Midlands network gears up for Commonwealth Games

Network Rail's Emergency Intervention Unit

The Midlands rail network is gearing up for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which start on 28 July – with measures including a dedicated response vehicle to deal with incidents.

More than 100 volunteer station hosts will welcome visitors to Birmingham New Street station, while thousands of what Network Rail calls ‘graffiti grot spots’ in the West Midlands have been cleaned.

Station improvements continue to provide a more welcoming environment for visitors with the forecourt and underpass at Leamington Spa being transformed for visitors to the Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls.

Installation of lifts at Smethwick Galton Bridge is being accelerated to ensure they will be working for spectators travelling to the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, while Coventry’s recent station upgrade will also make it easier for passengers. 

The dedicated emergency intervention unit vehicle is fitted with equipment to provide command and control facilities to deal with incidents on the rail network. It is fitted with a drone, winch, toilet, cooking facilities, plugs and screens. When supported by the British Transport Police, it has ‘blue light’ capabilities to speed incident response. 

A million extra passengers are expected to use the West Midlands rail network during the games, which run until 8 August. Passengers are being advised to allow extra time for their journeys due to the higher numbers.

  • For more on the West Midlands’ plans for the Commonwealth Games, read Commonwealth Ambition, where West Midlands Rail Executive’s Executive Director Malcolm Holmes and Network Rail Central Route Director tell Philip Sherratt how the Games will be a major milestone in the region’s post-Covid recovery.