Herefordshire’s economy stands to gain by millions from improved rail services to Birmingham and beyond over the coming years, new research shows.

The “agglomeration benefit” to the county from the Midlands Rail Hub project amounts to over £14 million, according to analysis by regional transport body Midlands Connect.

This measure of the increase in scale and efficiency of economic interactions over the area shows Herefordshire benefiting most of all from the billion-pound project.

Detailed submitted to the Government in December forecast it will enable up to 100 extra trains across the Midlands every day.


Partially double-tracking the line between Ledbury and Shelwick north of Hereford, combined with major infrastructure improvements in Birmingham, will enable trains to travel more quickly and frequently between the two cities.

Midlands Connect chief executive Maria Machancoses said the project “has the backing of the businesses, communities and political leaders throughout the Midlands”, and that the economic research “shows the benefits reach every corner of the region”.


Speaking at Hereford Station, Midlands Connect’s head of external affairs Paul Butters added: “Ten minutes of the journey time to Birmingham might not sound a lot.

“But the business case we have submitted shows real economic benefit, due to the better access to Birmingham and other destinations. It makes Hereford a more attractive place to live, work and grow your business.”

“We certainly support this,” Clive Brooks, chair of the Herefordshire area for Hereford & Worcester Chambers of Commerce said.

“It’s vital for the city that we improve the frequency and reliability of rail connections. Those are the two main reasons why people don’t currently use the railway.”

Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for transport Coun John Harrington said: “We are working with Midlands Connect to bring these improvements, especially the rail dualling.

“If we want true ‘levelling up’, this is a key time to make sure we are not forgotten.”

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Hereford’s MP Jesse Norman, who is also a transport minister, said: “We want public transport to be as accessible and efficient as possible, as we do with cycling and walking.”

The impact will not be instant, according to Midlands Connect head of rail Karen Heppenstall. “Construction will start in central Birmingham in 2027, and we hope to have new services operating by 2030, ahead of HS2 reaching Birmingham,” she said.

The high-speed link to London will stop at Curzon Street station, while Hereford trains will arrive at New Street station opposite, rather than at Moor Street station as at present. Further rail expansion plans will improve connectivity to Leicester and other points east.

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“The benefits will ripple out from Birmingham, not least to Hereford,” Ms Heppenstall said.