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.
Notes to editors
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About West Midlands Trains
West Midlands Trains Ltd. will be running the West Midlands rail franchise from 10 December 2017 until 2025/6. Abellio has a 70.1% share of the company, East Japan Railway Company (JRE) and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (Mitsui) own the remaining 29.9% in a 50:50 split.
Abellio is the international passenger transport subsidiary of the Dutch national railway company, Nederlandse Spoorwegen. Every day our people provide rail, bus and tram services to 1.7m customers across the UK, Germany and in the Netherlands. In the UK we operate buses through Abellio London, as well as ScotRail and Greater Anglia train services, and Merseyrail in a joint venture with Serco. In Germany we operate Abellio Deutschland, serving communities in North Rhine Westfalia, Saxony, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Hesse and Thuringia. Our role in transport extends beyond the journey from a-to-b. With our international heritage and our policy of sharing best practice, not just amongst ourselves, but across the wider transport industry, we provide thought leadership and truly innovative ideas which make a positive contribution to the communities we serve. For more information on Abellio visit www.abellio.com
Mitsui is one of the most diversified and comprehensive trading, investment and service enterprises in the world with 139 offices in 66 countries as of March, 2017. Utilising our global operating locations, network and information resources, we are multilaterally pursuing business that ranges from product sales, worldwide logistics and financing, through to the development of major international infrastructure and other projects in the following fields: Iron & Steel Products, Mineral & Metal Resources, Infrastructure Projects, Integrated Transportation Systems, Chemicals, Energy, Food Resources, Food Products & Services, Consumer Services, IT & Communication, and Corporate Development Business. Mitsui is actively taking on challenges for global business innovation around the world. For more information, visit www.mitsui.com.
About JR East
East Japan Railway Company (JR East) was established in 1987, when Japanese National Railways was divided as part of a package of railway reforms. JR East’s railway business covers a 7,500 km (approx. 4,660 miles) network in the eastern part of the Japanese main island, including Tokyo Metropolitan area, and provides transportation services, comprising urban, suburban and high speed operations, for 17 million passengers on a daily basis. JR East also undertakes non‐transport commercial activities, which account for more than 30% of the total revenue of JR East Group. JR East contributes to passengers and communities it serves by delivering high degrees of punctuality, reliability and comfort and also continues to pursue higher levels of safety and service quality through technical innovation. For more information, visit www.jreast.co.jp/e.