Midlands Connect, a sub-national transport body in the UK, has released a £3.5bn plan to improve the region’s rail network.
Dubbed Midlands Engine Rail, the programme comprises seven projects, which will cover the West and East Midlands. The project will be delivered in stages with the first one scheduled for 2022.
The seven projects under the Midlands Engine Rail include £2.02bn for the Midlands Rail hub, which is currently in the Strategic Outline Business phase.
The Birmingham Airport connectivity project has an estimated capital cost of £150m, which will be delivered in tandem with the High Speed 2 (HS2).
Necessary Electrification for Conventional Compatible Service project is currently ahead of the HS2 project and has a current estimate of £600m.
Midlands Connect Conventional Compatible HS2 Services (£170m), HS2 East Midlands Hub (EMH) Station Connectivity (£330m), Derby-Stoke-Crewe (£50m), Birmingham-Shrewsbury (£200m) and Nottingham-Lincoln (£50m) are the other projects associated with the Midlands Engine Rail project.
The project is aimed at delivering a capacity boost by generating space for an additional 736 passenger trains that will join the network.
Around 60 locations are expected to benefit with the new service, including Birmingham, Coventry, Crewe, Worcester and Wolverhampton.
The Midlands Engine Rail will be integrated with the HS2 project. The rail project also provides the provision to connect Leicester and Nottingham city centres to the high-speed network.
The improvements are expected to increase the frequency and speed of the current rail services and to introduce direct new services.
Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine chair John Peace said: “We now need investment from government to allow our people, businesses and infrastructure to reach their full potential and to drive a further boost in passenger numbers. Midlands Engine Rail is essential in creating a more sustainable, productive and mobile Midlands.
“My message to the Prime Minister is clear, it’s time you made a long-overdue commitment to the future of our rail network. Ten million Midlanders are counting on you; invest in their futures, turn our vision into reality, back Midlands Engine Rail.”
The Midlands Connect has urged the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to support the next stage of its development, which is expected to cost up to £45.5m over the next three years.