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Summer train strain

Posted on June 29 2014 at 10:52:33

New station takes shape

Villagers are bracing themselves for more disruption as the Alvechurch rail upgrade enters a critical phase.

The line will be closed for eight weeks between Barnt Green and Redditch from July 6 while a second track is laid.

A meeting called by Alvechurch Parish Council last month to allow villagers to question the rail companies involved in the work heard a team of managers from Network Rail and contractors Buckingham Group present detailed plans.

This included an extra session of piling, a particularly noisy operation, during June. This was scheduled to be done at night, but after suggestions from residents, was carried out during the daytime instead to cause less disruption.

Buckingham Group also agreed to keep the road over the railway open for the Alvechurch Open Gardens weekend in June so one of the feature gardens wouldn’t be cut off.

The work scheduled for the July-August “blockade” includes breaking foundations, replacing ballast, moving and relaying the existing line and laying a new line.
It follows a tight sequence and in all cases the work will start at the end north of Alvechurch and work through towards Weights Lane.

This way the noise impact would be got through as quickly as possible at the start of each operation. The most noisy work is likely to be at the start of week beginning July 7 during foundation breaking.

The work in week beginning July 12 would entail bleeping from reversing vehicles. The later weeks should be less noisy.

Karen Allington from London Midland explained the replacement bus service. Buses will alternate on the route from Longbridge to Redditch.  One will run direct from end to end, the other will stop at Alvechurch and Barnt Green.

A normal rail ticket could be used on any of them, and anyone picking up the bus in Alvechurch could choose to join the train at Barnt Green or Longbridge towards Birmingham.

The bus will stop in Alvechurch village as it is not possible to access the station with large enough buses. Bus stops will be at the usual service stops (Red Lion and outside the Dilshad restaurant) but marked as rail replacement stops.

During the blockade it was expected that people might choose to drive to Barnt Green, where they were considering a suspension of the parking charge for the duration, or to Longbridge.

Alvechurch Parish Council is to speak to Bromsgrove District Council about making the Social Club available for all-day parking in July and August. 

Many residents complained about the effects of the work. Inappropriate behaviour by workers was reported, along with many concerns about perpetual dirt and mud affecting cars and properties.

The overriding concern was over a lack of detailed communication, especially about exactly when sleep-disrupting noise would take place so people could make arrangements. Network Rail representatives undertook to try to improve communication.

Andy Humphries, chairman of the parish council, thanked them for coming and listening, and hoped residents would be kept well-informed of the details of further work. 

He thanked Network Rail for their recent help with a fallen tree and recognised that we should all benefit from improved rail services next year.

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