Train travel time between Birmingham and Shrewsbury set to be cut by 11 minutes

Train times between Birmingham and Shrewsbury could be slashed by 11 minutes as part of a major transport plan to improve the region's road and rail routes.

The £15 million scheme will see existing tracks torn up and new ones laid, with engineers also be tasked with removing unnecessary ‘kinks’ on the route that currently slow down trains.

The aim is to make the route from Birmingham through the Black Country to Shrewsbury more direct. The improvements will see train speeds rise from about 60mph to up to 90mph, cutting the journey times from 56 minutes to 45 minutes.

Bosses at Midlands Connect, the region’s transport body, will submit a full business case to the Government for the scheme in the coming weeks, with a view to having the work under way by next year.

It forms part of a new strategic transport plan for the region, launched today at Midlands Connect’s annual conference, which sets out a series of key road and rail projects for the next 10 to 15 years.

The report also features a £30m upgrade to the A454 in Wolverhampton, as well as faster trains between Birmingham and the East Midlands, and road improvements on the A46.

The report says: "These projects, if delivered in full, will help provide up to £1.9bn more in regional economic output per year by 2040 in the Midlands, rising to £4.1bn per year by 2061 and support ambitions for 334,000 additional jobs to be created in the Midlands."

A series of main challenges are also identified, with bosses calling for major investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, alternative fuels for HGVs such as hydrogen, and creating more space for passengers and freight on the rail network.

According to the report, a "lack of mobility" in the region is holding back economic growth and productivity.

Midlands Connect Chair Sir John Peace said: "By working with our partners, playing to the region’s strengths and making a clear case for investment to Government, we can ensure that every single person in the region gets to where they need to be."

Maria Machancoses, Midlands Connect CEO, said: "This report outlines the schemes we think are needed in the short and medium term and as you can see there are projects in every part of the Midlands.

"As part of the report we also look at other projects and schemes we deem regionally important in road, rail and technological advancement.

"This plan lays out the priority projects for the Midlands in each of these areas."

It comes as the West Midlands Combined Authority unveiled plans to lobby ministers for the introduction of a national road pricing scheme in a bid to reduce car journeys.

In a joint statement, Mayor Andy Street and Birmingham Council leader Ian Ward said they wanted to move away from cars being the "daily default choice" of transport.

Last week it was revealed that car usage in the West Midlands is now higher than it was pre-pandemic.

Meanwhile the region's Metro system remains in turmoil having been suspended for the third time in nine months.

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