Rail hub plans to boost Midlands growth

July 11 2018  

Rail hub plans to boost Midlands growth
Plans to develop a ‘Midlands Rail Hub’ with new routes, faster journeys and more frequent services will create the capacity for six million more individual train journeys every year across the region, says a new report from Midlands Connect.
The partnership’s ‘Our Routes to Growth’ report outlines regional transport infrastructure priorities for the Midlands and sets out how these will create economic benefits.
It says that the proposed 20 year Rail Hub initiative – a programme of railway network interventions to maximise capacity – would allow 1.6M more people to reach the region’s biggest towns and cities within an hour.
This includes reducing journey times between Birmingham and Nottingham from 69 to 50 minutes. The number of trains per hour would also be doubled along this route – as well as between Birmingham and Leicester – while hourly services between Birmingham and Derby would increase from four to six.
Meanwhile direct trains between Coventry and Leicester and further local lines into Birmingham Moor Street would be reinstated.
“Improving east-west connectivity and access to High Speed 2 services are top priorities for Midlands Connect,” commented the group’s chairman Sir John Peace. “The Midlands Rail Hub proposals can bring our great towns and cities closer together and accelerate the massive job creation we’re seeing all over the region.”
The report says the hub could boost the regional economy by £649M annually. Key actions to deliver the improvements would include the installation of new track and passing places, upgrading stations and improving junctions and signalling.
The plans could also help to shift £22Bn worth of freight from the roads to the railways, the report highlights.
Road congestion is a key issue for the region and ‘Our Routes to Growth’ also identifies the need for a Midlands Motorway Hub, recommending a new strategic link between the M5 and M6 among proposals to relieve traffic.
The document also details progress to develop a long term strategy to upgrade sections of the A46, plans for a High Speed 2 East Midlands hub station at Toton, and the roll out of smart ticketing across the region.
Midlands Growth Company chairman Matthew Hammond said: “The Midlands’ position at the heart of the UK road and rail networks presents a fantastic opportunity to target investment that can benefit the whole country, and this report provides the region with an exciting blueprint to progress this ambition.”
Civil Engineering Contractors Association Midlands director Dawn Karakatsanis said: “Midlands Connect has developed the detailed long term plan that will tackle congestion, create jobs, and deliver economic growth both in the Midlands itself and in the wider British economy.
“It is vital that both central and local Government work with industry and the wider business community to deliver a 21st century transport system that works for everyone.”
(Photo: Network Rail)

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