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Go HS2 and London to Coventry

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West Midlands Regional Rail Forum, 'A world class rail network for the West Midlands', Oct 2012The West Midlands Regional Rail Forum is a “body of stakeholders from throughout the West Midlands with an interest in ensuring the success of our regional rail network”, composed of ‘local transport authorities, business, the rail industry (TOCs and Network Rail), the Rail Freight Group and, Passenger Focus’.

This month, the Forum has published its draft report ‘A World Class Rail Network for the West Midlands’. According to paragraph 2.1.1.3 of the report

Work by consultants CEBR, highlighted that long term growth sectors of the West Midlands economy, based on higher added value service sector activities, require a wide pool of high quality labour.

Passenger Focus, Centro, and Network Rail are among the Forum members that back high speed rail. However, on its website, CEBR described HS2 as “a triumph of PR over economics” whose sums “don’t add up”.

The Forum also presented aspirations for improved connectivity on the existing West Coast Main Line.

2.2.13 Improved Connectivity on Existing West Coast Main Line

2.2.13.1 HS2 will also release capacity on the existing West Coast Main Line for additional passenger and freight services and the West Midlands Regional Rail Forum will work with Centro, the DfT and rail industry to ensure to secure the optimum benefits of this for the region, especially in terms of: enhanced cross-regional connectivity local service capacity, frequency & service patterns access to the new HS2 stations new long distance links (including direct London services) capacity for freight growth

2.2.14 This will enable strategic centres such as Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Walsall, Solihull, Sandwell and Dudley to receive new and more frequent rail services, bringing improved connectivity and increased economic output.

2.2.15 As a minimum, following the completion of HS2 Phase 1, the West Midlands Regional Rail Forum also wishes to see the retention of a fast intercity service every 30 minutes between the West Midlands and London Euston with the following calling pattern:

Shrewsbury (1 train per hour)

Telford Central (1 train per hour)

Wolverhampton

Sandwell & Dudley

Birmingham New St

Birmingham Int

Coventry

Rugby (1 train per hour)

Milton Keynes

Watford Jcn (1 train per hour)

London Euston

In September 13’s article I explored Go-HS2 statements on how HS2 would ‘free up capacity’ on the West Midlands rail network for more local, regional and freight services. At present, there are three Virgin intercity trains per hour between Birmingham and Euston, via Coventry. The Regional Rail Forum’s aspiration is for two ‘fast’ London trains to continue on that route, after HS2 started up.

So as far as the West Midlands conurbation is concerned, the sum total of capacity freed up by HS2 would appear to be one fast path an hour, allowing perhaps two extra local passenger services to run between Birmingham and Coventry.

Written by beleben

October 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm

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