CONSTRUCTION work will begin on the new Worcestershire Parkway rail station this autumn, it has been announced.

A completion target date of winter 2018 has been set, with the station fully open to the public in early 2019.

The new station will forge better links between Worcester and London and the vision is for two trains per hour.

One will be a fast express and one a multi-stop, from the county down to the capital, and the station will also give improved access to the south west, south east and the north.

Around £53million is being spent by Worcestershire County Council and its partners on rail improvements up to 2019, including at Kidderminster Station and work already completed at Worcester Foregate Street, Malvern Link and Bromsgrove.

This comes as figures show that Worcestershire will see a 97 per cent growth in passenger numbers on its rail network by 2043. On some routes, including Worcester to London, it is expected to double current figures.

The plans for Kidderminster will see a £4.3million upgrade, with work due to start in the autumn of 2018.

A total of just under £2m was spent on Foregate Street in Worcester and Malvern Link.

 Cllr Ken Pollock, cabinet member for economy and infrastructure at Worcestershire County Council, said: “We have a booming economy in Worcestershire and we fully expect the upward trend to continue.

 “To allow for future growth, this county needs an improved rail network so that is why, alongside partners, we’re investing into it. Better rail connectivity benefits not only residents but also businesses and improving connectivity is one of the county council’s top priorities.”

 Steve Richardson, director from global financial software company Rimilia in Bromsgrove, praised the boost to the rail network.

“The planned station at Worcester Parkway and the current provision at Bromsgrove is of great help to Rimilia," he said.  “Being a global financial software company, access to London for face to face meetings with clients and industry events is essential to our continued growth."

Last week we reported that London Midland had lost its operations contract for trains in the area, with West Midlands Trains Ltd (WMT) taking over from December 10.

WMT plans to invest nearly £1billion to improve rail services across the West Midlands, including additional services on weekends and evenings between Birmingham and Hereford, more spacious carriages and improvements to Worcester Shrub Hill and Worcester Foregate Street stations.