Improvements to the region’s rail lines which would boost sustainable economic growth are detailed in a new plan from England’s Economic Heartland.
The Rail Strategic Objectives report, based on extensive engagement with stakeholders and building off the EEH evidence base, consolidates high-level objectives for both passenger and freight services – ensuring government, transport bodies and the private sector have a clear and consistent understanding of the region’s rail requirements.
Designed to realise economic growth and encourage modal shift to rail, the report contains a mixture of short, medium and long-term objectives.
They include improving journeys between places where rail connectivity is currently limited; creating strategic multi-transport interchanges, enhancing capacity and frequencies; better rail access to airports; and increasing freight flows, such as those between Felixstowe and the Midlands and North.
England’s Economic Heartland will now work with the sector to progress the interventions, including through the Wider South East Rail Partnership, a powerful new alliance which will bring EEH together with Great British Railways, Network Rail, Transport East, Transport for the South East and Transport for London.
Cllr Liz Leffman, Chair of England’s Economic Heartland, said: “EEH’s geography covers almost all of the major main lines on Britain’s rail network – with East West Rail set to cross them all.
“This report shows how we can make better use of the main lines for the benefit of our communities, businesses and the wider transport network – unlocking economic opportunities while offering a realistic alternative to cars and lorries to reduce emissions.
“The objectives are a mixture of relatively small-scale interventions and more significant schemes over a range of timescales, including for example increasing access to stations by creating multimodal hubs and enhancing capacity for passenger and freight movements.