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20 year Midlands rail hub plan launched

curzon street

A new 20 year strategy to create a Midlands rail hub and create capacity for 6M more passenger journeys has been launched.

The new strategy, which is outlined in a report by Midlands Direct called Our Routes to Growth, includes a rail network capacity maximisation programme across the Midlands and is expected to boost the region’s economy by £649M a year by 2037

Midlands Connect said the new hub would also allow £22bn worth of freight to be moved from the road to the railway.

The plan has the backing of transport secretary Chris Grayling who said the proposals captured the “extraordinary economic potential and ambition of the Midlands Engine”.

The introduction of the hub, centred on Birmingham is expected to increase the number of services and cut journey times between major cities in the region. This includes reducing the current 69min journey time between Nottingham and Birmingham by 19min and the current 84min journey time between Hereford and Birmingham by 14min.

One of the major new routes proposed is the reinstatement of direct services between Coventry and Leicester, which Midland Connect said would drive additional demand between two of the Midlands’ biggest cities.

The report also recommends re-opening local lines serving Birmingham Moor Street from Kings Norton along the Camp Hill line. This improvement would be facilitated by plans for the construction of three new local stations (Hazelwell, Kings Heath and Moseley) and a new junction with the Chiltern line going into Moor Street.

Midlands rail hub map infographic

Midlands rail hub map infographic

The organisation said some of the work to create the hub could be completed in 2026. This includes longer and restored platforms, improved junctions and signalling and some minor electrification. Some of the new services could start in time for the opening of High Speed 2 (HS2) phase 1, it said.

Major building work, including the construction of chords at Camp Hill, would require land acquisition and planning permission, as well as significant design and construction. This, added Midlands Connect, could be completed for the opening of HS2 phase 2 in 2033.

The hub approach also calls for some services to be diverted from Birmingham New Street to Birmingham Moor Street, which it said would improve connectivity with HS2’s new Curzon Street station and support a “One station” approach for New Street, Moor Street, Snow Hill and Curzon Street.

Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine chairman Sir John Peace said: “Improving East-West connectivity and access to HS2 services are top priorities for Midlands Connect. The Midlands Rail Hub proposals can bring our great towns and cities closer together and accelerate the massive job creation we’re seeing all over the region.

“The initiatives outlined in Our Routes to Growth are based on thorough research and detailed studies to identify which projects will give the greatest returns to rail passengers, road users and most importantly, the regional and national economies. Britain needs a transport infrastructure that delivers more jobs, a better quality of life and attracts greater international investment.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The lack of planned connectivity between HS2 Curzon Street and existing West Midlands Network Rail system risks making the new HS2 station too difficult to access from across the West Midlands. This could be overcome by building platforms on the NR rail lines immediately adjacent to the new HS2 platforms at Curzon Street. This is the best way to get a "One station" approach for Birmingham. It would be good to incorporate this thinking into plans before the city is left with a legacy of disconnected stations like that once seen back in Victorian times......

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