New parkway rail station is now 'closer than ever'

Worcestershire Parkway hopes, in Norton, are growing

Worcestershire Parkway hopes, in Norton, are growing

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards Exclusive by , Political Reporter

WORCESTERSHIRE is closer than ever to getting a new parkway railway station, the county council has insisted.

Peter Blake, head of integrated transport at the council, says he has a "far higher degree of confidence than ever before" that the long-awaited Norton station will get the nod.

As your Worcester News revealed in April, a £7.5 million bid has been made by Worcestershire's Local Enterprise to the Government to get it off the ground.

The council wants to get it started within two years, with the overall cost estimated at £17.1 million.

Mr Blake, speaking during a meeting of the economy, environment and communities scrutiny panel meeting at County Hall, said: "Worcestershire Parkway is an incredibly important scheme, it would serve the south and east of the county.

"A few years ago we went back to the drawing board and said 'we'll do what the railway industry would do to develop this scheme'.

"We are using the same consultants they would use, talking the same language they would use, and as a result of that Network Rail is now on board with what we're trying to do.

"We've now got a far higher degree of confidence than we've ever had before that it will be delivered, but we need that (Government funds) leverage to get it done."

During the meeting councillors said they were getting inpatient over railway investment.

Councillor Paul Tuthill said: "Despite Network Rail spending £80 million on the Oxford line they are not planning to dual track the line to the Cotswolds, which is astonishing when you look at the money they are spending."

Mr Blake said: "What our work on parkway has shown is that if Network Rail won't pick up the baton, we've got to do it for them and provide a business case - we've done that and the figures show that this would work."

Councillor Simon Geraghty, deputy leader and the cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, said: "This really is the flagship project and it's time to move it forward.

"Frankly, parkway's time has come."

The money would pay for a station facility, booking office, 500 parking spaces, toilets, cycle parking and a bus service ‘drop and collect’ service.

If successful, it would mean Worcestershire can tap into more direct services to London, the South West, South Wales, Birmingham and beyond.

Transport chiefs also say it would allow the county to access many long distance cross country trains currently bypassing Worcestershire.

The council made a bid for £7 million bid to the Government for it back in February, but it was rejected.

Comments (12)

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4:29pm Mon 19 May 14

skychip says...

Would be lovely to have but how many years has this been talked about.
Would be lovely to have but how many years has this been talked about. skychip
  • Score: 1

4:56pm Mon 19 May 14

CJH says...

skychip wrote:
Would be lovely to have but how many years has this been talked about.
I'm sure there will be another 'artists impression' along any time soon...
[quote][p][bold]skychip[/bold] wrote: Would be lovely to have but how many years has this been talked about.[/p][/quote]I'm sure there will be another 'artists impression' along any time soon... CJH
  • Score: 8

7:25pm Mon 19 May 14

Landy44 says...

Twenty years ago this would have been worth doing provided the dual track was reinstated. Sadly the opportunity has been missed here.
Twenty years ago this would have been worth doing provided the dual track was reinstated. Sadly the opportunity has been missed here. Landy44
  • Score: 0

10:03pm Mon 19 May 14

F1 Dave says...

Well done Mr Blake, "We are using the same consultants they would use, talking the same language they would use"
I think you will find that you didn't have to go far to find your consultants did you. They are the councils Highway consultants (old Halcrow at the top of London Road)
Yep the same consultants that did the Whittington roundabout, and the new Ketch roundabout, new car park at County hall in fact all the Highway projects.
They also know how to spend fee's so lets hope there is some money left to Build the Parkway, I wont hold my breath.
Well done Mr Blake, "We are using the same consultants they would use, talking the same language they would use" I think you will find that you didn't have to go far to find your consultants did you. They are the councils Highway consultants (old Halcrow at the top of London Road) Yep the same consultants that did the Whittington roundabout, and the new Ketch roundabout, new car park at County hall in fact all the Highway projects. They also know how to spend fee's so lets hope there is some money left to Build the Parkway, I wont hold my breath. F1 Dave
  • Score: 8

8:37am Tue 20 May 14

WJS1950 says...

The concept of parkway stations are fine if they have been thought out properly, but this one at Norton hasn't.

Firstly, there will be no benefit for residents in Worcester whatsoever because First Great Western services will continue to serve Worcester's 2 stations which are easier to access for the majority of residents in and around the city. These services also serve Pershore and Evesham, so the parkway station won't change where people from these towns board trains. And First Great Western serves the Malvern stations too.

Secondly, because of its locality, travelling to the station by car will almost be a necessity. This is not necessarily the case with the existing stations in Worcester, which are not only served by regular buses, but within relatively easy walking distance too for many people.

Thirdly, one of the main reasons for this parkway's forthcoming existence is to allow Worcester to be served by cross country inter city trains which currently bypass the city (in fact Worcestershire is the only county in Britain where cross country services pass through but don't stop). Arriva Cross Country's reason for not stopping in Worcester is because of the extended journey times due to slow line speeds between Norton and Stoke Prior junctions and Worcester. However, when the parkway station opens, these cross country trains won't stop there. So at the moment, if you want to get a cross country train, you need to get a connecting train from one of the existing Worcester stations to Birmingham or Cheltenham anyway.

So, there you have it. A multi-million pound station which will have extremely little benefit for residents in Worcestershire. It will only act in the way parkway stations are designed to work, encourage people from major roads and nearby motorways to drive there and catch the train, but the majority of these drivers won't live in Worcester.

If the council is adamant in using some of their precious funds for trains, then they should invest that money in bringing line speeds between Norton and Stoke Prior junctions and Worcester up to scratch, as well as encourage Arriva Cross Country to call at Worcester itself where there will there be greater benefits for residents and the local economy. The council's budget must be used to benefit Worcestershire residents first.

Is it any wonder why the council is viewed with total disdain and seen as incompetent.
The concept of parkway stations are fine if they have been thought out properly, but this one at Norton hasn't. Firstly, there will be no benefit for residents in Worcester whatsoever because First Great Western services will continue to serve Worcester's 2 stations which are easier to access for the majority of residents in and around the city. These services also serve Pershore and Evesham, so the parkway station won't change where people from these towns board trains. And First Great Western serves the Malvern stations too. Secondly, because of its locality, travelling to the station by car will almost be a necessity. This is not necessarily the case with the existing stations in Worcester, which are not only served by regular buses, but within relatively easy walking distance too for many people. Thirdly, one of the main reasons for this parkway's forthcoming existence is to allow Worcester to be served by cross country inter city trains which currently bypass the city (in fact Worcestershire is the only county in Britain where cross country services pass through but don't stop). Arriva Cross Country's reason for not stopping in Worcester is because of the extended journey times due to slow line speeds between Norton and Stoke Prior junctions and Worcester. However, when the parkway station opens, these cross country trains won't stop there. So at the moment, if you want to get a cross country train, you need to get a connecting train from one of the existing Worcester stations to Birmingham or Cheltenham anyway. So, there you have it. A multi-million pound station which will have extremely little benefit for residents in Worcestershire. It will only act in the way parkway stations are designed to work, encourage people from major roads and nearby motorways to drive there and catch the train, but the majority of these drivers won't live in Worcester. If the council is adamant in using some of their precious funds for trains, then they should invest that money in bringing line speeds between Norton and Stoke Prior junctions and Worcester up to scratch, as well as encourage Arriva Cross Country to call at Worcester itself where there will there be greater benefits for residents and the local economy. The council's budget must be used to benefit Worcestershire residents first. Is it any wonder why the council is viewed with total disdain and seen as incompetent. WJS1950
  • Score: 4

9:38am Tue 20 May 14

MJI says...

Since when did 3rd rail electrification reach Worcester?
Since when did 3rd rail electrification reach Worcester? MJI
  • Score: 9

10:43am Tue 20 May 14

thesquirrel says...

WJS1950 makes a good point that has made me think again about the proposed Parkway. However, my understanding is that Shrub Hill would be closed if the Parkway is built. Is this no longer the case?

I expect most passengers will, like me, be travelling to London. I guess the hope is that the remaining parts of the North Cotswold line will be dual tracked (and electrified) if the Parkway is built.

More likely though is I'll drive to the Parkway to catch a train to New Street (assume it will be non-stop and take 15-20 mins) and then get the Virgin train to Euston (or hopefully HS2).
WJS1950 makes a good point that has made me think again about the proposed Parkway. However, my understanding is that Shrub Hill would be closed if the Parkway is built. Is this no longer the case? I expect most passengers will, like me, be travelling to London. I guess the hope is that the remaining parts of the North Cotswold line will be dual tracked (and electrified) if the Parkway is built. More likely though is I'll drive to the Parkway to catch a train to New Street (assume it will be non-stop and take 15-20 mins) and then get the Virgin train to Euston (or hopefully HS2). thesquirrel
  • Score: 6

12:43pm Tue 20 May 14

MikeA says...

The fundamental problem with this proposed project is Mr Peter Blake.

He cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

Mr Peter Blake and his team have been false and misleading to the residents of St. Peter’s and excluded them from the 2011 consultation process regarding the Ketch roundabout redevelopment.

His team provided “encouraging comments” to Councillor Roger Knight (Parish NewsLink September 2012) that simply could not have been true given the 2011 Outline Design and submitted costs.

The riverside bollard LED lights are against explicit advice from the European National Manufactures Association and present a real risk to the eyesight of small children.

Public Health England (the former HPA) accepted my “interpretation of the technical data about the potential risk” but have not directed the County Council to take any appropriate measures.

It is clear from the documentation that I have from Mr Peter Blake that he has little integrity.

Any statements from Mr Peter Blake should not be trusted.

As he cannot be trusted to ensure safety for the eyesight of small children, any claims from him regarding business cases must be regarded with great suspicion and validated by independent consultants not controlled by him.
The fundamental problem with this proposed project is Mr Peter Blake. He cannot be trusted to tell the truth. Mr Peter Blake and his team have been false and misleading to the residents of St. Peter’s and excluded them from the 2011 consultation process regarding the Ketch roundabout redevelopment. His team provided “encouraging comments” to Councillor Roger Knight (Parish NewsLink September 2012) that simply could not have been true given the 2011 Outline Design and submitted costs. The riverside bollard LED lights are against explicit advice from the European National Manufactures Association and present a real risk to the eyesight of small children. Public Health England (the former HPA) accepted my “interpretation of the technical data about the potential risk” but have not directed the County Council to take any appropriate measures. It is clear from the documentation that I have from Mr Peter Blake that he has little integrity. Any statements from Mr Peter Blake should not be trusted. As he cannot be trusted to ensure safety for the eyesight of small children, any claims from him regarding business cases must be regarded with great suspicion and validated by independent consultants not controlled by him. MikeA
  • Score: 2

12:54pm Tue 20 May 14

green49 says...

The whole Parkway idea ? how many passengers do you think will be using it? does it warrant what its cost is forecast at? we all know that that will go out the window IF it ever gets off the ground
WJS1950 is right,,,,,,,,,Firstl
y, there will be no benefit for residents in Worcester whatsoever because First Great Western services will continue to serve Worcester's 2 stations which are easier to access for the majority of residents in and around the city. These services also serve Pershore and Evesham, so the parkway station won't change where people from these towns board trains. And First Great Western serves the Malvern stations too.

This has been talked and talked and talked about so many times, its just doing the same again and also Mr Gerathy supports it so its got to be right???????????? if he is it will be a FIRST.
The whole Parkway idea ? how many passengers do you think will be using it? does it warrant what its cost is forecast at? we all know that that will go out the window IF it ever gets off the ground WJS1950 is right,,,,,,,,,Firstl y, there will be no benefit for residents in Worcester whatsoever because First Great Western services will continue to serve Worcester's 2 stations which are easier to access for the majority of residents in and around the city. These services also serve Pershore and Evesham, so the parkway station won't change where people from these towns board trains. And First Great Western serves the Malvern stations too. This has been talked and talked and talked about so many times, its just doing the same again and also Mr Gerathy supports it so its got to be right???????????? if he is it will be a FIRST. green49
  • Score: 4

7:45pm Tue 20 May 14

Worcester Matt says...

I work for Cross Country Trains and work very closely with those in the Train Planning department. From the conversations I’ve had, there does appear to be time in the current timetable to stop ALL Nottingham to Cardiff services at a Worcester Parkway station, as well as some of the longer distance voyager services on the Plymouth/Bristol to Manchester/Scotland route.

It is also worth noting that First Great Western’s Cotswold line services will stop at a new Worcestershire Parkway station, AS WELL as serving Foregate Street and Shrub Hill (if it remains open).

A station at Norton would also give those passengers on the Cotswold line an easy connection to the Cross Country network, whereas with the current set up someone travelling from say, Evesham to Derby would have to change at Worcester and Birmingham.

As someone who lives in Worcester and works in Birmingham, I would use this station all the time as the journey time to get to Birmingham New Street would be less than 30 minutes (as would many of my Worcester colleagues who currently usually drive to Birmingham).
I work for Cross Country Trains and work very closely with those in the Train Planning department. From the conversations I’ve had, there does appear to be time in the current timetable to stop ALL Nottingham to Cardiff services at a Worcester Parkway station, as well as some of the longer distance voyager services on the Plymouth/Bristol to Manchester/Scotland route. It is also worth noting that First Great Western’s Cotswold line services will stop at a new Worcestershire Parkway station, AS WELL as serving Foregate Street and Shrub Hill (if it remains open). A station at Norton would also give those passengers on the Cotswold line an easy connection to the Cross Country network, whereas with the current set up someone travelling from say, Evesham to Derby would have to change at Worcester and Birmingham. As someone who lives in Worcester and works in Birmingham, I would use this station all the time as the journey time to get to Birmingham New Street would be less than 30 minutes (as would many of my Worcester colleagues who currently usually drive to Birmingham). Worcester Matt
  • Score: 12

9:04am Thu 29 May 14

WorcesterBoy2000 says...

WJS1950 wrote:
The concept of parkway stations are fine if they have been thought out properly, but this one at Norton hasn't.

Firstly, there will be no benefit for residents in Worcester whatsoever because First Great Western services will continue to serve Worcester's 2 stations which are easier to access for the majority of residents in and around the city. These services also serve Pershore and Evesham, so the parkway station won't change where people from these towns board trains. And First Great Western serves the Malvern stations too.

Secondly, because of its locality, travelling to the station by car will almost be a necessity. This is not necessarily the case with the existing stations in Worcester, which are not only served by regular buses, but within relatively easy walking distance too for many people.

Thirdly, one of the main reasons for this parkway's forthcoming existence is to allow Worcester to be served by cross country inter city trains which currently bypass the city (in fact Worcestershire is the only county in Britain where cross country services pass through but don't stop). Arriva Cross Country's reason for not stopping in Worcester is because of the extended journey times due to slow line speeds between Norton and Stoke Prior junctions and Worcester. However, when the parkway station opens, these cross country trains won't stop there. So at the moment, if you want to get a cross country train, you need to get a connecting train from one of the existing Worcester stations to Birmingham or Cheltenham anyway.

So, there you have it. A multi-million pound station which will have extremely little benefit for residents in Worcestershire. It will only act in the way parkway stations are designed to work, encourage people from major roads and nearby motorways to drive there and catch the train, but the majority of these drivers won't live in Worcester.

If the council is adamant in using some of their precious funds for trains, then they should invest that money in bringing line speeds between Norton and Stoke Prior junctions and Worcester up to scratch, as well as encourage Arriva Cross Country to call at Worcester itself where there will there be greater benefits for residents and the local economy. The council's budget must be used to benefit Worcestershire residents first.

Is it any wonder why the council is viewed with total disdain and seen as incompetent.
First Great Western Services would stop here because Shrub Hill would undoubtedly close. Cross Country trains would stop at the station from day 1, so I don't know why your saying they wouldn't stop because Cross Country would want the station to make money, why would they own a station and not have any trains stopping there? and the benefit to Worcester of the Cross Country trains are the long distance train journeys to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Cardiff, Penzance, London (& more). And encouraging Arriva Cross Country to call at Worcester will be far more difficult. Remember there will be 3 or 4 platforms at Worcester Parkway for First Great Westerm and Cross Country Trains.You said Worcester's 2 other stations are easier to access for the majority of residents than Worcester Parkway, but this is not true because Worcester Council have set aside £3 million for Park & Ride services. And hopefully platform 4 will hopefully be set up as a shuttle train stop for trains from Worcester Parkway to Worcester Foregate Street (or vice versa), this will make Worcester Parkway very accessible and the services from Worcester Parkway to places would make Worcester one of the best connected cities in the Country.
[quote][p][bold]WJS1950[/bold] wrote: The concept of parkway stations are fine if they have been thought out properly, but this one at Norton hasn't. Firstly, there will be no benefit for residents in Worcester whatsoever because First Great Western services will continue to serve Worcester's 2 stations which are easier to access for the majority of residents in and around the city. These services also serve Pershore and Evesham, so the parkway station won't change where people from these towns board trains. And First Great Western serves the Malvern stations too. Secondly, because of its locality, travelling to the station by car will almost be a necessity. This is not necessarily the case with the existing stations in Worcester, which are not only served by regular buses, but within relatively easy walking distance too for many people. Thirdly, one of the main reasons for this parkway's forthcoming existence is to allow Worcester to be served by cross country inter city trains which currently bypass the city (in fact Worcestershire is the only county in Britain where cross country services pass through but don't stop). Arriva Cross Country's reason for not stopping in Worcester is because of the extended journey times due to slow line speeds between Norton and Stoke Prior junctions and Worcester. However, when the parkway station opens, these cross country trains won't stop there. So at the moment, if you want to get a cross country train, you need to get a connecting train from one of the existing Worcester stations to Birmingham or Cheltenham anyway. So, there you have it. A multi-million pound station which will have extremely little benefit for residents in Worcestershire. It will only act in the way parkway stations are designed to work, encourage people from major roads and nearby motorways to drive there and catch the train, but the majority of these drivers won't live in Worcester. If the council is adamant in using some of their precious funds for trains, then they should invest that money in bringing line speeds between Norton and Stoke Prior junctions and Worcester up to scratch, as well as encourage Arriva Cross Country to call at Worcester itself where there will there be greater benefits for residents and the local economy. The council's budget must be used to benefit Worcestershire residents first. Is it any wonder why the council is viewed with total disdain and seen as incompetent.[/p][/quote]First Great Western Services would stop here because Shrub Hill would undoubtedly close. Cross Country trains would stop at the station from day 1, so I don't know why your saying they wouldn't stop because Cross Country would want the station to make money, why would they own a station and not have any trains stopping there? and the benefit to Worcester of the Cross Country trains are the long distance train journeys to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Cardiff, Penzance, London (& more). And encouraging Arriva Cross Country to call at Worcester will be far more difficult. Remember there will be 3 or 4 platforms at Worcester Parkway for First Great Westerm and Cross Country Trains.You said Worcester's 2 other stations are easier to access for the majority of residents than Worcester Parkway, but this is not true because Worcester Council have set aside £3 million for Park & Ride services. And hopefully platform 4 will hopefully be set up as a shuttle train stop for trains from Worcester Parkway to Worcester Foregate Street (or vice versa), this will make Worcester Parkway very accessible and the services from Worcester Parkway to places would make Worcester one of the best connected cities in the Country. WorcesterBoy2000
  • Score: 0

10:52am Thu 29 May 14

WorcesterBoy2000 says...

This would be a fantastic addition to the Worcester Transport System and a huge boost to the economy. I personally think that with the development of Worcester Parkway a huge development of houses (like Warndon Villages) will pop up like a second town, creating a Worcester as a suburb of Birmingham and with Worcester then having a much larger population will warrant even more services such as leisure activities not just transport services. Think of the benefits having 3 trains to Birmingham every hour and being able to get there in 25 mins with more coaches per train than the average 2 coaches from WOF at the moment every hour. Another benefit will be the quick connections to London when HS2 is complete, with that being 45 mins from Birmingham to London and 25 mins from Worcester to Birmingham would mean it would take 1hr 10 mins compared to the 2hr 30min journey currently. That would mean there would be 2 direct services to London (via Stroud and Evesham) and one with a change at birmingham for HS2.
This would be a fantastic addition to the Worcester Transport System and a huge boost to the economy. I personally think that with the development of Worcester Parkway a huge development of houses (like Warndon Villages) will pop up like a second town, creating a Worcester as a suburb of Birmingham and with Worcester then having a much larger population will warrant even more services such as leisure activities not just transport services. Think of the benefits having 3 trains to Birmingham every hour and being able to get there in 25 mins with more coaches per train than the average 2 coaches from WOF at the moment every hour. Another benefit will be the quick connections to London when HS2 is complete, with that being 45 mins from Birmingham to London and 25 mins from Worcester to Birmingham would mean it would take 1hr 10 mins compared to the 2hr 30min journey currently. That would mean there would be 2 direct services to London (via Stroud and Evesham) and one with a change at birmingham for HS2. WorcesterBoy2000
  • Score: 0

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