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Rail works to hit West Midlands commuters after Easter

Work being carried out at Norton Bridge Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Coaches will be replacing trains between stations across the West Midlands, adding to journey times

Major rail works over Easter will continue to cause disruption to some commuters returning to work after the holidays, Network Rail has warned.

Work to replace a major junction between Birmingham and Wolverhampton will continue until Wednesday 30 March.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said engineers needed the extra days to complete the "big piece of work".

Rail journeys will increase by up to 30 minutes, while replacement coaches between the cities will take one hour.

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Easter rail passengers will also be affected by a £250m upgrade of the line between Stafford and Crewe.

A new flyover being built at Norton Bridge will "virtually complete" the upgrade and remove one of the last bottlenecks on the West Coast mainline, Network Rail said.

Image caption Replacement coach services from Wolverhampton to Birmingham New Street are expected to take an hour

"It is being carried out at time which will have the least impact on the economy and the travelling public," said a spokeswoman.

Passengers will see a "significantly reduced service" between New Street and Wolverhampton, with rail replacement coach services also running from stations between the two cities until 30 March.

Including all operators, there are up to 10 trains per hour each way on that stretch of line on weekdays, London Midland said.

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The disruption includes:

  • Some Cross Country services not calling at Wolverhampton on Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30. Journey times are unaffected
  • All London Midland services between New Street and Wolverhampton between 25 March and 30 March disrupted, with replacement coaches calling at local stations
  • Coaches between New Street and Wolverhampton to take one hour, compared to usual time train time of about 15 minutes
  • Reduced or disruption to Virgin Trains services between New Street and Wolverhampton over Easter Bank holiday weekend, but services between the two stations are unaffected on 29 and 30 March

'Ageing' network

Coach services will run between Crewe and Stafford and between Stoke-on-Trent, Stone and Stafford over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Network Rail said much of its work was carried out at night or during holiday periods when fewer people were travelling

Travellers have been advised to check before setting out on their journeys.

Network Rail said the work was part of its "biggest ever Easter investment programme", which will provide passengers with a better and more reliable railway.

Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce said it was "quite understanding" about the need for the work, despite the impact on commuters.

Chamber spokesman John Lamb said Network Rail was dealing with a "very ageing" rail network.

"It is better that the work should be done near Easter when some people are still on holiday. It also shows the need for extra rail capacity, not only in this region, but in the country," he said.

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