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16.01.19

West Midlands promises rail revolution in new detailed 30-year strategy

The West Midlands has set out its short- and long-term plan for rail in the region, promising new passenger services and stations and to build on the benefits of high-speed rail.

Launched by the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE), the ‘Rail Investment Strategy’ sets out the planned investment in the West Midlands’ railway up until 2047 and its strategy for improving rail services.

In the short-term, this will see the WMRE working with the West Midlands Railway franchise and the DfT to deliver £1bn investment in a range of planned improvements.

This will see the return of passenger services on the Camp Hill ine and Wolverhampton to Walsall line, new stations, increased capacity, better evening and Sunday services, and improvements to cross-Birmingham connectivity.

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of WMRE, said: “Our strategy shapes the new era for rail travel by West Midlanders.

“It evidences our ambitious plans to work together with Midlands Connect and the rail industry to transform the train services and physical network to support the needs of the region.

“We are hugely excited to be in an ambitious and determined period of delivering this strategy.”

The group wants to achieve regular, high-frequency services of either two, four or six trains an hour at every one of its stations, with the busiest receiving a service every 10 minutes and the quieter local stations at least every half an hour during the day.

From 2026, WMRE will work with Midlands Connects to make the case for dramatically increasing capacity with new services through the Midlands Rail Hub scheme, as well as developing high-growth corridors which can benefit the most from new and enhanced connectivity.

WMRE will then work closely with HS2 to maximise the capacity and local and regional opportunities the flagship project will bring to the West Midlands.

Other major parts of the strategy include supporting rail-freight growth, including through the use of HS2 capacity; and, towards 2047, starting to look at “radical infrastructure change” once HS2 and the Midlands Rail Hub have developed.

Laura Shoaf, the managing director of TfWM, commented: “We are proud to support this strategy which, alongside our own wider regional vision, makes sure passenger and freight services are transformed for decades to come.

“The Midlands is experiencing a rail revolution, with an unprecedented level of collaboration across the region.

“Passenger services are improving, and HS2 will put the Midlands at the heart of the national network.  But this is just the start: it's important we work together with WMRE and other partners to make sure there is a long-term plan for the region's rail network.”

Malcolm Holmes will be speaking at this year’s TCR Midlands to further discuss the investment opportunities in rail across the Midlands. Don’t miss your chance to attend, visit the website here.

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