West Midlands has launched the public consultation for its rail investment strategy, a revised version which aims at the development of region’s rail network over the next 30 years following the Covid 19 pandemic.
The updated draft West Midlands Rail Investment Strategy sets out how the region’s rail sector plans to tackle challenges like post-pandemic recovery, maximise the benefits of HS2 and contribute to achieving net zero carbon targets.
Like the first strategy, issued in 2018, key elements remain the continued development of HS2 and the delivery of the Midlands Rail Hub.
Since then the new Worcestershire Parkway station has opened, and progress has also been made on the construction of five new railway stations on the Camp Hill line in Birmingham and the Wolverhampton to Walsall line, as well as the redevelopment of Coventry, Wolverhampton, Perry Barr and University railway stations.
The update also takes account of changes in rail infrastructure and rolling stock and the reorganisation of the industry through the establishment of the Great British Railway.
The draft strategy has been led by the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) and developed with rail industry partners, including Midlands Connect and the Department for Transport and is issued today for consultation with stakeholders, businesses and communities.
Following this a final draft will be presented to the WMRE Board for approval.
“There is no doubt that rail is facing challenges following the Covid 19 pandemic but this strategy shows that passenger numbers will return and it remains a crucial part of our transport network and will play a key role in tackling the climate emergency. Therefore we have set out how we plan to grow the network in a coordinated way over the next three decades to better connect communities to the jobs and opportunities our region has to offer,” Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMRE said.