FARE HIKE: 2.5% increase in rail ticket prices

In this new year, rail passengers will pay 2.5 per cent more on tickets.
This includes regulated fares like season tickets, with average rise in fares of about 2.2 per cent.

fare hike During his visit today at the Birmingham New Street station, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

“The work at Birmingham New Street is truly impressive and will make a real difference to passengers when it completes later this year. As we invest in projects like this, it is important that we recognise passengers’ concerns about the cost of rail fares. This is why we have frozen them for the second year in a row.”

His visit today was followed by a major signalling problems at the New Street Station leading to disruption in services earlier this morning. Delays were seen till 3pm and some replacement services were provided earlier in the day.

However, passengers reported delays and other problems till late this afternoon.

Unions and passenger groups have protested the hikes, comparing them to a corresponding lack of rise in wages.

Campaign for Better Transport have this interactive Fare v Wage calculator on their website :

fares v wages

While this 2.2 per cent is the lowest increase in the last 5 years, they have said passengers will struggle to get to work without substantial increase in salaries.

West Midlands to get £85m to fix potholes

potholes

  Image by Alan Stanton

 

The West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority will get a total of £85,055,000 to tackle its potholes.

 In the West Midlands region, the funds include the following local authorities:

  1. Coventry
  2. Dudley
  3. Sandwell
  4. Solihul
  5. Walsall
  6. Wolverhampton.

This is a part of the total £6 billion funds of announced today by the Department for Transport (DfT) for improving local roads between 2015 to 2021. It aims to help English local authorities fix 18 million potholes with these funds.

Over £4.7bn will be shared between 115 councils, while a further £575m will be available through a challenge fund for maintaining infrastructure such as junctions, bridges and street lighting.

Birmingham City Council is not included for these funds as:

“highways maintenance for this authority is provided through a Highways Maintenance Private Finance Initiative “

An interactive map on the DfT website gives more details of funds in each region.

‘A go-anywhere transport system’, Birmingham Connected discussed at council meeting

by Ion Mates

Transport in Birmingham was the main issue in a meeting at Birmingham City Council.

Birmingham Connected was discussed recently by the Economy and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Anne Shaw, Head of Transportation Services, presented the progress.

More details on the scheme are available under the Birmingham Connected Whitepaper, outlining a 20 year transport strategy for the city.

The session continued with a private agenda.

This post was originally published on Birmingham Eastside.

 

2 Brum-London trains among top 10 most crowded

Two of the 10 most overcrowded trains in England and Wales are on the Birmingham New Street-London Euston lines.

The 20:17 and 20:03 trains were the most over crowded trains, spring 2013 data from the Department for Transport has revealed.

Main findings of the report for Birmingham said:

  • On an average 39,000 passengers arrive into Central Birmingham during the morning peak hours, the highest outside of London.
  • At the trains busiest points, 9.0% passengers were standing during the morning peak hours and 8.5% during the afternoon peak hours.

Passenger numbers have increased since 2012, when disruption of the London Midlands services had led to a reduced demand.

Rail passenger numbers and crowding on weekdays in England and Wales in 2013

Rail passenger numbers and crowding on weekdays in England and Wales in 2013. SOURCE: Department for Transport

AM peak arrivals is the number of passengers arriving into the city centre by national rail on a typical autumn weekday during the three hour morning peak (7 – 10am). 

Peak PiXC is the percentage of passengers in excess of capacity (PiXC) across the morning and evening peaks on a typical autumn weekday. It is the main measure of crowding in these statistics. A higher PiXCpercentage represents a worse crowding level.

#BrumTunnels reopen after 6 weeks

The A38 St Chad’s and Queensway tunnels reopened early morning after refurbishment works for 6 weeks over the summers.

Overnight closures will still be place for the rest of the month.

Works done this year

As explained by Alex Franklin, assistant project manager:

“This year’s work is more technically detailed from a mechanical and electrical point of view”

 

Ventilation

New ventilation systems and wayfarer signs (indicating emergency exit direction and distance). PHOTO CREDITS: @brumtunnels

Here’s a list of the works done this year

  • 27 PA speakers
  • 21 CCTV cameras
  • 32 vehicle detection cameras
  • 48 emergency phones
  • 4 digital variable message signs
  • Over 160 emergency way-finder signs
  • 7 controlled evacuation doors
  • Over 40 miles of electrical cabling needed to run the new systems

 More news on the tunnels elsewhere today:

More here on the tunnels from last summer.

Lorry accident in Brownhills in the 1970s – can anyone help?

brownhills logoReblogged from BrownhillBob’s Brownhills Blog.

For more on the ‘Life in the northern wastes of Walsall’, he’s on Twitter: @BrownhillsBob

Thankfully, serious accidents in Brownhills have been relatively infrequent, and so much so as to make them notable when they occur – which is why reader Brian Holmes has piqued my interest with this enquiry which reached me via Facebook this week.

Lorry accident in the 1970s

Traffic accidents are a sad fact of life – like this 1936 one, in which the driver had a lucky escape. Image from ‘Memories of Brownhills Past’ by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

Brian Holmes asks:

Hi Bob

My pal in Liverpool assures me that he was in a breakdown truck that came to recover a lorry that was imbedded in the side of a pub in Brownhills in either late 60s early 70s.

If he’s correct then it must have been reported in the local press, could someone tell me which local paper,  apart from the Express and Star, covered Brownhills?

Many thanks
Brian

First up, in answer to Brian, the papers that covered the area at the time were the Express & Star, Walsall Observer and Lichfield Mercury, although the last one is very patchy. The archives of the Walsall Observer are available for that period for free inspection on microfiche at Walsall Local History Centre in Essex Street.

Secondly, I can’t recall this incident, but one would imagine it to have occurred at a pub either close to the road or at a junction. Suggestions so far have been The Crown on the A5Station Hotel (which was in the High Street where Aldi is now) or The Sportsman. I’m having a job visualising it being the latter, but anything is possible I guess.

Does anyone have any recollection of this event? If so, please comment here or drop me a line to BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

£1.7M improvements at Acocks Green station nearing completion

Birmingham UpdatesThis is a reblogged post, originally written by Birmingham Updates.

For more updates on ‘News, Travel and Weather’, they are also at @BhamUpdates 

Work installing lifts in a £1.7 million improvement scheme at Acocks Green Station is nearing completion.

Acocks Green Station dates from the Edwardian-era and is one of the busiest rail station in the West Midlands, with 388,592 passenger journeys in 2012/13. However it has previously only had stairs to allow access to the platform from the street and booking hall.

The improvements involve installing lift access from the station booking office to the car park and platforms via a new footbridge spanning the tracks.

Acocks green station

The work is being delivered by Centro and part-funded by the Department for Transport as part of the Access for All scheme – Access for All is a Department for Transport strategy to improve the accessibility of the UK’s railway network.

Funding is granted to improve infrastructure at stations to allow access for anyone for whom stairs would be a barrier, including the disabled, parents with small children or people with heavy luggage.

The Department for Transport awarded £1 million of the total cost and the remainder is being funded by Centro.

Centro lead member for rail, Cllr Roger Horton said:

“This scheme is fantastic news for passengers, it means it will be much easier for people to go by train from Acocks Green.

A key feature is that we consulted with the local community about what we were doing and used that feedback to ensure the design of the new lift towers is in keeping with the rest of the building.”

The station, which has a free 132 space park and ride facility, is a key stop on the Birmingham Snow Hill to Leamington Spa line, an important commuter route that also serves Solihull.

Infrastructure Maintenance Delivery Manager for Network Rail, Mark Sturgess, said:

“These vital improvements to Acocks Green station will make life easier for everyone to use the train, especially those with heavy luggage or reduced mobility.

The new facilities at the station will play an important role in helping us to manage the individual needs of the increasing numbers of passengers who travel on the railway.”

Terry Oliver, head of Snow Hill services for train operator London Midland, added:

“We are delighted that accessibility is improving for passengers at Acocks Green station, thanks to the partnership between the Department for Transport and Centro.

It is one of the busiest suburban stations within the West Midlands, so this is a fantastic step forward for the hundreds of thousands of passengers that use the station each year.”

Work is due to be completed by the end of this summer.

(Image: Peter Sharples)

#Brumtunnels on A38 to reopen in 2 weeks

The second year of the refurbishment of the Queensway tunnels on the A38 are nearly done. The tunnels will reopen at 6am on September 1.

Major works being done this year include renewing the ventilation systems, installation of new security and communications systems.

The tunnels have been shut for these works since July 18 this year.

Last year the tunnels were shut for 6 weeks for upgradation of the LED lighting, fire protection and road resurfacing.

With the reopening just two weeks away, here are a few updates on the works so far:

To remind you about what happened in the tunnels last summer, you can read our older stories here and look at some pictures here, some videos here and our liveblogs about the traffic here.

Q&A:Safer Travel Police – queries, concerns over public transport

Birmingham Updates Birmingham Updates bring for us a Storify of the tweets from a live Q&A session with the Safer Travel Police –  a joint force team of the West Midlands Police and the British Transport Police.

Sgt Ben Westwood answered questions and concerns related to public via Facebook and Twitter: #TweetTheSarg

HS2: the Great Debate among approvers and critics

This year’s West Midlands Great Debate saw an almost total consensus among the audience over the realisation of the HS2 railway.

Majority of the people who took part in the event raised their hands when asked by debate chairman Evan Davis if they were in favour of the project.

But through the web and social media, against-HS2 campaign groups heavily criticised the event.

Panellists in favour of the realisation of the HS2 were Glenn Howells Architects’ Davinder Bansall, Birmingham City Council Leader Sir Albert Bore and music producer Pete Waterman.

While the opposition representatives were Campaign to Protect Rural England Chief Executive Shaun Spiers,  economist and entrepreneur Jerry Marshall, and First Class Partnership’s Chris Stokes.

The event was organised by Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and other professional institutes working in the built environment sector.

The project, which is planned to initially connect London Euston and Birmingham, has recently gone through the supervision of the Supreme Court due to alleged environmental impact assessment inaccuracies.
 

Watch the video of the debate or read the round-up below: