrewsbury and Birmingham from June 2024. In conjunction with the existing Transport for Wales service, this will provide a more even spaced two semi-fast trains per hour timetable as well as additional capacity on the Shrewsbury – Birmingham route.
Andy Street - Mayor of the West Midlands