Track and signalling

22.02.19

Potential Leicester to Coventry rail link mulled over in updated Leicestershire transport vision

The potential of a Leicester to Coventry rail link has been revived again as one of the key highlights of a new transport masterplan outlined by Leicestershire County Council.

In the council’s revamped Prospectus for Growth handed out to Leicestershire County Council members this week, the document noted that there are currently no direct rail services between Leicester and Coventry, meaning a journey of just 25 miles takes an average of one hour and eight minutes.

Midlands Connect has been leading on work to develop a business case to secure funding for rail infrastructure works, including crossing – either under or over – the West Coast Main Line at Nuneaton.

The document, signed by council leader Nick Rushton, highlighted that this would allow direct services to run between Leicester and Coventry – and potentially further afield to destinations such as Nottingham and the Thames Valley.

Midlands Connect will submit a Strategic Outline Business Case to the Department for Transport in a bid to develop Coventry to Leicester rail services as part of this ongoing work.

Amongst the proposals, the document pledged to improve the overarching Midlands Rail Hub, including increasing the trains running between Leicester and Birmingham.

“Rail connections between the east and west Midlands are not as good as they should be,” the document wrote.

“The Midlands Connect Strategy includes a series of transport improvements to support growth and improve connectivity across the Midlands. This includes the Midlands Rail Hub proposal, which seeks rail infrastructure and train service improvements that provide better rail links across the Midlands and support the region’s future growth.”

The ever-present challenge of HS2 has also been addressed in the document. Following the council’s agreement in October 2018 to take a “lead role” in ensuring Leicestershire’s voice is heard around the potential impacts of HS2, the document said that the council is working to secure a Classic Compatible link between HS2 and the Midland Main Line (MML).

“This would significantly improve access to northern cities from the East Midlands and other settlements elsewhere on the MML, maximising the benefits of HS2 to the economy,” the document stated.

Cllr Rushton said: “To meet the needs of present and future generations, we will build on the council’s achievements to date, continuing to work with our national, regional, and local partners to secure transport infrastructure improvements that enable the delivery of housing and jobs.”

Developments in the Midlands region will be one of the hot topics at this year's TransCityRail Midlands 2019. Click here to find out more!

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Image credit: trabantos, iStock images

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