Express & Star

30 million extra seats in huge Midlands trains expansion

Rail bosses in the Midlands have today unveiled plans to create 30 million extra seats on the region's trains by launching hundreds of new services.


The Midlands Engine Rail scheme will see more than 700 extra passenger services a day run through 60 stations in a bid to increase capacity and secure faster and more regular journeys.

The move could spearhead a construction boom that will safeguard nearly 2,900 jobs and create 720 new roles, according to analysis, while also combatting climate change by reducing road usage.

The plans have been proposed by transport body Midlands Connect, and come on the back of proposals for the electrification of the line from Shrewsbury through the Black Country.

Government investment is currently being sought for the Midlands Rail Hub, a £2 billion package of improvements to transform rail connections between the east and west of the region and into Wales.

Midlands Connect chairman Sir John Peace, said: "This series of projects will create a construction and engineering boom that will support critical sectors of the economy and protect skilled jobs.


"As we look to meet the challenge of climate change, speed the route to carbon neutrality and promote growth, it’s essential that we encourage our communities to reduce their car miles and travel sustainably."

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, said: "The transport benefits from the Midlands Engine Rail proposals have always been clear – more train journeys, a better-connected region, and reduced carbon emissions.

"But now for the first time we’re also able to see the impact these proposals will have on jobs.

"We know we must redouble our efforts to promote jobs growth across the West Midlands given the damage the pandemic has caused, which is why I have a plan to create 100,000 jobs in just two years.

"To do this we must make the most of proposals that not only safeguard existing jobs, but create new ones too."

The plans were due to be discussed today at a Midlands Connect conference.