Flying object spotted over Stratford Parkway

Blimp bigA flying object has been spotted floating over Bishopton Lane in Stratford-upon-Avon, close to the site of Stratford Parkway rail station.

Onlookers first noticed the blimp-like object in the sky last week and one was able to capture a photo of it on their mobile phone.

It could be spotted from miles around in the local area and has re-appeared in the sky again over the past few days.

Bearing the letter ‘P’ and a rail symbol, its appearance has already raised local media interest.

Warwickshire County Council can now reveal that the flying object is a blimp that is being used to further raise awareness of Stratford Parkway rail station, which is located alongside Stratford Park and Ride at Bishopton Lane, just off the A46.

Drivers approaching Stratford will not fail to miss the blimp, the markings on which indicate that there is plentiful parking directly next to the Parkway station, which has regular trains into Stratford-upon-Avon town rail station, Solihull, Birmingham, Henley in Arden, Leamington Spa, Warwick and London.

Access to the station by car is easy from the A46 and the A3400, and there are also good local connections by bus, bike and foot.

An improved evening timetable means later running trains from the station, with Saturday and week-day off peak services running every 30 minutes. The journey time to Birmingham is less than 50 minutes.

In the first ten months since Stratford Parkway opened, there have been over 35,000 passenger trips to and from the rail station. There’s also been an average of over 3,800 additional trips to and from Stratford town rail station each month since the Parkway station opened, when compared to the same period in the year before.

The station is also bringing more people into Stratford, as a large majority of the increase in passengers using Stratford town station are destined for the town.

Cllr Peter Butlin, Portfolio Holder for Transport & Highways, Warwickshire County Council, said: “When we opened Stratford Parkway last year, we had no doubt that the station and the new services it would bring to the town would prove extremely popular with passengers.

“As a result of us working with Centro and with London Midland, since the end of last year the station has also had later and more frequent trains running between Stratford and Birmingham and a new service to Solihull.

“We want to raise even more awareness of this great transport asset for Stratford and the flying blimp is already attracting people’s attention.”

Cllr Richard Chattaway, Chair of the Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee for Warwickshire County Council, said: “It is good news that the new train services that have been facilitated by the opening of Stratford Parkway train station are bringing more people into Stratford town and are giving passengers greater flexibility. I’d encourage anyone travelling to Stratford to try out the improved services and use the train.”