Council releases update about Worcestershire Parkway as opening date remains unconfirmed

Worcestershire County Council has released a statement with regards to the new railway station at Worcestershire Parkway. The station was expected to open in January following its postponement in December.

Station construction is complete. We are nearing the conclusion of the rail industry standard, rigorous “Entry into Service” process where all the new equipment and facilities are being been tested and commissioned and final sign off for the station to become operational is given. We will confirm the station opening date as soon as we can.

The below is a letter that Cllr Ken Pollock, our Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure, wrote to the local paper on 28th January 2020:

SIR- Worcestershire Parkway is the first new station to be built in Worcestershire for over 100 years and will transform rail travel for the county.

The journey to opening the station has been complex; from purchasing the land to tackling flooding, reconstructing a 300 metre railway embankment, protecting a range of habitats, installing a road traffic roundabout, installing new pedestrian and cycling access, including a new bridge, new utility supplies, constructing three new 265 metre long platform and 500 space car park, having new timetables approved by the DfT and agreeing an innovative funding mechanism with the rail industry.

We are nearing the end of the rail industry’s rigorous “Entry into Service” process so we’re hoping to confirm an opening date for the station soon. Services to London Paddington and those between Cardiff and Nottingham will start to call at the station from the day it opens, we will not have to wait until the next timetable change in May as incorrectly suggested by Mr Morgan in his letter on the 27th January.

And as for wider infrastructure projects, we’re investing in, and delivering more successful schemes now than we have for the last three decades….

There has been some confusion about the services available at launch because of the methods used to suppress calls in the railway timetabling and ticketing systems. The council has confirmed that all services that were expected to launch in December will call from the opening date.

Please note that timetables have to be agreed months if not years in advance of a new station opening in order to demonstrate that services can call there without having an unacceptable impact elsewhere on the network. New timetables are published in December and May each year. All of the services that will call at Worcestershire Parkway are included in the December 2019 timetable and will begin stopping there as soon as the Entry into Service (EIS) process is completed and the station is open. Because services are not calling there at the moment, the train operating companies sometimes (to use the rail industry jargon) “suppress” (hide) that part of the December timetable so that passengers are aware those services are not currently calling. As soon as EIS is completed and the station opening date is announced, the timetable will become visible again. The May 2020 timetable is visible in some places and shows services calling at Worcestershire Parkway because the station is expected to be open before that date.

Source: Worcestershire County Council

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