85,000 extra seats planned for West Midlands

Up to 150 extra trains per day could serve Birmingham, under plans unveiled by Network Rail on August 4. 

These will be up and running by 2024 and offer up to 85,000 additional seats across the Midlands, according to NR’s West Midlands and Chilterns Route Study

Freight is not forgotten, with suggestions that increased capacity and better access to terminals can also be created.  

The Route Study suggests that a Midlands Rail Hub would result in a £2 billion economic surge in the region over the next ten to 30 years. The study estimates an extra 24 million passengers per year will be using railways in the Midlands by 2023. 

It is also planned to maximise connectivity to HS2, which arrives at Curzon Street in 2026. The study also looks at improving access to London from the Chiltern Main Line, by connecting the line with HS2, Crossrail and Great Western Main Lines at Old Oak Common.

Shorter term, there are plans to improve capacity on the line to Marylebone by running longer trains.

“The impact of HS2 will be huge. It is vital the existing railway connects with it and the benefits it will deliver. Across the West Midlands and Chilterns, there is much to do to meet predicted demand,” said Network Rail’s London North Western Route Managing Director Martin Frobisher.

Midlands Connect Director Maria Machancoses said: “Delivery of these improvements will bring significant economic benefit - not only to the West Midlands and Chilterns but also the rest of the Midlands and surrounding areas, given the Midlands’ position as a hub of the national transport network.

“Improved transport connectivity is a key driver in growing our region’s economy, increasing competitiveness and productivity. Business will benefit, as will local people. The improvements identified are ambitious, but importantly they are both essential and achievable. We look forward to continuing to work with Government and the rail industry to make them a reality.”

  • For more on this story, read RAIL 833, on sale August 16

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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 10/08/2017 16:37

    So when the new West Midlands franchise commences in December. The older stocks will soon be replaced with new trains. Whilst some of the rolling stocks such as the Class 139's, Class 172's and Class 350's could remain or will remain. As the Class 323's, Class 170's, Class 319's, Class 156's, Class 150's and Class 153's are to be replaced by new trains with Class 170's probably ending up with Crosscountry, Class 150's, Class 153's and Class 156's Sprinters could be cascaded to East Midlands Trains and/or Great Western Railway along with Class 172's that could also be cascaded to GWR.

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