Surveys

Keeping Britain Moving

 

Arboretum Survey Results

Introduction

Lichfield based Transport for Britain (TFB) was set-up in 2018 by entrepreneur Peter Longman to facilitate better planning and building of transport infrastructure. The business is doing this by developing cost efficient and sustainable projects to improve our network of railways, roads, cycleways, footpaths and waterways.

 TFB is keen to see Lichfield and the surrounding area gain maximum benefit from its existing transport links and would particularly like to see the restoration of passenger rail services between Lichfield, Alrewas and Burton on Trent. The restoration of the existing line which carries freight and the occasional cross country service would not only reopen passenger rail transport links to the East Midlands and beyond (lost following the 1960s Beeching cuts), but also provide regular services to the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) which has annual visitor numbers in excess of 300,000 per annum and is poorly served by public transport links.

 On the 1st October Transport For Britain launched the Arboretum Line project to reinstate passenger services from Lichfield to Burton on Trent via Alrewas with the publication of this survey. The survey was designed to gather the views of local people and the level of support for reopening the line.

Methodology

 The survey was constructed and delivered using google forms linked to the TFB and Arboretum Line websites. The survey was promoted alongside another TFB survey and petition (HS2Lichfield) via an advertorial in City Life Lichfield magazine (circulation circa 18,000) October edition and via the TFB Facebook and Twitter social media channels.

 Survey responses within the scope of this report were gathered between 03/10/20 and 30/11/20. The survey remains live for further responses to be collected.

Summary of Survey Results

 The survey asked respondents 14 questions.

  • A total of 229 responded to the survey between 03/10/20 and 03/12/20.
  • By postcode, the majority of respondents were from Lichfield / Alrewas / Burton on Trent and surrounding areas.
  • The majority of respondents first heard about the project from a magazine / newspaper article (feature published in City Life Lichfield October edition), friend or family or Google search.
  • Respondents were overwhelmingly in favour of restoring passenger services from Lichfield to Alrewas and Burton on Trent.
  • Burton on Trent was the most popular destination for daily, weekly and monthly travel.
  • Derby, Nottingham and Matlock were the most popular destinations for occasional leisure journeys.
  • Other popular destinations given include (ranked in order): Birmingham, Lichfield, Sheffield, Peak District, York, Tamworth, London, Barton-Under-Needwood, Leeds and Walsall.
  • In overall terms electric and hydrogen powered trains were the most popular choice followed by steam and diesel trains. This demonstrates the growth in awareness of environmental issue and the need for sustainability.
  • The majority of respondents were in favour of supporting the Arboretum Line project by becoming a member or friend or by contributing financially to crowd funding / making a donation.
  • The majority of respondents would like to receive regular updates about the Arboretum Line project.
  • Respondents made a variety of comments and constructive suggestions in relation to the project.

Survey Results

  1. We asked respondents how they first heard about TFB’s plans to restore passenger services on the ‘Arboretum Line’. The majority of respondents (65%) first heard about the projects from a magazine / newspaper article (33%), friend or family (25%) or Google search (7%).

2. 96.5% of Respondents were overwhelmingly in favour of restoring passenger services from Lichfield to Alrewas.

3. For those respondents who were not sure / had concerns we asked why. There were 9 separate responses which varied considerably. However, several respondents would prefer to see passenger services restored between Lichfield and Burton and not just from Lichfield to Alrewas.

4. We then asked respondents if services were extended beyond Alrewas which additional stations they would like to reach and how often? Burton on Trent was the most popular destination for daily, weekly and monthly travel suggesting a rail service from Lichfield to Burton on Trent would be used for commuting, business and leisure purposes. The further the destination from Lichfield the less likely respondents would be to travel there on a frequent basis. Occasional and to a lesser extent monthly travel to Derby, Nottingham and Matlock scored highly suggesting these might be popular leisure destinations and that there may be sufficient demand to run regular services beyond Burton on Trent to these destinations.

5. Respondents listed a variety of other destination the most popular in ranked order being: Birmingham, Lichfield, Sheffield, Peak District (Buxton / Bakewell / Ashbourne), York, Tamworth, London, Barton Under Needwood, Leeds, Walsall.

6. We asked respondents if they has a choice of type of train which would they prefer to travel on. The majority of respondents first choice (59%) would prefer to travel on electric trains, followed by hydrogen powered trains (18%) and steam trains 13%. In overall terms electric and hydrogen powered trains were the most popular choice followed by steam and diesel. This reflects the growth in awareness and environmental and sustainability issues in relation to rail travel. Respondents suggested trains powered using bio-fuels might be considered and that steam powered trains might be best used to attract tourists.

7. Survey respondents were asked if they would support reinstatement of passenger services on the Arboretum Line by becoming a volunteer, member / friend or by contributing crowd funding or by making a donation. Responses reflect the high level of support for the Arboretum Line project with 18% of respondents (42) stating they would be prepared to become a volunteer and 39% (89) stating they would potentially become a volunteer. 81% (185) respondents would support a membership / friend scheme and 74% (169) of respondents would be prepared to support crowd funding or be prepared to make a donation towards funding the project.

8. 86% of those completing the survey wish to receive regular project updates.

9. Finally we asked for any other comments. 44% of respondents responded to this question with a variety of responses. Again, these were generally positive with some interesting comments and useful suggestions in support of the project including:

  • The building of a foot bridge or underpass to link the proposed station at Alrewas to the village.
  • Well worth it for the Arboretum alone.
  • Lots of people commute from Alrewas and surrounding villages to Birmingham. These people either drive all the way to Birmingham or to other stations, parking at either Lichfield station is prohibitively expensive so I drive to Four Oaks. To get these people, including me, using a station at Alrewas, it would really require a straight through service to Birmingham, so an extension of the line rather than a separate service.
  • A passenger line stopping at Alrewas would be great advantage for people wishing to get to Burton/Derby/Lichfield/Birmingham as pubic transport at present is totally inadequate. If people from Alrewas need a train at present they have to go by car to Burton or Lichfield where there is not enough parking at either station. If people come to the Arboretum by bus they have to walk a considerable distance from the nearest bus stop to get there. The reopening of the station would make a lot of sense all round.
  • As well as being a valuable link to the Arboretum it would promote tourism to the area.
  • This will help get vehicles off the road and help environmental impacts.
  • This would be such a good service to have to relieve traffic on the A38. Also I don’t drive so it would be invaluable for me to get a train.

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