Midlands Connect wants to attract more passengers to the region's main airport by launching new rail connections to the Midlands and the north, and doubling a number of services to some towns and cities in the south.
The Birmingham Airport Connectivity rail improvement scheme will cost up to £180 million and aims to boost the region's economic recovery after Covid-19. Work is pencilled in to start in 2024.
Rail bosses in the West Midlands have today submitted a bid to the Department for Transport for an initial £20m to develop designs, planning and final costings.
It will open up new, hourly direct connections to Birmingham International and Coventry railway stations for people living in and around Derby, Sheffield, Doncaster, York, Darlington, Durham and Newcastle.
The project – one of seven schemes that makes up the £3.5bn Midlands Engine Rail programme – will also double the number of services to Birmingham International and Coventry from Leamington Spa, Banbury, Oxford and Reading from one to two trains per hour, and introduce new direct services between Birmingham Moor Street, Solihull, Warwick Parkway and Oxford.
Sir John Peace, chairman of Midlands Connect, said: "As we work to recover from the economic impacts of Covid-19, our international connections and relationships with other UK regions will become more important than ever.
"Providing a step change in rail connectivity to the city of Coventry and Birmingham International railway station, our proposals will enhance access to Birmingham Airport, the West Midlands’ gateway to the world, as well as the nearby NEC, Resorts World and Jaguar Land Rover.
"Integrating these upgrades into the existing network, with the arrival of HS2 at the adjacent Interchange station, will generate unparalleled investment and growth, creating jobs, thousands of new homes and more places to work, live and relax.
"Our proposals will benefit workers, residents and travellers, bringing two million more people to within a direct rail journey of these exciting destinations."
Nick Barton, CEO of Birmingham Airport, said: "Investing in infrastructure is now even more important than ever to help stimulate the economic recovery following the pandemic."
Midlands Connect and West Midlands Rail Executive are also looking at further works in the region that will allow additional local and freight services to operate.