Fresh plan for HS2 to connect East and West Midlands

Aaron Morby 7 days ago
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Regional transport group Midlands Connect has submitted ‘game-changer’ plans to the Government to connect the city centres of Birmingham and Nottingham and Leicester and Leeds via the East Midlands Hub station at Toton.

The plan, which will go before the Oakervee review into whether HS2 should go-ahead or be modified, was said to offer £1.4bn in benefits strengthening the economic case for HS2.

The body proposes to alter the Toton East Midlands Hub station in Nottinghamshire, on the planned Leeds branch of HS2, to offer a less expensive transport solution for the region than proposed in the Phase 2b hybrid Bill.

Present plans for Toton East Midlands hub station

The fresh proposals would see the Nottingham-Birmingham journey time more than halved to just 33 minutes (currently 72 minutes) and the Leicester-Leeds journey time slashed from two hours to just 46 minutes.

Under current plans, passengers would have to use the existing network to travel to Toton before changing on to an HS2 train, or vice versa.

Midlands Connect’s plans make direct services possible using new conventional-compatible trains that can travel along both high speed and electrified tracks, allowing them to call at both new HS2 and existing stations.

The capital cost of implementing the new services is estimated at £170m, including the Toton junction and infrastructure upgrades to the Midland Main Line to enable an extra hourly service from Bedford to Leeds, via Leicester.

Sir John Peace, chair of Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine, said: “Now we have more clarity over the costs and timescales of HS2, is it time that the true benefits of high speed rail are also fully understood to make sure the project goes ahead in its entirety.

“Our proposals are a genuine game changer for connections between the East Midlands and West Midlands and on to the north of England, revolutionising the way regions do business with each other and demonstrating that HS2 will spread the economic benefits far beyond the cities with a dedicated station.”

“We are working closely with HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport to develop our compelling business cases, and submitting our findings to the HS2 Oakervee review.

“We are sending a strong message to the government that delivering HS2 in its entirety is absolutely essential to the future economic success of the whole of the UK.”

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