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Revealed: £2.7bn transport plan to revolutionise East Midlands links to HS2 hub station at Toton

  • Plan unveils new bus, rail and tram connections to the HS2 East Midlands Hub for over 20 villages, towns and cities, including Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Newark, Matlock, Mansfield and Long Eaton
  • Infrastructure investment central to region’s economic renewal post COVID-19 and support Government’s ‘levelling-up’ agenda
  • Investment will accelerate benefits of HS2 across region and support regeneration plans for 84,000 jobs and 4,500 homes
  • Region’s leaders back the plan to stimulate economic renewal and address figures which show East Midlands has lowest transport spend per head anywhere in the UK;
  • Initial £4.5 million required from government to develop proposals further.

A £2.7 billion transport plan to guarantee fast, frequent connections to the HS2 East Midlands Hub station at Toton has been published, promising to spearhead the region’s economic renewal post COVID-19 and accelerate the benefits of HS2.

The plan – published by a group of councils, transport bodies and East Midlands Airport – includes new and improved rail, bus and tram networks and enhanced road infrastructure. Under the proposals, over 20 villages, towns and cities across the East Midlands will have direct access to the HS2 station, including Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Newark, Matlock, Mansfield and Long Eaton.

The vision is split into three phases, with the first earmarked for completion by 2030, to stimulate development before HS2 trains first arrive in the East Midlands. These improvements are fully integrated with the work of the East Midlands Development Corporation, which has government backing to deliver 84,000 highly-skilled jobs and 4,500 homes at key growth sites close to the HS2 station at Toton, including East Midlands Airport, Chetwynd Barracks and Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station.

The East Midlands currently has the lowest transport spend per head of anywhere in the UK (£245), 49 per cent below UK average (£483) and less than a quarter of that allocated in London (£1019). If the East Midlands was funded in line with the UK average, it would receive £1billion extra to spend on transport each year.

Under this plan, the region will begin to see the creation of high-value jobs and housing before high-speed trains reach Toton, improving transport connectivity and social mobility for some of the region’s most deprived communities.

Phase One of the scheme, which could be implemented and operational within the next ten years includes plans for:

  • An extension of the Nottingham Express Transit system from Long Eaton to Toton Lane via two new stops at the planned Innovation Campus Development and HS2 East Midlands Hub
  • New bus services from the HS2 East Midlands Hub to Amber Valley, West Bridgford and Clifton;
  • Four rail services per hour to the HS2 East Midlands Hub from Leicester, Derby and Nottingham;
  • Enhanced road access to the HS2 East Midlands Hub via improvements to the A6005; and
  • New rail services between Mansfield, Derby and Leicester, with stops at Ilkeston, Langley Mill, Kirkby in Ashfield, Sutton Parkway and the HS2 East Midlands Hub, made possible by reopening the Maid Marian line to passenger services.

Phase Two of the scheme, which could be up and running within 20 years, includes:

  • A new railway station at East Midlands Airport and connections from the East Midlands Hub to Derby by tram or Bus Rapid Transit. The new station at East Midlands Airport would allow a direct journey to Leicester in 15 minutes, to Derby in 18 minutes, and to Nottingham in 26 minutes, vastly improving sustainable transport access for passengers and staff.

The final raft of improvements in Phase Three, which would be completed within 25 years, include:

  • New rail links to the South Derby Growth Zone and Rolls Royce site, as well as a tram-train serving Long Eaton, a planned housing development to the west of East Midlands Airport, Ratcliffe-on-Soar-Power Station and the East Midlands Gateway logistics site.

Sir John Peace, chairman of Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine said:

“The arrival of High Speed Two is a watershed moment for our region, and an opportunity that we must grasp with both hands. As we work towards an economic renewal post-COVID-19, the East Midlands must step forward and work together to secure the transport network, economic future and social mobility it deserves.

“This truly integrated transport strategy isn’t just about connecting more people to the HS2 station; it will also support the building of new homes, accelerate transformational regeneration and link some of our most deprived communities to nationally-important assets across the East Midlands. It means spreading the benefits of high speed rail to businesses and workers across the region, from our great cities of Derby, Leicester and Nottingham, to bustling towns like Mansfield and Loughborough and smaller communities that may otherwise feel HS2 won’t benefit them. Our message to Westminster is clear; support us in making this vision a reality.”

Cllr Kay Cutts MBE, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council and chair of the East Midlands HS2 Executive Board, said:

“The arrival of High Speed Two in Nottinghamshire will bring with it widespread regeneration, development and highly-skilled jobs. This comprehensive plan ensures that communities in our towns and villages can access these opportunities, and that the benefits of this investment are spread far and wide. This isn’t just a transport project, it’s about securing a successful future for our people, promoting prosperity and social mobility for generations to come. We need to work alongside Government to ensure that the East Midlands sees benefits as soon as possible.”

Cllr Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council, said:

“The opening of our new high speed network will be a game changer for the East Midlands, but it’s only once the East Midlands Hub is connected with growth sites and assets from across Derbyshire that its true impact can be realised. It’s essential that these plans are brought forward, vastly enhancing connectivity across the city of Derby and beyond, with new links from the train station to the city centre, on to Pride Park, and importantly to the HS2 station at Toton. If we do this right, we can future proof our transport network and enhance connectivity across the region.”

Cllr David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, said:

“This transport plan will connect every corner of Nottingham to new housing developments, leisure facilities, jobs and of course, the high speed rail network at Toton. We’re passionate about sustainability in this city, and by moving these plans forward we can ensure that everyone, including our most deprived communities have access to a well-connected, green, transport network.”

A Business Case for the Access to the HS2 East Midlands Hub project was funded by local partners and submitted to the Department for Transport in spring 2020.  The findings will be submitted as evidence to the National Infrastructure Commission’s Rail Needs Assessment, which will inform the government’s High Speed North Integrated Rail Plan to maximise the benefits of HS2 Phase 2b.

The partnership is now seeking an initial £4.5million in funding from Government to allow Phase One of this scheme to be brought forward to the next stage of development, including the production of more detailed project designs, engineering solutions and costings.


For more information or to arrange media interviews please contact Sophie Zumbe: / 07913343601

Access to Toton, the HS2 East Midlands Hub Report 

Access to Toton, the HS2 East Midlands Hub

Connections to Toton, the HS2 East Midlands Hub

The table below illustrates some of the new connections this project will create, allowing new or improved links to the HS2 East Midlands Hub from towns and cities across the East Midlands.

These frequencies and journey times are indicative estimates, and may be subject to change as the project develops.



Services per hour

Journey time to Toton HS2 East Midlands Hub (minutes)











Bus Rapid Transit





East Midlands Airport





via Loughborough (4tph) and East Midlands Parkway (3tph)








Long Eaton

Tram (NET)




via Sutton Parkway, Kirby in Ashfield, Langley Mill and Ilkeston




















Connections to East Midlands Airport

EMA – Leicester 15 minutes

EMA – Derby 18 minutes

EMA – Nottingham 26 minutes


It is estimated that the improvements outlined in this study will cost in the region of £2.7billion over 25 years, and will be split into three phases:

Phase One                        £455 million

Phase Two                       £1.2 billion

Phase Thee                      £1.05 billion

Phase One of the scheme can be delivered and operational within the next decade, prior to the opening of the HS2 East Midlands Hub, and would cost £455 million. For every £1 spent, this phase would deliver over £4 in economic benefits for local communities, enabling more than half a million local people to access HS2 and the associated employment opportunities nearby.

Phase One



Estimated Cost* (£m)


NET tram extension: Toton Lane – East Midlands Hub – Innovation Campus – Long Eaton



New bus services: East Midlands Hub to Amber Valley, West Bridgford and Clifton



Bus Rapid Transit: East Midlands Hub – Pride Park – Derby Railway Station – Infinity Park – Derby City Centre



Local highway access to East Midlands Hub: upgrade of A6005)



Motorway junction upgrade: Improvements to M1 J25



Rail connectivity to East Midlands Hub (Trowell Curve)++: four services per hour from East Midlands Hub to Leicester, Nottingham and Derby, made possible by the building of the Trowell Curve



Rail connectivity to East Midlands Hub: new rail service to East Midlands Hub from Mansfield, Ilkeston and Langley Mill, made possible by reopening the Maid Marian Line to passenger traffic


Phase One cost: 455 million

Phase Two


NET tram extension: East Midlands Hub – Derby



New railway station at East Midlands Airport: connected to Midland Mainline serving from Derby Nottingham, Leicester and Mansfield as well as some intermediate stations including HS2 East Midlands Hub and East Midlands Parkway


Phase Two cost:1.2 billion

Phase Three


New rail line from East Midlands Airport to Derby: via the South Derby Growth Zone and Rolls Royce site



NET tram extension: Long Eaton – Housing Development Sites – Ratcliffe Power Station – East Midlands Gateway


Phase Three cost: 1.05 billion

Total scheme cost 2.7 billion

*Estimated costs have been calculated using 2018 prices, including the addition of a 66% ‘optimism bias’ designed to cover rising costs and additional construction risk over the lifetime of the project. These costs will be further refined as the project moves into its next stages of development.

+Highways England to work with Midlands Connect and other partners to bring forward these improvements

++Scheme being brought forward by Midlands Connect as part of its Midlands Engine Rail proposals