At a packed Armitage Village Hall on Saturday morning (15th January),
around 200 people from Armitage, Handsacre, Fisherwick, and parts of
Lichfield heard Michael Fabricant introduce representatives from
Network Rail, Staffordshire County Council Highways, Lichfield District
Council Environmental Health, and County Councillor Frank Lewis and
parish councillors who talked about the three year programme of work
that will be undertaken to upgrade the west coast main rail line.
"Concerns involved the safety of children with heavy lorries being
diverted onto lesser used roads, where stores of ballast, rails,
sleepers would be kept, noise from late night working, and so on." says
Michael Fabricant. "One villager, where work has already started,
complained of 2am football games between railway workers waking them up
"Keith Riley, Network Rail’s project director said that in future there
would be fewer sub-contractors so that they will have far greater
control over the work. Also, the operation will be run from a site, the
old MAFF buildings, opposite the Lichfield Trent Valley Railway station
and he personally will be moving up to Lichfield from London to control
the project. There will be regular meetings with the public to keep
"Two important phone numbers were given out for when the work begins and
people likely to be affected by the work should make note of them now"
Michael adds. "Network Rail have a ‘hotline’ for complaints and
enquires in Birmingham and it will be 0845 711 41 41. In addition,
Staffordshire County Highways have a number: 0800 23 23 23. They can
enforce Network Rail if vehicles use short cuts they should not be
"Finally, if all else fails," Michael told the meeting "write to me at
the House of Commons or email me through the webform on my website, and
I will bang heads together if needs be."
The major works on the road bridge at Armitage (bridge 111) will begin
in August 2005 and should be completed by July 2007. "If serious
problems start to arise during that period, I will call another meeting
for later this year", Michael promised.