BOLD STEPS: Midlands Rail Hub gets backing from leading Labour figure
A leading Labour MP believes the region needs to take ‘bold steps’ toward sustainable travel – and has urged the government to throw its full weight behind the Midlands Rail Hub.
Visiting the region last week to view progress on the network, Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon said that the ongoing development of the Midlands Rail Hub is a ‘no brainer’, and should be prioritised by government.
The project, set to cost in the region of £2bn, involves series of upgrades to the rail network and the building of two new train paths into Birmingham city centre.
This, along with upgrades to track, signalling systems and new passing places will improve connections from Birmingham to the likes of Bromsgrove, Hereford, Worcester, Cheltenham, Leicester, Derby and Nottingham.
Midlands Connect say through the project passengers will enjoy quicker journeys, more frequent services and new connections, including the reinstatement of rail direct rail links between the three major cities of Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham.
The Midlands Rail Hub will also create space for over a million lorries’ worth of cargo to be moved on our railways each year.
Back in February West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Midlands Connect Chair Sir John Peace wrote to the Chancellor urging support for the flagship rail scheme, which they say ‘serves to ‘unite’ the Midlands region and improve public transport links between the East and West Midlands.
And Mr McMahon echoed these sentiments in a visit to Birmingham, calling for completion as soon as possible so that the region could beging reaping the benefits.
“It’s abundantly clear that in this climate emergency, we need to take bold steps to change the way we live, work and travel,” he said.
“The Midlands Rail Hub is an absolute no-brainer – it will get more people and parcels off our roads onto our railways and create space for faster, more frequent train journeys across the Midlands and beyond.
“At a time where we’re looking to boost public transport use, this scheme must go ahead, it’s crucial for the region’s future.
“Talk of ‘levelling up’ is meaningless if people across the West Midlands are still unable to access job or training opportunities because of a creaking regional transport network.
“That’s why it’s critical that more projects like the Midlands Rail Hub are delivered at pace.
“It’s also great to see the work that’s being done to extend Birmingham’s tram network both in the east and west sides of the city and to hear about work already underway improving tram links in the Black Country.
“However, ensuring swift delivery is crucial if local communities are to reap the benefits sooner.”
Words: Tom Dare, Local Democracy Reporter
Latest Birmingham News
Watch the channel on TV