More than half a million passenger journeys have been made on London Midland's operation between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town since conventional trains were replaced by innovative railcars, built by Parry People Movers Ltd, in mid-2009.
The 500,000th passenger trip was made on Tuesday 17th August.
The new railcars enabled an increase in service frequency and now there are departures in each direction every 10 minutes for most of the day (Monday to Saturday – a lower frequency service operates on Sunday) which is a principal reason for increased attractiveness of the service.
Comparison of passenger numbers that for the period end-June to mid-August patronage has risen by 20% between 2009 and 2010.
One of several innovations brought to the rail network by the London Midland franchise, the new era on the Stourbridge Town branch line has seen the introduction of environmentally-friendly lightweight railcars equipped with flywheel energy storage that 'regenerates' energy lost in braking to add to the energy and carbon savings achieved by the branch operation.
The branch line service has operated at over 99% service reliability since the start of 2010.
John Parry, chairman of Parry People Movers Ltd, said: “We are looking forward to seeing our vehicles continue to serve people travelling to and from Stourbridge. A new maintenance depot – now at the planning stage – should help improve reliability still further, and also represents a statement of confidence by the rail industry in the future of our 'lightweight rail' concept, which we hope to see implemented around the country to provide new transport links.”
London Midland engineering director Mac Mackintosh said: “This reflects the continuing hard work, skill and innovation of engineers at London Midland and Parry People Movers. It's great news for passengers in Stourbridge. The Shuttle has clocked up a tremendous amount of passenger journeys and reliability is very high.”