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Work to deliver Midlands Rail Hub set to begin

Millions of people will benefit from more frequent rail services from central Birmingham and upgraded stations as work is set to begin on the Midlands Rail Hub, after ministers provided an initial £123M funding injection.

The transformational upgrade project is part of the government’s plan to improve transport across the region and beyond, boosting the capacity and frequency of rail services for passengers while upgrading stations across the Midlands.

More than 50 stations – covering seven million people across the region – will benefit from the plans, made possible by reallocated HS2 funding. The first phase of the Midlands Rail Hub will mean an additional train every hour in both directions between central Birmingham and locations including: Bristol, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Worcester.

This first wave of funding will enable design work to begin on creating space for extra services. This includes preparing detailed designs for the infrastructure improvements required, finalising operating plans for the new services, while continuing to move the rest of the programme forward.

The investment comes as part of the government’s Network North transport plan, which committed £1.75Bn to deliver the Midlands Rail Hub in full.

When delivered in full, the hub will see services on most routes increase by between 50% and 100%. Birmingham’s Cross-City line will be given a ‘turn-up-and-go’ service with a train every ten minutes.

Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands and chair of the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE), said: “The Midlands Rail Hub will deliver a revolution in public transport for our region opening up more capacity on the routes in and out of central Birmingham which will allow us to run more services to more places both locally and nationally.

“Midlands Rail Hub will also provide an opportunity for us to open more new stations and lines across our network as well as deliver faster journey times into central Birmingham from the new Camp Hill line stations that are currently under construction at Moseley Village, Kings Heath and Pineapple Road.”

The Midlands Rail Hub announcement comes as the British Business Bank launched its £400M Midlands Engine Investment Fund II, unlocking additional funding to help smaller businesses in the Midlands prosper and thrive.

The fund will drive sustainable economic growth by supporting new and growing businesses across the whole of the Midlands, increasing the access and diversity of early-stage finance for smaller businesses in the region. It includes a range of finance options with loans from £25,000 to £2M and equity investments up to £5M to help small and medium-sized businesses start up, scale up, or stay ahead.

The Midlands Rail Hub announcement also comes shortly after the government announced the Midlands will receive £2.2Bn from April 2025 to improve local transport connections in areas outside the city regions. The investment will give local authorities long-term certainty to invest in transport improvements such as building new roads and installing or expanding mass transit systems.

Over the seven years as a whole, this funding will be on average at least nine times more than these local authorities currently receive through the local integrated transport block, which is the current mechanism for funding local transport improvements in their areas.

Subject to future decisions, this first phase of the Rail Hub could be completed by the early 2030s.

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Photo credit: Network Rail Air Operations