Four Oaks Neighbourhood Forum

A Meeting of the forum was held on October 11th to inform us on developments in local rail services.

Principal speakers were Malcolm Holmes, executive director  of West Midlands Rail
and Richard Brooks, Director of West Midland Trains Customer Services.
Attended by approximately 25 residents/interested parties.

The Sutton Park rail line for passenger traffic:-
Not expected to be opened for 20 years. Line capacity at Water Orton is the primary cause for line not opening earlier.
One suggestion (from T. Whitehead of  Ecosutton) was that rail access and parking from the Walmley and Langley housing development should be included at an early planning stage. M. Holmes noted this proposal. Four Oaks station has ‘disabled’ parking but also needs a passenger lift across the platforms.

Use of Walsall line to Camphill station as transfer enroute point for traffic through Birmingham.

Sutton bus train transport interchange.
This is currently Brassington avenue or opposite The Station pub.  CHAIRMAN noted that a neighbourhood plan would be highly beneficial in deciding location.

Money is available for HS2 project to enable simpler access for all areas within 45 minutes of Terminal.

Connectivity and Sprint bus system for Langley.
Considerable emphasis to be laid on the system, priority through pinch points, improved shelters and time displays. Consultation has been extended but is closing soon.
Comment from the floor was that the Sprint system had been tried in Castle Vale and abandoned within two years. It was suggested that rail transport would be greener than sprint.  Chairman agreed.

Parking /Access.
Four Oaks station is popular because trains run every 10 minutes and within the cheaper fare zone.
A suggestion from the floor that a Lichfield Parkway station be created, was noted. It would relieve congestion at the Four Oaks carpark.
No extension of parking in Sutton Area is planned, because too little space is available around the stations.
Noted that there are 39000 spaces in West Mids used by a significant portion of cars from homes within 1 mile of stations. Hope to alter habit towards cycling and walking.

West Midlands travel.
Now under single regional control which should enable coordinated bus -rail timetabling. greater capacity and later running.
The population is expected to expand by the same amount as Liverpool (550,000)

Train timetabling.
Changes to timetabling in May 2019, includes late evening and weekend timetable.

Rail Franchise change to West Midlands Trains.
Investment in new trains has gone ahead and a more unified brand is proposed. Looking to increase local participation with stations, involving feedback and creation of services such as ‘corner’ shops..

West Midlands Area Priority.
HS2 and the Commonwealth Games are top priorities for investment and  funding.

This was an informative and encouraging meeting with some good points made both from the floor and from the chair.
D. Ratcliff  and T. Whithead.

2 thoughts on “Four Oaks Neighbourhood Forum”

  1. “The Sutton Park rail line for passenger traffic:-
    Not expected to be opened for 20 years. Line capacity at Water Orton is the primary cause for line not opening earlier.”
    If they are well able to sort out the extra capacity at Water Orton in 20 years time, why can they not do it now? Relieving road and railway congestion is more urgent – and NOW – than giving us highly expensive, high impact, highly dubious vanity projects like HS2, Metro and Sprint.

    The whole Sutton Line from Wolverhampton, Walsall to Brum should be reopened in one go to ensure profitability and to ease congestion and air pollution, now. Together with the 120 Kms Black Country Mainline Railway “of national strategic significance” (letter to self dated 8 March from DfT, quoting Network Rail) for regional and commuter trains and never for trams or tram trains or train trams! We won over stopping the trams going on the Camp Hill Line. We won over trains for the Black Country Railway from Stourbridge Jct to Canal Street tram stop.

    I would like many more people to join me in asking for the abandonment of Metro, Sprint and CAZ and for all those monies to go into scrapping bus fares to entice car commuters to leave their cars at home to free up road space for essential users of vehicles. There needs to be a sea change in attitudes, as there has been over smoking in buildings. There would still be millions of pounds left to bring in electric buses for the ‘if you can’t bike it, bus it brigade’. Further:

    Every nearside lane of dual carriageways should be a bus lane and traffic light priority for buses are also essential.

    No more digging up of roads for tram lines. Always, in working hours, jumping on the fareless electric bus to get into the city or town centres.

    No guided busways, either!

    No more prestigious vanity projects like Metro and Sprint. Both are a complete waste of money and a shocking misuse of taxpayers’ money.

    1. Thanks Tim for this. Your info had already been passed on to me by Colin Marriot.
      So sorry for the delay in acknowledging your useful comment. Stay in touch! All best. Peter Cooke

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