Valerie unveils plaque for electrification of Chase Line

After many years of work, the electrification of the Chase Line is finally complete. I unveiled a plaque on Friday 10 May 2019 at a cross-party event with the Railways Minister, Andrew Jones MP, and Amanda Milling, the MP for Cannock Chase.

An increasing number of passengers use the Chase line services each year, and these major improvement works were required to accommodate this growth.  Network Rail invested over £100m into electrifying and upgrading the line between Walsall and Rugeley, so that a faster and more frequent service can run.

Electric trains are quieter, faster and more environmentally friendly. They can also carry more passengers than the diesel trains that are currently used. The combination of these benefits will allow a more frequent service to run on this line, reducing journey times between Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

For many years I have been campaigning to get this portion of railway electrified, and in June 2012 intervened in former MP for Cannock Chase Aidan Burley’s debate in the Commons on the matter, saying “this subject is very important for our constituents. I am pleased that Walsall is not being ignored, because it usually is.”

More recently, in 2016, when the works were well underway, I visited the site on Park Street in the Town Centre where Network Rail was replacing the railway bridge in order to create room for equipment needed for the electrification of the Chase Line. A total of six bridges had to be raised to make room for the electric wires.

The opening of the new line is a long overdue step forward for the local transport network, and I am pleased about benefits it will bring constituents following six years of work.