News

12 September 2019

Midlands Engine Rail aims to persuade government to invest in Midlands

Dozens of towns and cities across the UK could benefit from Midlands Engine Rail, a £3.5 billion improvement programme to transform the region’s rail network, launched today by Sub-national Transport Body Midlands Connect.

Made up of seven projects spanning the East and West Midlands, the programme is strategically important in supercharging the Midlands Engine economy and is designed to drive sustainability, productivity and social mobility across the whole region.

It also includes and builds upon the flagship Midlands Rail Hub scheme; aimed at boosting east-west connectivity, which was submitted to Government in June 2019.

Midlands Engine Rail

Set to be delivered in stages from 2022 to the completion of HS2 Phase Two, Midlands Engine Rail will provide a much-needed capacity boost for national, local and regional rail services, creating space for 736 more passenger trains on the network each day and carrying an additional 1 million lorries’ worth of cargo per year.

Over the past two years, rail passenger numbers have risen faster in the Midlands than anywhere else in the UK.

Midlands Engine Rail is fully integrated with HS2 and includes plans for two new conventional-compatible services that will directly link Nottingham and Leicester city centres to the new high-speed network.

Improvements will increase the speed and frequency of existing services, introduce new direct services, and reduce carbon emissions by encouraging both passengers and freight off the roads and onto the railways.

Midlands Connect

Midlands Connect works in partnership with Network Rail and with the backing of 47 partner organisations including West Midlands Combined Authority, local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships including D2N2, chambers of commerce, HS2, and East Midlands Airport.

Through supporting projects like Midlands Engine Rail, D2N2 and other Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.

Civic and business leaders are now calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to back Midlands Engine Rail, fund the next stage of its development (£45.5 million over the next three years), and to display the same enthusiasm for infrastructure investment in the Midlands as he has in the North.

D2N2 Chief Executive Sajeeda Rose commented: “A strong national economy comes from strong local economies and railway infrastructure like the Midlands Engine Rail and HS2 projects form the connective tissue between the two.

“Communities in D2N2 need these projects to give us better connectivity with the rest of the UK, to decentralise the economy away from London and the South-East, and to be a driver of clean growth ensuring that our region becomes ever more productive and prosperous whilst protecting its natural assets.”

Sir John Peace, Chair of Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine said: “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. Midlands Engine Rail is essential in creating a more sustainable, productive and mobile Midlands.

Media wanting more information about the D2N2 LEP can contact Luke Stott, D2N2 Digital Marketing Officer, on 0115 9578749 or email: Luke.Stott@d2n2lep.org