Friday 10 July 2020

09 March 2018

A Shared Vision For the East Midlands

TfEM and Midlands Connect are working together on a common set of key strategic priorities that will help to address the historic underfunding of the East Midlands and support economic and housing growth:

  1. Making the most of HS2
  2. A Midland Main Line fit for the 21st century
  3. Improving access to East Midlands Airport
  4. A46 Growth Corridor & Newark
  5. A5 Growth Corridor
  6. Transforming East-West connectivity

Infrastructure Priorities - Midlands Connect and Transport for the East Midlands



We believe HS2 can transform the East Midlands, from the Hub Station at Toton and the Staveley Infrastructure Maintenance Depot, to connecting Chesterfield to the HS2 Network. But there is work to do before the benefits can be realised. TfEM and Midlands Connect are working to deliver the following objectives:


Starting HS2 services in 2030, three years early, and partially opening the Hub Station in the 2020s will stimulate the development of the planned Innovation Campus, with the potential for over 10,000 new jobs, and radically improve connectivity between the East Midlands and Birmingham.


Working to deliver Midlands Connect’s aim of integrating HS2, ‘classic compatible’ and classic rail services and making sure the East Coast Main line is ‘HS2 Ready’ to improve links to the North and Scotland.


Building road infrastructure around Toton to support the early phases of the proposed Innovation Campus, starting in the 2020-2025 Road Investment Strategy – and then building in wider capacity for further growth.


A package of plans to vastly improve access to the Hub Station and solve existing congestion problems through a combination of road, local public transport and mass transit solutions.


The long-term transformation of HS2 must go hand in hand with investment in the Midland Main Line (MML). The Government’s decision to cancel electrification between Kettering and Sheffield is a concern, and TfEM remains committed to a fully electric MML. However, we are keen to work with the DfT to make the most of the current investment in infrastructure and rolling stock, and to explore all options to ensure our rail network has the capacity to meet growing demand for freight and passenger services, including the potential for incremental electrification.


We want to make sure the proposed ‘bi-mode’ trains can deliver “Nottingham in 90” and “Leicester in 60” without losing key intermediate stops that support local economic growth.


With the next franchise award due to take place in 2019, we are working to influence future priorities to deliver a step change improvement in rail services, and to ensure that all rolling stock meets modern standards by 2020.


We’re pressing for the HS2-MML link to be operational for the start of HS2, allowing HS2 classic compatible trains to link the East Midlands with Northern Powerhouse Rail. 


East Midlands Airport is a major international gateway and economic asset, generating £268 million of GVA.

It serves over 80 destinations and has plans to double passenger numbers to 10 million per year. The airport is also the UK’s largest for dedicated air-freight, handling 350,000 tonnes a year with ambitions to triple that to one million tonnes by 2040.

The adjacent East Midlands Gateway Freight Interchange, currently under construction, will generate thousands of jobs accessible for people across a wide geographic area. The Gateway development has secured a comprehensive package of strategic and local highway improvements, which will address existing congestion issues as well as future growth – although dealing with wider pressures on the M1 corridor will still require a long-term strategic solution.

There is scope to radically improve public transport accessibility to the airport. In the short term, there are plans to improve rail services to East Midlands Parkway Station, combined with better bus links between the station and the airport. Over the longer term, there is potential to develop an innovative and transformational public transport link to the East Midlands Hub Station at Toton.


The A46 cuts across the East and West Midlands from the Severn to the Humber, and is key to unlocking major housing and economic development – particularly around Leicester, where a new southern/eastern bypass could unlock up to 4,000 hectares of land and relieve congestion on the A46, M69 and M1.

A Midlands Connect Strategic Study will establish how improvements in key areas could support job growth and housing, and relieve congestion across the whole corridor. In the shorter term, we’re pressing for an upgrade to the A46 around Newark to be prioritised for completion by 2025, removing a major bottleneck on the road network and helping to facilitate major housing and employment development within the town.

The A46 improvement is closely linked to the complex rail infrastructure in Newark. We are pressing for major investment to reduce conflicts between fast East Coast Main Line and slower Lincoln-Nottingham traffic, and to consolidate rail services serving Newark into one station.


The A5 through Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire is a key freight route and an alternative to the M6. It’s also driving major housing and employment growth – including the MIRA Enterprise and Technology Park, Phase 3 of DIRFT near Daventry and Magna Park in Lutterworth.

But congestion is a huge problem in several areas. Highways England has plans to address some of the worst bottlenecks, but they’ve been delayed. So we’re pressing for work to start as soon as possible.

Longer term, a Midlands Connect Strategic Study will look at the whole route to generate a wider range of improvements that can be taken forward in the Government’s 2020-2025 Road Investment Strategy. 


Through the Midlands Rail Hub project, Midlands Connect is looking to reduce conflicts between freight and passenger movements and make space for more trains.

This will be key to improving the existing poor rail connectivity between Leicester, Nottingham and Birmingham, and between Leicester and Coventry.

The East Midlands is the beating heart of UK manufacturing and has the highest proportion of manufacturing jobs in England. Exporting those goods, especially in a post-Brexit world, will be key to the UK’s long-term prosperity. Improving links between the Haven Ports and the distribution hubs of the East Midlands ‘Golden Triangle’ are therefore essential.

The A14 scheme underway in Cambridgeshire is welcome, but plans for improvements around Kettering have been delayed. We are pressing for work to start as soon as possible.


MIDLANDS CONNECT – Powering the Midlands Engine

“As the transport arm of the Midlands Engine, Midlands Connect has a clear goal: to drive economic growth in the Midlands by securing investment which better connects our towns and cities with each other, the rest of the country and the world at large.

Midlands Connect believes better transport links will allow the region to create more jobs, improve the quality of life of its 11 million residents and compete on the international stage.

From the Welsh borders to the Lincolnshire coast, Midlands Connect’s aim is to speak with one voice, for the good of the region we all love. Because when the Midlands succeeds, the UK succeeds.”

Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine


“TfEM brings together the nine local transport authorities in the East Midlands, providing collective leadership on strategic transport issues for the region. TfEM works to identify the transport priorities that will improve the region’s economy and wellbeing of its people and to influence key delivery bodies.

In doing so, TfEM is working with Midlands Connect to increase the level of national spending on transport in the East Midlands from a low level towards the average for England as a whole.”

Sir Peter Soulsby, TfEM Chair & City Mayor of Leicester


Together, TfEM and Midlands Connect can transform connectivity and accelerate growth across the East Midlands.

Midlands Connect’s landmark strategy offers immediate, early solutions as well as long-term transformational ideas to revolutionise transport in the Midlands, especially East-West connectivity, and helps raise productivity at least to the national average.

TfEM is developing complementary proposals to further boost the regional economic benefits.

Together, we can help achieve the Midlands Engine’s aim of adding £54 billion to the economy by 2030.

But our influence can grow further. Midlands Connect is forging ahead to become a statutory Sub-National Transport Body, which would give the partnership legal status and give unprecedented regional influence over major government investment decisions. TfEM is developing proposals for a key role in the management of the East Midlands rail franchise.

We can achieve more in partnership. And the more support we have, the more we can speak with a unified voice to get the best deal for the Midlands.