Rail hub would bring more trains
A 20-year plan to create a Midlands Rail Hub would see more trains on the Nottingham to Lincoln line, and the A46 dualled around Newark.
The proposals form part of a new report that predicts the number of trains from Nottingham to Lincoln, through Newark, will double.
The Our Routes To Growth report, unveiled by Midlands Connect and Mr Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, says trains between Lincoln and Nottingham are expected to double from one to two per hour, and take 45 minutes as opposed to 53.
The chairman of Newark Busi-ness Club Action Group, Mr James Fountain, said two trains an hour was vital, along with faster services to the likes of Derby, Leicester and Birmingham.
He said the club had been talking to those bidding to take on the service from August 2019 to see how they would achieve this.
Mr Fountain said he was pleased there would be money allocated to improve Newark Flat Crossing, which causes conflict between trains using the East Coast Mainline and those on the Nottingham to Lincoln line.
But, he reiterated the belief that the East Midlands was the poor relation when it came to the spend per head of population.
“The spend per head of population in 2016/17 was £70 in the East Midlands. In the West Midlands it was £150, and nationally the average is £249 per head,” he said.
“The East Midlands is the poor relation and always seems to miss out.”
Mr Grayling said: “These proposals capture the extraordinary economic potential and ambition of the Midlands Engine — focused on driving forward growth, creating jobs and delivering better journeys for passengers across the region.
This is why the government has invested £5m to help develop the Midlands Rail Hub.
“It is excellent to see Midlands Connect are committed to maximising the significant benefits to connectivity and capacity HS2 offers, as well as ensuring we capitalise on the biggest modernisation of the rail network since the Victorian era.
“The government will continue to work with Midlands Connect to develop these proposals to help ensure the region has the transport system it needs for a prosperous future.”
Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine chairman Sir John Peace, of Caunton, said: “The Midlands Rail Hub proposals can bring our great towns and cities closer together and accelerate the massive job creation we are seeing all over the region.
“The initiatives outlined in Our Routes To Growth are based on thorough research and detailed studies to identify which projects will give the greatest returns to rail passengers, road users and, most importantly, the regional and national economies.
“Britain needs a transport infrastructure that delivers more jobs, a better quality of life, and attracts greater international investment.”
The Midlands Rail Hub programme is expected to create 8,700 jobs by 2037, rising to 12,000 by 2044.
The project is expected to create the capacity for 6m more individual train journeys a year, boost the Midlands’ economy by £649m a year, and move £22bn-worth of freight from the roads to rolling stock.
The report prioritises the A46 at Newark and the dualling of the bypass around the town, something the business club says is essential.
The Midlands Engine is a coalition of councils, combined authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, universities and businesses, working with Government to help promote the region.
Midlands Connect, in collaboration with central government, brings together authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships.