Renewed calls for new county railway station

CALLS are being made for train operator bosses to throw their weight behind a new railway station in Worcestershire.

Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff says Network Rail must believe in the Norton Parkway project for it to get off the ground.

The company recently announced £550 million of improvements to West Midlands railways, including new tracks and electrification to cope with soaring demand.

But the package included no mention of Norton Parkway, despite the facility being the best chance of the county getting access to more long-distance trains currently bypassing the area.

Mr Luff is going to write to the chairman of Network Rail, Richard Parry-Jones, in the hope it will be on the group’s radar.

He said: “The county council is very supportive of this, the Government is supportive, Wychavon District Council is backing it, so momentum is gathering.

“Network Rail is yet to be convinced, so this really is something we need to pursue because it needs their support.”

He said the likeliest solution at this stage would be some form of commercial development on the land, such as office space, which would include a station facility.

But even if such a scheme was brought forward with private sector money, it would still require Network Rail backing to become viable. It is also likely to require some public sector funding, although both Worcestershire County Council and the Department for Transport are backing it.

Worcester MP Robin Walker said: “Network Rail is the right place to go to get the lines laid, and they need to take the lead on this, so it is sensible to engage them on it.

“There is no doubt that a new Worcestershire parkway would be great for the county.”

Network Rail has announced a £37.5 billion national rail expansion, allowing trains to take an extra 225 million passengers a year between 2014 and 2019.

Of that investment £550m will improve West Midlands services, but Worcestershire will stay the same

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