Hereford rail passengers are particularly keen on ambitious plans to improve train services to Birmingham, according to an extensive new survey.

The Midlands Rail Hub, which regional rail research and development  body Midlands Connect calls “our flagship project”, will create a new connection between Birmingham Moor Street and the Southwest and Wales, enabling extra hourly trains to and from Hereford.

This will “provide a great interchange between future HS2 services at nearby Curzon Street”, according to the outline business case which the operator submitted to the Government this week.

“Subject to funding, the project could begin construction as early as 2025 and be completed by 2030,” it adds.


Coinciding with this, a survey by Midlands Connect of over 10,000 commuters from Hereford, Worcester, Birmingham, Leicester and Cardiff found Herefordians were the most supportive of the project, at 78 per cent.

Just over half of them – 53 per cent – think the project will improve their daily commute.

More positively, 82 per cent said it would encourage them to take the train for leisure, a concert, or meet friends for lunch – a figure topped only by Worcester, at 84 per cent of train users.

The billion-pound project is also intended to improve access to Birmingham from the East Midlands.

Interested in political goings-on in Herefordshire and beyond? Why not join our Herefordshire politics and local democracy Facebook group?

Or you can sign up for our weekly Herefordshire Politics e-newsletter, delivered free to your inbox every Friday.

Currently trains run hourly on weekdays between Hereford and Birmingham New Street via Ledbury, Colwall, Malvern and Worcester, a journey that takes around an hour and a half – which the project will shave up to 13 minutes off.

Midlands Connect chief executive Maria Machancoses said: “Some of our infrastructure is creaking and we need to build for the next generation.

“Everyone knows what it’s like to sit outside Birmingham New Street waiting for your train to pull in. That is because the station is gridlocked. Our plans will allow us to fix that.”

West Midlands mayor Andy Street added: “I will continue to press the case to Government so we can get the cash we need and start to get the spades in the ground.

“The sooner we get cracking on Midlands Rail Hub, the sooner passengers can reap the benefits.”

Plans are meanwhile under way for a new transport hub at Hereford railway station, intended to improve transfer between rail, bus, cycle, taxi and other forms of travel.

What are your thoughts?

You can send a letter to the editor to have your say by clicking here.

Letters should not exceed 250 words and local issues take precedence.