Businesses show support for rail plans across the Midlands

Date posted: July 14, 2023
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  • New survey data shows businesses support Midlands Rail Hub proposals.
  • Most agree that employees would use the rail network more following improvements.
  • Recruitment and customer connection would also be easier following rail upgrades.

New research shows that businesses across the nation support proposals for the Midlands Rail Hub. Businesses consider there to be significant benefits to local rail improvements, with 69% firms thinking it would make it easier to meet new customers. Evidence was collected from firms collectively employing over 16,000 people in a variety of industries.

Responses came from across the Midlands Rail Hub network, including many Birmingham-based firms. Most employees travel to work using either the car or by train, with 31 companies reporting that more than half of their employees commute for longer than 30 minutes. For those who don’t travel by train for work, top reasons why were infrequent train times and long journey times.

More than 60% of businesses who responded agreed that if the regional rail network was improved as a result of the Midlands Rail Hub, employees would use it more. For these respondents, more frequent and faster rail services were the highest priorities. Respondents agreed an improved rail network would help their business to grow (51%) and open new markets (49%).

The Midlands Rail Hub is Midlands Connect’s £1.5bn flagship scheme. It proposes interventions across the rail network which would add more than 14 million more seats on the rail network each year and provide faster, more frequent or new rail links for over 30 locations including Hereford, Bristol and Leicester.

Karen Heppenstall, Head of Rail at Midlands Connect, commented:

“This research shows how the Midlands Rail Hub will benefit businesses and commuters. Our plans will make travelling for business quicker and easier, making rail more attractive for all. This helps towards our strategic vision of a fairer, greener Midlands; where communities have strong transport connections.”

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, added:

“The level of business support for Midlands Rail Hub right across our region is resounding. It’s recognition of the fact that when the Rail Hub is built, it will be easier than ever to recruit from towns and cities throughout this part of the world. That’s just one of the reasons I fully support these proposals from Midlands Connect. Midlands Rail Hub is a transformative piece of infrastructure – driving business success, overall economic prosperity and better connectivity for local people for generations to come.”

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