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Midlands Rail Hub needed to deliver 10 extra services an hour

Rail connections in the Midlands will need funding to meet growing pressures on capacity, a new report has said.

Midlands Connect, a group of 28 local authorities and 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships, has published the interim report of a £5m government-funded project to explore how to improve transport in the region.

It says that increased rail franchises and faster journey times in the region are the only way to avoid overcrowding on services by 2023.

The report also says that growth sites around HS2 stations will need to be integrated with the classic rail network to allow economic growth.

A survey by Midlands Connect found that a quarter of professional organisations in the region said they would be ‘likely’ or ‘highly likely’ to move locations if transport connections are not improved.

It says that a Midlands Rail Hub with an additional 10 services an hour is needed, which could potentially deliver £200m in economic growth a year and create 250,000 new jobs.

The report’s authors say there is “a compelling case to provide development funding” for the increased capacity options and that HS2 could potentially share development and even possession of the hub.

They say they will confirm where the 10 additional services should connect in their final report.

However, they note that they “recognise the lessons from the Hendy Review and the need to define early on a much tighter scope, funding envelope and outcomes” and the next stage of work will involve assessing whether increased value for money could be achieved through reduced spending and phasing of implementation.

In a speech at Derby Council Chambers yesterday, Chris Grayling, the new transport secretary, also welcomed the report’s support for HS2, repeating his commitment that he had “no plans to back away from” the high speed rail line.

However, both Balfour Beatty and the head of the National Audit Office have warned this week that the project could suffer because of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

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Andrew Gwilt   23/07/2016 at 12:47

Centro operates both trams and suburban train services across Birmingham, West Midlands, Black Country, North Worcestershire, Southeast Shropshire, North Staffordshire, West & North Warwickshire and in Birmingham providing better transport for the Birmingham area and West Midlands region that London Midland, Virgin Trains, Chiltern Railways, Crosscountry and East Midlands Trains provides good train services including the Stourbridge Town-Junction line operated by London Midland as its a shuttle line between the 2 stations in Stourbridge which is on the borders with Black Country & North Worcestershire.

Francis   26/07/2016 at 11:03

The problem with these local authorities is that they've got champagne dreams but no money or expertise to make it happen - left alone they'd have trains running around with hardly anyone onboard.

Lesf   27/07/2016 at 22:40

Andrew, you are mistaken. Centro has never operated any train or any bus. And now it doesn't even exist as it's been replaced by WMCA (Mercia?). Francis, WMCA was designed by Chancellor Osborne to receive government money and spend it, but don't be surprised if his weird plans are ditched by the new cabinet.

Lesf   27/07/2016 at 22:49

"a Midlands Rail Hub with an additional 10 services an hour is needed". Really? We already have a midlands rail hub called New Street. Its capacity can be transformed by running trains through it instead of parking them for half an hour waiting to reverse. And New St is exactly in the centre of Brum. "Midlands Rail Hub" sounds like a new station that would fragment the existing network instead of restoring the integrity it desperately needs.

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