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Passenger numbers on West Midlands rail routes set to increase

Rail travel on the West Midlands and Chilterns route continues to grow with passenger numbers set to increase by over 30% over the next decade, a Network Rail report has found.

The West Midlands and Chilterns Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) has been produced in partnership with key stakeholders and builds on existing plans to improve the region’s railway, including the redevelopment of Birmingham New Street station and the Evergreen 3 project on the Chilterns route.

The RUS sets out the steps needed for the rail network to cater for increased passenger and freight demand and support the region’s economy.

Recommendations include new services, longer trains and platforms and targeted investment in infrastructure to increase capacity at strategic locations.

“More people and businesses in the West Midlands rely on rail than ever before and passenger numbers will continue to rise significantly over the next ten years,” said Network Rail director of planning and development Paul Plummer.

“This success brings its own challenges and large projects to improve the network such as the redevelopment of Birmingham New Street and the improvements on the Chilterns route are already underway.

“Further investment is essential if rail is to continue to play its part in supporting the region’s economy and this strategy provides a clear direction of how rail can continue to support the passengers and businesses of tomorrow. However we recognise that Network Rail and the rest of the industry needs to focus on ways of improving efficiency and value for money if we are going to make a case for this investment.”

Beyond 2019, the RUS recognises that the proposed high speed rail line between London, Birmingham and the North will improve journey times and free up capacity on a number of existing routes.

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