Transport chiefs in the West Midlands say a new direct hourly rail service to the capital and electrified lines could add £500 million in economic value to the region.
A new feasibility study has been published today by transport body Midlands Connect which is calling for a direct hourly service from Shrewsbury to London via Telford, the Black Country and Birmingham.
At present, there is just one direct service per day in each direction.
It also wants to see the line between Telford and the Black Country electrified, meaning trains could run at up to 90mph instead of the 50mph to 70pmh they currently operate at.
The recommendations are contained in a new study called ‘Rails to Recovery: Building Back Stronger’.
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Its analysis suggests these changes could create up to £500 million of benefits for businesses and residents and create or safeguard 418 jobs to design and deliver the project.
The study examined a combination of faster and more frequent train services, including the potential opportunities associated with extending a future London to Wolverhampton service after the first phase of HS2 is completed.
As well as providing higher frequencies between Shrewsbury, Wellington, Telford and Wolverhampton, the service could offer additional links to Birmingham International in Solihull where passengers can access HS2, the airport or other destinations in the wider region.
It said this would have knock-on benefits for people using local services from stations such as Dudley Port, Tipton, Shifnal and Albrighton as there would be increased capacity and quicker journey times on improved rail infrastructure.
Midlands Connect said it planned to fund the next stage of the project development and this new report was the first stage in the process of building a business case to present to central government.
Chief executive Maria Machancoses said: “This work could create a rail revolution in the Black Country and Shropshire.
“I know from experience, using this train every day, how overcrowded it can be.
“The report lays out how businesses, commuters and residents will all benefit from an upgraded route as will our economy. This is the definition of a win-win project and can help take us from rails to recovery.
“We’ve started this process but we are picking up pace, and today is a first, critical stop, on our long journey.”