The rail industry has called for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to prioritise rail connectivity between the East Midlands, the West Midlands and Yorkshire.

In a letter to Johnson, rail industry leaders, representing 72,000 employees, also urged the government to ensure that all UK regions benefit from HS2’s connectivity and the Integrated Rail Plan.

This comes after Royal Assent was officially granted for HS2 Phase 2a last week.

High-Speed Rail Group spokesperson said: “High-speed rail will be central to the environmental, economic and social future of the UK. The Prime Minister has vowed to ‘level-up’ Britain, and this means delivering the full economic benefits of HS2 and the Integrated Rail Plan to as many UK regions as possible, including Yorkshire, the East Midlands and the West Midlands.”

Railway Industry Association (RIA) chief executive Darren Caplan said: “HS2 is being built right now, supporting thousands of real jobs, and regenerating towns and communities across the UK already. It is set to catalyse billions of pounds of private investment, as the country seeks to Build Back Better out of this coronavirus pandemic.

“Completing the Eastern Leg, which plays a crucial role in the route, means the full connectivity and capacity benefits of the scheme will be realised. So, we today urge the government to give it the ‘green light’ and let the rail businesses listed in this letter unleash the full economic benefits HS2 provides.”

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By GlobalData

In a separate development, Network Rail has started the restoration work on the Traeth Mawr Viaduct, which will improve the overall Cambrian Line.

The £1.85m project will witness the replacement of timber elements on the viaduct during a nine-day line closure from 13 to 21 February.

In addition, East Midlands Railway (EMR) has announced that it will launch a new half-hourly non-stop service between London St Pancras and Luton Airport Parkway, enabling passengers to reach the airport in about 30 minutes from central London.