Plans submitted for £2bn Midlands Rail Hub scheme

WCN Editorial Team 27 Jun 2019 EUROPE TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE

Sub-national transport body Midlands Connect, in partnership with Network Rail, has submitted £2bn Midlands Rail Hub plan to the UK Department for Transport, which includes improvements to transform east-west connections on the Midlands’ rail network.

The UK Government is being urged by business and civic leaders to back the project with clear message: ‘Don’t ignore the Midlands’.

The Midlands Rail Hub plan involves the construction of 15 pieces of new and improved infrastructure which will enable 24 extra passenger trains every hour on the regional network, thus reducing journey times.

Planned to be completed in phases between 2024 and 2033, the development is being backed by 47 partner organisations, including West Midlands Combined Authority, local authorities, LEPs, chambers of commerce, HS2 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 next Prime Minister of this country must not ignore the Midlands, the 10 million people who live here, or our £220 billion annual contribution to the UK economy.”

As part of the project, £950m will be used to build two new viaducts and link services from the South West and East Midlands in to Birmingham Moor Street station. It also includes opening up extra platforms to provide extra fast services on those corridors, and link to HS2 at Curzon Street.

Midlands Connect will also use £100m-£120m for reinstatement of a dive under or construction of a flyover of the West Coast Main Line at Nuneaton, to allow direct services between Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham.

Additionally, about £150m-£200m is planned to be used by the project partners to build a series of incremental improvements to allow faster new and existing services from Birmingham to Leicester.

Midlands Connect said it is seeking an additional £25m in funding from the government to bring the project to “Outline Business Case” stage of development.

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Image: The UK government is being urged by business and civic leaders to support the £2bn Midlands Rail Hub project. Photo: courtesy of midlandsconnect.uk.

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