News - 26 September 2019

HS2 Analysis reveals space for new commuter services

HS2 will free up enough space on the existing railway network to make new services between Nottingham and London Kings Cross, and Derby and Birmingham International possible due to released capacity, technical analysis by Midlands Connect has revealed.

Released capacity works by moving long-distance traffic from current rail infrastructure onto the new high-speed line, creating the extra room needed to improve local and inter-regional services. HS2 trains will also be able to carry 576,000 people per day, reducing overcrowding on the existing network.

Midlands Connect works in partnership with Network Rail and with the backing of 47 partner organisations including West Midlands Combined Authority, local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships including D2N2, chambers of commerce, HS2, and East Midlands Airport.

Through supporting projects like Midlands Engine Rail, D2N2 and other Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.

New rail services for D2N2

HS2 will transfer long-distance journeys between London, Yorkshire and Scotland from the East Coast Main Line the new high-speed network, making new services from Nottingham to London Kings Cross via Grantham possible.

This new service would be in addition to the existing Nottingham service into London St Pancras on the Midland Main Line.

The new Derby to Birmingham International service would also provide direct access to the National Exhibition Centre and Resorts World Arena direct from Derby, without needing to change at Birmingham New Street.

The Nottinghamshire stations of Newark North Gate and Retford also stand to benefit from more frequent services to and from Hull and Selby, and crowding relief on services to and from Leeds and London.

In total, 13 locations in the East Midlands and 73 nationwide could benefit from HS2’s released capacity, including 54 that won’t be served by HS2 trains.

Sir John Peace, Chair of Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine said: “The benefits of HS2 will be felt by millions of people across the UK, including passengers that never set foot on a high-speed train. Regional and local rail services are in desperate need of improvement and it’s time we face facts, without the space and flexibility created by HS2, the transformational change needed is not possible.

“It is the capacity released by the line, not just its speed, that will give the whole network a desperately needed overhaul. We haven’t built a new inter-city railway north of London in a century, piecemeal interventions will do no more than paper over the cracks of an overloaded, tired network.”

Released Capacity

The new benefits announced today (26 September) are in addition to Midlands Connect’s proposals to link Nottingham and Birmingham city centres using HS2 conventional-compatible services that run on high speed and existing tracks.

Over the past twelve years, the number of journeys undertaken by train in the UK has more than doubled. Government-sponsored studies suggest alternative upgrades on existing lines such as the Midland Main Line would require 14 years’ worth of disruptive weekend closures and would prove hugely expensive due to the proximity of existing settlements.

HS2 underpins transformational regional rail plans Midlands Engine Rail and Northern Powerhouse Rail, both of which require the released capacity and new infrastructure it provides. Neither would be wholly technically or financially feasible should HS2 be cancelled.

Media wanting more information about the D2N2 LEP can contact Luke Stott, D2N2 Digital Marketing Officer, on 0115 9578749 or email:

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