New Government railway funding not enough for ‘desperately inadequate’ East Mids infrastructure

Long-anticipated government funds of £123m allocated to Midlands Rail Hub – a project to improve connectivity between train stations across the Midlands – is to be welcomed, however, does little to meet the needs of those in the East Midlands, say East Midlands Chamber.

The initiative uses cash freed up by abandoned HS2 funds to upgrade stations and improve infrastructure across the overall Midlands region.

East Midlands Chamber director of policy and insight, Chris Hobson, said: “While any investment in Midlands railway infrastructure is to be welcomed, we’re concerned that once again the primary focus is on towns and cities outside of the East Midlands.

“Our Manifesto for Growth 2024, which we’re taking to Westminster on 11th March, asks our policy makers to ensure we deliver fair funding for infrastructure in the East Midlands. This isn’t about receiving investment at the expense of our neighbours to the west, it’s about Government doing more to rectify the fact that we are the most under-funded region in the country when it comes to rail travel.”

Last week, Network Rail started the tendering process for its newest alliance contract, aimed at enhancing various rail lines and stations in and around Birmingham and neighbouring urban areas.

The search is underway for partners to execute the £1.4bn Midlands Rail Hub initiative, including infrastructure projects spanning the West, Central, and East Midlands regions.

Hobson added: “We have desperately inadequate service between stations within the East Midlands and this hampers the tremendous growth potential of businesses.

“It’s all very well that a Birmingham-bound passenger might be able to jump on an extra train here and there at Nottingham but what we’re stating loud and clear in our manifesto is the huge need for transformational improvement within the East Midlands.

“We look forward to taking our manifesto to Westminster on 11th March and insisting politicians listen to what our businesses need to succeed.”