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"Quick win" changes to Midlands rail services proposed in House of Lords following dissenting HS2 report

Lord Tony Berkeley Credit: parliamentlive.tv

Lord Berkley has today (28 Jan) submitted to the House of Lords a list of “Quick Wins” for improving the rail services and capacity in the North and Midlands.

It follows Lord Berkley's hard-hitting 70-page dissenting report into the high speed rail proposal that was published earlier this month.

It listed several grave concerns, chief among them is hugely under-estimated costs.

Lord Berkeley is the former Deputy Chair of Oakervee HS2 Review, which was commissioned by the Government.

He suggests the "Quick Wins" proposed for the Midlands rail services are needed, whether HS2 gets built or not.

His proposed "Quick Wins" for the Midlands include:

  • Wolverhampton to Walsall: five new stations and services by 2022
  • Rebuild Kings Norton Station with more platforms for more frequent services
  • Camp Hill chords to allow extra trains into Moor Street Station from Kings Norton and Water Orton; new tracks to Moor Street and Sutton Park lines, making Moor Street/Snow Hill a second through rail route parallel to Birmingham New Street.
  • Upgrade Leamington station and improve NUCKLE (Nuneaton-Coventry-Kenilworth-Leamington) to allow more frequent trains.
  • Four‑track Dorridge to Moor St to allow more frequent trains and fast to overtake slow ones.
  • Start construction of new tram network in the Birmingham area to remove any possibility of performance reductions on the Cross Country lines via Landor Street and Kings Norton.
  • Start electrification and upgrade of Chiltern Mainline (CML) to create an alternative faster route between Birmingham and London. This would make use of the areas cleared by HS2 Ltd at London Euston for new platforms connected to the Chiltern line via tunnels to complete a new route to the West Midlands via Old Oak Common; thereby replacing the need for HS2 Phase One.
Credit: PA Images

Lord Berkeley claims that the "Quick Wins" would be complete or substantially started within five years.

He says these changes will only have "a small disruptive effect on passengers, unlike the much greater, more widespread and longer lasting disruption to both rail passengers and motorists which HS2 could cause".

Quick wins on the rail services in the North and Midlands are essential, as part of a 20-year rolling programme of improvements for commuters.

Most of these are needed whether HS2 gets built or not and are likely to bring greater economic benefit to the local economy of these regions than the intercity improvements proposed by HS2.’

– Lord Berkeley

The Oakervee review is due to be published soon, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson expected to make a decision on the future of HS2 in the coming weeks.