All change – Shrewsbury Station is currently served by diesel-run trains,
which are slower and more polluting than electric
The scheme, proposed by Midlands Connect in a new report, will see the electrification of the line from Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton in a move that would see journey times cut and greatly reduced carbon emissions. A new hourly service would run from Shropshire through the Black Country and Birmingham to London, with trains travelling at speeds of up to 90mph – up to 80 per cent faster than they do now.
Transport bosses say the changes will increase capacity, slash journey times, boost local businesses and improve connectivity around the region. They claim upgrading the route will bring £377 million in time savings for passengers and £145m of environmental benefits.
The plans have been submitted to ministers and come after the Government announced a major shake up of rail services under new state-owned body, Great British Railways.
Maria Machancoses, chief executive for Midlands Connect, said: “This work could create a rail revolution in the Black Country and Shropshire. I know from experience of travelling myself and using this train every day, how overcrowded it can be. The report lays out how businesses, commuters and residents will all benefit from an upgraded route as will the economy. of our region. This is the definition of a win-win project and can help take us from rails to recovery. We’ve started this process but we are picking up pace, and today is a first, critical stop, on our long journey.”
The report says journey times on trains serving Shropshire will be improved dramatically. The service between Shrewsbury and Birmingham – passing through stations at Wellington, Telford, Oakengates, Shifnal, Cosford, Albrighton, Codsall and Bilbrook – would be cut from 56 minutes to 45 minutes.
The need to upgrade the line was highlighted last year after Network Rail was asked by the Government to draw up plans to remove all diesel-only trains by 2040. The lack of electrification on the first stage of the line from Shrewsbury means that currently, trains travelling to London need to change engines at Birmingham. The report says Midlands Connect will now commission a more detailed engineering feasibility study to see how the proposals can be progressed. It also said discussions were taking place over the proposed Shrewsbury Parkway station, which was first mooted in 2019 and would see a new station built near the A5. Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski welcomed the proposals, which he says will make real improvements.