The Prime Minister has been urged to back Midlands Engine Rail, a £3.5 billion improvement programme launched by Midlands Connect.
Spanning the East and West Midlands, the Midlands Engine Rail programme is made up of seven strategically-important projects that will boost the economy, designed to drive sustainability and productivity throughout the whole region.
Midlands Engine Rail is also set to build on the flagship Midlands Rail Hub scheme that hopes to boost east-west connectivity, submitted to the government in the summer.
Proposals have been submitted by Midlands Connect to transform the region’s roads and now, the latest scheme will hopefully transform the region’s rail services.
Delivered in stages from 2022 onwards, Midlands Engine Rail will boost the capacity for national, local and regional rail services, with space set to be created for a further 736 passenger trains on the network each and every day; this is especially crucial in this region given that passenger numbers of increased more here in the last two years than anywhere else in the UK.
The programme has the potential to deliver improvements to 60 locations, including Nottingham, Stoke-on-Trent, and Wolverhampton, but with the position of the Midlands at the heart of the transport network in the UK, the programme is nationally significant.
Midlands Engine Rail is also fully integrated with HS2, and encompasses plans for two conventional-compatible services directly linking Nottingham and Leicester to the new network.
Given its importance, business leaders are calling on the Prime Minister to back the programme and fund the next stage of development.
Sir John Peace, Chair of Midlands Connect, commented: “In the Midlands, more people are travelling on the railways than ever before. We now need investment from government to allow our people, businesses and infrastructure to reach their full potential, and to drive a further boost in passenger numbers.
“My message to the Prime Minister is clear; it’s time you made a long-overdue commitment to the future of our rail network.”