New Year plans for SLUG

First published in Black Country News

A STOURBRIDGE rail passenger pressure group is busy getting its campaign agenda for 2014 on track.

A Saturday evening train direct from London Marylebone to Stourbridge, a new station building at Kidderminster and improved connections to and from the Stourbridge Town shuttle are among the group's aspirations for the New Year.

SLUG chairman Rob Hebron said "2013 was a year of achievement" for the group which tasted victory with the reintroduction of regular trains to Hartlebury - and it will now focus on trying to get evening and Sunday trains to call at Hartlebury.

Mr Hebron said: "We have set the stage for 2014.

"There is a long way to go but I believe SLUG can persuade train operators London Midland and Chiltern Railways to focus on Stourbridge line stations and improvements which can maximise patronage.

"The stakeholders are all travelling in the same direction and passengers are feeling the benefit of decisions taken on the advice of focus groups. However, there is a limit to what train operators can do without the support of the County Council Transport Departments and Network Rail.

"It comes down to who will fund infrastructure improvements. The Stourbridge line is still a relatively slow line for the length of its route. I believe a speedier end to end journey will attract even more customers."

Mr Hebron said the group "wholeheartedly applauds" projects in the pipeline to create more parking spaces at Stourbridge Junction and Rowley Regis, develop a new interchange for Cradley Heath and to refurbish Birmingham's Snow Hill station.

But he added: "At the same time as stations are being improved, transport integration is being destroyed by cuts to bus services and journey opportunities are being lost."

And he stressed it would be full steam ahead in 2014 as the group continues its mission to try and raise the standard of public transport.

To find out more about SLUG and its campaigns visit website http://www.stourbridgelineusergroup.info/

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