More than 540,000 journeys have been made from Worcestershire Parkway Railway Station in the space of 12 months – exceeding all expectations.
Parkway opened in February 2020 and is already performing way ahead of schedule. In total, 544,270 journeys were made from the station between April 2022 and March 2023 – the kind of volume not expected to be achieved for at least another 11 years.
A special event to celebrate Worcestershire Parkway, which is run by Great Western Railway (GWR), took place on Friday (September 8). Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier, West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin, the Lord-Lieutenant of Worcestershire Beatrice Grant and Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Chair of the North Cotswold Line Task Force were all in attendance as well as Councillor Simon Geraghty, Leader of Worcestershire County Council and many others.
Worcestershire County Councillor Marc Bayliss, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy, Infrastructure and Skills, said: “It’s fantastic that Parkway has exceeded all the initial expectations and significantly more people are using it than we had hoped for only three years after opening.
“Worcestershire Parkway forms part of our wider £50million plus rail investment programme and is a key part of our Worcestershire Rail Investment Strategy (WRIS).
“Rail is critical to the ongoing economic development of Worcestershire, providing low carbon travel choice and the potential for enhanced connectivity to high growth economies throughout the country for businesses and residents in Worcestershire.”
GWR Business Development Portfolio Director, Tom Pierpoint, said: “We are delighted that Worcestershire Parkway customer numbers are so far ahead of expectations. To be hitting travel figures now that were originally anticipated to be reached in 2034 is remarkable, and a testament to everyone involved in the planning, design and building of the station.
“It shows how much appetite there is for modal shift to rail and how important the railway is for economic development and sustainability. There is the potential for even greater growth, and we look forward to continuing our work with Worcestershire County Council and the Department for Transport to truly realise the potential for this very important station.”
CrossCountry Service Delivery Director, Mark Goodall, said: “Worcestershire Parkway’s success is fantastic news for the county and its rail passengers. To be so far ahead of the expected number of users at this point is proof of the value to the county of being better connected to the national rail network than ever before.
“We will continue to work with Worcestershire Country Council and all the stations partners to build on this achievement, promoting the county as a place to visit and work and from where people can travel farther afield.”
SLC Rail Strategy Director, Ian Baxter, said: “Today’s celebration marks Worcestershire Parkway’s success, Worcestershire County Council’s drive and determination to make it happen, and the cross-industry collaboration that has created a station attracting so many more people to use rail. Its dramatic growth is cause for real post-COVID optimism about rail’s vital role in supporting growing communities, the economy and the environment.”
At the event earlier today, there were a number of speeches made and a plaque was unveiled by Beatrice Grant to mark the occasion.
Worcestershire Parkway, located to the east of Junction 7 of the M5, is accessible for commuters and longer-distance travellers from all over the county. The station serves two railway lines (North Cotswold Line which goes to London Paddington and the Birmingham to Bristol Line). It’s a fully accessible, modern station building and boasts a 500-space car park. The station was the first, new station to open in Worcestershire in over 100 years.
Parkway has improved connectivity to the regional economies of Bristol and the South West, South Wales, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, as well as the East Midlands, London and the South East.
Photo credit: SLC Rail