New station proposed for National Arboretum

IT has been revealed that a new station is being proposed at Alrewas between Lichfield Trent Valley high level and Wichnor Junction, on the line linking Tamworth and Burton-on-Trent. The original station serving the village of Alrewas was closed in 1965, although the line remained open.

A new Alrewas station would serve the National Memorial Arboretum, which is visited by more than 300,000 people a year and stages 250 events, including services of remembrance. It includes a Railway Industry Memorial, which was unveiled in May 2012, and also a memorial commemorating the thousands of prisoners of war who were forced to work on the infamous Burma Railway in the Second World War.

Talks took place between the MP for Lichfield Michael Fabricant and new rail minister Wendy Morton at the end of last week. The executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive Malcolm Holmes joined the discussion, along with the managing director of the National Memorial Arboretum, Philippa Rawlinson, who said: ‘Every year we are proud to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors from the Midlands, other UK regions and further afield, all of them eager to pay tribute to members of the Armed Forces, emergency services and voluntary groups.’

Mr Holmes said: ‘There is a very strong case to open this line, not least for the thousands of visitors who go to the National Memorial Arboretum every week. We at WMRE are developing a plan through which we could establish a basic service relatively quickly and scale up over time.’

Wendy Morton said: ‘It’s been great to be hear and study this proposal in detail. Clearly it has a huge amount of support not only from Michael Fabricant, but other MPs in the area, the National Memorial Arboretum, the County, the Parish of Alrewas and the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street as it will link with the Cross-City line into Birmingham and beyond. Today’s visit has put this scheme very much on my radar for the future.’

Michael Fabricant added: ‘I was delighted that Wendy was able to accept my invitation to see the scheme. For relatively little cost, the existing line and signalling can be upgraded to provide a regular passenger service which means that the 500,000 or so visitors expected each year at the Arboretum will be able to access it by public transport from anywhere in the UK and relieve pressure on the road system.’