An historic railway tunnel in the West Midlands is being made more reliable for passengers this month.

Two million pounds is being invested in Old Hill tunnel in Rowley Regis as part of Britain’s multi-billion-pound Railway Upgrade Plan.

Network Rail is strengthening and repairing the 157-year-old tunnel to ensure it is safe and reliable for years to come.

Old Hill tunnel was built in 1867 and takes 819 metres of the Stourbridge to Snow Hill line underneath Rowley Regis.

The length of the tunnel means that to carry out the work, Network Rail will be closing the railway on six Sundays between 11 January – 15 February 2020.

Kathryn Berry, scheme project manager at Network Rail, said: ‘We appreciate the patience of passengers while we carry out these vital improvements to Old Hill tunnel as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan. The work will mean fewer train delays on the Birmingham – Stourbridge line and make this Victorian-built structure fit for the 21st century.’

There will be no train services to stations between Birmingham Snow Hill and Stourbridge Junction from 10:30pm on Saturdays through to 5:00am on Mondays between 11 January to 15 February 2020.

Replacement bus services will be operated by West Midlands Trains.

Richard Brooks, head of customer experience for West Midlands Railway, said: ‘We thank our passengers for their patience while Network Rail carries out this essential maintenance work which will ultimately help improve reliability on this important route.

‘Replacement bus services will be in place on each affected Sunday calling at all stations between Birmingham Snow Hill and Stourbridge Junction. Services between Stourbridge Town and Stourbridge Junction will run as normal. Trains between Stourbridge and Worcestershire will operate to an amended timetable and passengers are advised to check their journeys before travelling.’

Passengers planning to travel on the affected weekends are being urged to check www.nationalrail.co.uk to ensure they have the smoothest journey possible.