Work to deliver Midlands Rail Hub set to begin with £123 million

Date posted: March 1, 2024
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a train in Nottinghamshire
  • Design work on £1.75 billion Midlands Rail Hub project set to begin
  • Rail hub set to benefit millions of people with improved journey times and more frequent rail services
  • Investment demonstrates Network North commitment to deliver the Midlands Rail Hub with reallocated HS2 funding to benefit more people, in more places, more quickly
  • Comes as Midlands set to benefit from £2.2 billion through Local Transport Fund to improve local transport connection

Work on the Midlands Rail Hub is set to begin after ministers provided an initial £123 million funding injection.

The transformational upgrade project is part of the government’s plan to improve transport across the region and beyond, boosting the capacity and frequency of rail services for passengers while upgrading stations across the Midlands.

More than 50 stations – covering 7 million people across the region – will benefit from the plans, made possible by reallocated HS2 funding. The first phase of the Midlands Rail Hub will mean an additional train every hour in both directions between central Birmingham and locations including:

  • Bristol
  • Cardiff
  • Cheltenham
  • Worcester

This first wave of funding will enable design work to begin on creating space for extra services. This includes preparing detailed designs for the infrastructure improvements required, finalising operating plans for the new services, while continuing to move the rest of the programme forward.

The investment comes as part of the government’s Network North transport plan, which committed £1.75 billion to deliver the Midlands Rail Hub in full.

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said:

“The Midlands Rail Hub will bring huge benefits to passengers in the region and beyond, so it’s great to be in Birmingham with Mayor Andy Street to kick start this important project.

“Today’s announcement is part of the government’s plan to invest in transport projects with reallocated HS2 funding, helping to grow the economy and better connect communities across the Midlands”.

More London to Birmingham services will be extended from Moor Street to Snow Hill station meaning the Chiltern line will also serve Birmingham’s Snow Hill business district.

In addition, Kings Norton station will be made more accessible, while platforms at Snow Hill, Moor Street, and Kings Norton stations will be upgraded. Passengers will also have greater access to HS2 services via Curzon Street station, meaning easier travel across the country.

When delivered in full, the hub will see services on most routes increase by between 50% and 100%. Birmingham’s Cross-City line will be given a ‘turn-up-and-go’ service with a train every 10 minutes.

The number of trains between Birmingham and Leicester will be doubled from 2 to 4 per hour, while additional trains are planned between Birmingham and Nottingham, and the new Birmingham to Worcester trains extended to Hereford.

Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands and chair of the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE), said:

“The Midlands Rail Hub will deliver a revolution in public transport for our region opening up more capacity on the routes in and out of central Birmingham which will allow us to run more services to more places both locally and nationally.

“Midlands Rail Hub will also provide an opportunity for us to open more new stations and lines across our network as well as deliver faster journey times into central Birmingham from the new Camp Hill line stations that are currently under construction at Moseley Village, Kings Heath and Pineapple Road.

“This investment will not only better connect communities to convenient and rapid public transport services but also attract further investment into our region, delivering jobs, growth and greater prosperity.

“It’s important not to forget that this new funding comes on top of the billions of pounds worth of transport investment we have already secured for the West Midlands. That funding is really significant and will help turbo-charge our plans to improve public transport across the region, connecting local people to education, training, health and leisure services as well as job opportunities.”

Maria Machancoses, Chief Executive of Midlands Connect, said:

“This announcement marks a major milestone in this transformational, nationally significant project.

“The Midlands Rail Hub programme is the result of years of collaboration and determination by cross-party leaders from all corners of the Midlands.

“Today’s £123 million announcement is a clear sign of government’s trust in our partnership – getting us closer to finally delivering much need east-west connectivity across the region.

“We will continue to work with government to progress the plans and ensure, as set out in Network North, Midlands Rail Hub is delivered in full, extending the benefits to towns and cities like Hereford, Nottingham, Derby and Leicester.”

The Midlands Rail Hub announcement comes as the British Business Bank launched its £400 million Midlands Engine Investment Fund II today (29 February 2024), unlocking additional funding to help smaller businesses in the Midlands prosper and thrive.

The fund will drive sustainable economic growth by supporting new and growing businesses across the whole of the Midlands, increasing the access and diversity of early-stage finance for smaller businesses in the region. It includes a range of finance options with loans from £25,000 to £2 million and equity investments up to £5 million to help small and medium-sized businesses start up, scale up, or stay ahead.

The Midlands Rail Hub announcement also comes shortly after the government announced the Midlands will receive £2.2 billion from April 2025 to improve local transport connections in areas outside the city regions. The investment will give local authorities long-term certainty to invest in transport improvements such as building new roads and installing or expanding mass transit systems.

Over the 7 years as a whole, this funding will be on average at least 9 times more than these local authorities currently receive through the local integrated transport block, which is the current mechanism for funding local transport improvements in their areas.

Subject to future decisions, this first phase of the Rail Hub could be completed by the early 2030s.

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