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Chair of Midlands Connect Sir John Peace comments on the Integrated Rail Plan

Published: Thursday 11 November 2021

Chair of Midlands Connect Sir John Peace comments on the Integrated Rail Plan

Commenting on Government's Integrated Rail Plan, Sir John Peace, chair of Midlands Connect said:

“Today’s announcement gives businesses and local leaders the reassurance they’ve been waiting for – that HS2 is coming to the East Midlands.

“Although these plans are different in some respects to what we’d expected, there are a lot of positives in here and lots of things to be excited about – a new high speed connection between Birmingham and East Midlands Parkway, direct links onto HS2 for Derby, Nottingham, and Chesterfield and a commitment to the Midlands Rail Hub.

“Now that we have certainty, we must focus our efforts on delivery. Our challenge to Government is simple, it should move as quickly as possible to get spades in the ground and bring benefits to local people sooner.”

On news that Midlands Rail Hub has received Government backing: 

“We welcome the Government’s words and its commitment today to the Midlands Rail Hub. We now need to re-double our efforts and move this project from planning to delivery. During the last five years, Midlands Connect has worked tirelessly to support the Government in making our flagship project a reality and today’s news is another important milestone.

“These improvements will create space for millions more passenger seats on the railway every year and provide a step-change in connectivity to Birmingham Moor Street station, opening up access to HS2 for communities in Hereford, Worcester and Bristol via the new Curzon Street station being built next door.”

“The Midlands Rail Hub will also increase capacity for rail freight, supporting our programme to create space for over one million lorries’ worth of freight to be moved onto our railway every year.”

Commenting on proposals for Toton: 

“These proposals mean that delivery of a new train station for Toton can start today.  I believe this provides much needed certainty to investors and will help kick-start the ambitious regeneration proposals in the area. The plans around Toton, the adjacent freeport and the wider Development Corporation could create 84,000 jobs and add billions in value to the regional economy; the developments cover the size of three Olympic Parks. 

Commenting on news that the Western Leg of HS2 Phase 2b (Crewe to Manchester) is going ahead:  

“Government’s commitment to HS2’s Western Leg is fantastic news for the Midlands, confirming our hopes that this vital north – south link, will go ahead in full. Now we have the green light, it’s essential that we maintain momentum, getting a clear timetable for the delivery of this part of the project and bringing forward the necessary legislation in Parliament to make it happen. 

“This will mean that we can release capacity at stations like Stafford and Stoke. This means the benefits of HS2 will be felt by hundreds of thousands of people across The Potteries and Staffordshire, including passengers that never set foot on a high-speed train.” 

On news that the East Coast Mainline at Newark has received Government backing:

This is most welcome news. The flat crossing at Newark is a huge bottleneck that limits our ability to improve rail services for local people. Upgrading this junction, as included in the package of enhancements to the East Coast Mainline will allow us to better connect Nottingham, Lincoln and other regional hubs.