A business case has been submitted to the Department for Transport today, outlining plans to enhance the Shrewsbury – Black Country – Birmingham rail route.
This project, coming from Midlands Connect, is set to deliver around £23m of economic and environmental benefits, whilst seeing the line speed boosted to 90 miles-per-hour and minimised congestion rates on the local roads.
The project is estimated to begin as early as 2025, dependent on the scheme being given the go ahead by the Government. The hopes are the for these investments will attract more people to utilise the rail services available, generating potentially massive incomes, with the business case highlighting that for every £1 invested, £16 could be created for the local economy. Analysis by Midlands Connect shows that if more people would shift to rail, an extra £1 million of extra ticket sales revenue could be generated.
This business case also outlined the requirement for investment, due to the potential population growth that will be seen in the years ahead. Both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin are projected to grow by 11-12% by 2031, aligning with large numbers of new jobs within Telford, potentially seeing an increase of 22% in new employment.
The scheme would also help safeguard and create jobs in the engineering and construction sectors: analysis by NSA Research on behalf of Midlands Connect showed that 337 jobs would be safeguarded and a further 81 skilled jobs would be created if the project were implemented.
The track would have minor realignments in two places within the railway corridor to improve the route for the train and passengers, as well as improvements around signalling on the line.
Daniel Kawczynski MP, Member of Parliament for Shrewsbury, and Atcham, said:
“Boosting line speed on this important route through Shrewsbury to 90-miles-per-hour will be a massive boost for local passengers and businesses, speeding up journeys and encouraging motorists to leave their cars at home. It’s fantastic that these plans are being brought forward and could be a great short-term win for this project.
“On a personal level, I’ve long campaigned for the electrification of this line, something that will secure truly green, sustainable connectivity for generations to come. I’m keen that Government supports us in the delivery of these improvements as soon as possible.”
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