Study(ious) route to create a Midlands Rail Hub
Eight years ago I wrote about Network Rail's update to its Strategic Business Plan and long term opportunities for passenger demand in the West Midlands, http://birminghamcentral.blogspot.com/2008/04/network-rail-strategic-business-plan.html. Network Rail has launched a new consultation on its new Route Study for the West Midlands and Chiltern area including plans for the development of a Midlands Rail Hub which could allow more trains to run every hour into central Birmingham, http://www.railmagazine.com/news/network/2016/07/05/chilterns-route-study-to-tackle-capacity-challenges/image/14205.
The study has looked at the effect of growth forecasts and provides an evidence base on rail investment to meet demand to 2024, increase the benefits of HS2 and longer term options to 2043, http://www.networkrail.co.uk/long-term-planning-process/West-Midlands-and-Chilterns-Route-Study/
The West Midlands already sees nearly 50 million annual passenger journeys by rail, and demand is growing faster than the national average, at over four per cent a year in the most recent figures. Rail’s share of travel into Birmingham at peak times was just 17 per cent in 2001; today it has increased to 38 per cent. Longer-term forecasts show commuting into Birmingham will grow by 49 per cent in just 10 years from 2013 to 2023, and 114 per cent by 2043.
West Midlands and Chilterns Route Study, Network Rail, http://www.networkrail.co.uk/long-term-planning-process/West-Midlands-and-Chilterns-Route-Study/
The creation of a Midlands Rail Hub would allow for more trains to run into Central Birmingham, a pressing long term need to cater for passenger capacity and measure to allow for this and more freight such as upgrading Kings Norton station and additional platforms at Birmingham Snow Hill and Moor Street. The study seeks to identify capacity and capability to help deliver economic growth and support plans such as Midlands Connect, http://www.wmita.org.uk/media/1069/midlandsconnect_a4brochure_final_lowres.pdf.
The following image from the draft consultation shows the importance of boosting East-West links which are being promoted through Midlands Connect with increased job numbers and a financial boost.
You can view the draft study at Network Rail's website: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/long-term-planning-process/West-Midlands-and-Chilterns-Route-Study/
The following information, including screen shots, is to highlight some of the interesting points in the study and encourage responseses to the consultation. There are a number of projects already planned or underway, such as the electrification of the Walsall-Rugeley line, which have contributed to the starting position of the study.
You can email comments to WestmidlandsandChilternsRouteStudy@networkrail.co.uk
West Midlands Strategy
Midlands Rail Hub
Passenger demand analysis
Passenger capacity at Birmingham Station's