The Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership has welcomed today’s launch of Midlands Engine Rail, a £3.5 billion programme of improvements to deliver a step change in rail connectivity across the Midlands.
Midlands Engine Rail brings together all seven of Midlands Connect’s rail projects under one banner, including the flagship Midlands Rail Hub, to highlight the transformative potential that improving east-west connections can have on the social, environmental and economic success of the region.
Among the projects included is a long-term improvement to the train service between Lincoln and Nottingham.
Midlands Connect believes that the introduction of HS2 to the East Midlands and the associated growth in demand and passenger numbers could make it possible to double services between Nottingham and Lincoln from one to two trains per hour.
It is also examining how to cut journey times between Lincoln and Nottingham from 55 to 45 minutes. A feasibility study is due to be completed this year.
Ursula Lidbetter OBE, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP said: “We warmly welcome this major initiative to overhaul rail connectivity in the Midlands and truly realise the full potential of rail transport in our region.
“Longer term improvements to services between Lincoln and Nottingham will clearly be beneficial to Greater Lincolnshire, but taking a broader view, enhancing rail services across the Midlands will be good for our own economy and for productivity and growth.
“As everyone knows who tries to travel by train from east to west, significant investment in rail infrastructure is required. We hope that this is a first step towards creating a rail network of which the Midlands can be proud.”
Overall Midlands Engine Rails aims to:
- Provide an extra 736 passenger services per day
- Enable 58 locations in the Midlands to benefit from faster, more frequent and/or new direct services
- Add 72 more freight trains per day, creating space for over 1 million more lorries’ worth of goods to be transported by rail
- Fully integrate with HS2
Midlands Connect is requesting Government investment of £45.7 million over the next three years to move all eight of the projects to the next phase of research.