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Published on : Monday, July 4, 2016
Longer trains and platforms, more services and upgraded stations are among the steps proposed to meet a forecast 49% increase in demand for rail travel in the West Midlands and Chilterns regions over the next seven years.
An additional 24 million annual passenger journeys will take place in these areas by 2023, according to industry forecasts.The West Midlands and Chiltern routes, which links Birmingham and the West Midlands with London via towns in Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, already caters for more than 50 million passenger journeys every year – a number predicted to increase to more than 100 million journeys every year by 2043.
Through its multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, Network Rail is already delivering significant improvements across Britain to provide passengers with a better railway and help boost economies. Recent examples in the West Midlands include the £750m redevelopment of Birmingham New Street station and the £250m upgrade of the railway near Stafford. The new link between Oxford Parkway, and eventually Oxford, to the Chiltern main line, which was delivered in partnership with Chiltern Railways, is another example in the Chilterns region.
Network Rail and its rail industry partners have led a process to inform the West Midlands and Chilterns Route Study, which outlines the capacity challenges and has developed potential options for funders to improve future services for passengers and freight.
While the proposed HS2 will provide more frequent, faster services from the West Midlands and surrounding areas to London, there is a need to upgrade the existing railway so passengers can easily access HS2 and these benefits and continue to be able to commute across the region by rail.
The study identifies a number of potential options for capacity and capability improvements to enable the railway to continue to connect people to jobs and promote economic growth over the next 10 to 30 years.