UK’s Midlands Connect submits £2bn rail improvement plan

27 June 2019 (Last Updated June 27th, 2019 11:06)

Transport body Midlands Connect has submitted a £2bn proposal to the government outlining a package of railway improvements to improve connectivity between the East and West Midlands.

UK’s Midlands Connect submits £2bn rail improvement plan
The Midlands Rail Hub plan includes £2bn package of improvements. Credit: Martin Winkler from Pixabay.

Transport body Midlands Connect has submitted a £2bn proposal to the government outlining a package of railway improvements to improve connectivity between the East and West Midlands.

The Midlands Rail Hub plan encompasses building 15 infrastructures to increase capacity and improve railway connectivity in the region. Additionally, the plan is expected to deliver significant benefits to the Midlands economy.

If approved, the proposals will be implemented in phases between 2024 and 2033. Midlands Connect submitted the plans in collaboration with Network Rail.

The plans are supported by 47 partner organisations, including West Midlands Combined Authority, HS2, local authorities, LEPs, chambers of commerce and Birmingham and East Midlands airports.

Midlands Connect chair John Peace said: “The Midlands Rail Hub is a cost-effective, evidence-led plan to upgrade our Victorian infrastructure to meet the demands of the future.

“These proposals capture the enormous economic potential of the Midlands, with 320,000 new jobs estimated by 2030, mainly in professional services firms who depend on good rail connectivity to attract skilled workers.

“This investment must happen alongside delivering HS2 in its entirety, from the West Midlands to the East Midlands and on to the north of England.”

The upgrades would help to accommodate 24 additional passenger trains an hour to and from Birmingham Moor Street, reducing pressure from Birmingham New Street.

It includes schemes to resume direct services between Coventry, Leicester & Nottingham, as well as two additional trains per hour in both directions between Birmingham-Leicester and Birmingham-Derby.

Additionally, it will create 36 freight paths a day, diverting 4,320 lorries’ worth of goods from road to rail. It also includes plans to increase access to HS2.

Along with submitting the plan, Midlands Connect sought an additional £25m funding to advance to the ‘Outline Business Case’ stage of development.