Plans unveiled for Shrewsbury to Birmingham rail route

Midlands Connect has submitted a business case to the Department for Transport outlining plans to enhance the Shrewsbury – Black Country – Birmingham rail route.

The study found that the proposed improvements will deliver around £23m of economic benefits alongside journey time improvements, improved air quality and reduced congestion on local roads.

As the line speed is boosted to 90mph, Midlands Connect believe more people will choose to travel by rail, generating £1m of extra ticket sales revenue per annum.

The submission comes after the Government’s Union Connectivity Review, which identified the importance of Shrewsbury as a centre for connecting Mid & West Wales to the Midlands.

In addition, Midlands Connect forecasts significant population growth along the rail line, with both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin projected to grow by 11-12% by 2031.

The scheme also builds upon the fact that Wolverhampton is now home to the second HQ of the Government’s Levelling Up Department.

CEO of Midlands Connect Maria Machancoses said: “Today’s news is another step forward and a major milestone in our journey towards delivering this major project as part of our Midlands Engine Rail programme.

“In the medium term, we are championing the need for direct, hourly trains to London and electrification but we are also promoting the short-term win of a line speed improvement.

“I believe that this project will help level up the Black Country, support economic development in Shropshire and unlock the fantastic growth of Telford in the years ahead.”

Last year in Midlands Connect released its Rails to Recovery report. It found that by electrifying the route through Telford and the Black Country and extending London services to Shrewsbury, it could create up to £500m of benefits for businesses and residents.

In addition, the scheme would also help safeguard and create jobs in the engineering and construction sectors, as it found that 337 jobs would be safeguarded and a further 81 skilled jobs would be created if the project was implemented.

Jane Stevenson MP, Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton North East said: “This business case is another step towards delivering better links and greener and faster trains between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury. For my constituents it could also potentially mean a new railway station in Pendeford so that more people can have wider access to jobs, training or school.

“Wolverhampton has seen major investment in the last few years and I believe that this project is another concrete example of levelling up the Black Country.”