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West Midlands needs more trains, says Network Rail

More passengers than ever are using rail in the West Midlands and Chiltern route and that number could increase by up to 32% over the next decade, a new report published by Network Rail has found.

Published for consultation today, the draft West Midlands & Chilterns Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) looks in detail at rail usage over the next ten years and recommends how best to cope with extra passengers and freight.

The RUS makes recommendations for new services and targeted investment which will allow the network to accommodate extra passengers and support the regions economy.

Network Rail director of planning and development Paul Plummer said 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.

“This success brings its own challenges and large projects to improve the network such as the rebuilding of Birmingham New Street and the improvements on the Chiltern route are underway,” he added. “However continued investment in new services and infrastructure is essential if rail is to play its part in supporting the region’s economy.”

The report sets out a range of recommendations and proposals to be considered to meet the ever increasing demand on the rail network including:

• Recommendations for train lengthening on a number of peak hour services to and from Birmingham including routes to Hereford and Shrewsbury
• A new service between Tamworth and Worcester/Hereford via Birmingham New Street to improve connections across the West Midlands
• Infrastructure improvements at Worcester to allow for more frequent services
• Continued development of work to reopen the Round Oak (Stourbridge) to Walsall line to allow more freight traffic to travel between Birmingham and the South West.

Network Rail is consulting on the RUS and will publish a final version in May next year.

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