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East Midlands transport plan for HS2 station set out

Words: Laura Edgar
HS2 Toton station / Midlands Connect

A £2.7 billion transport plan that connects the East Midlands to the region's HS2 hub station at Toton in Nottinghamshire has been set out by a group of councils, transport bodies and East Midlands airport. 

Midlands Connect’s plan intends for the site to lead the region’s economic recovery from Covid-19 and accelerate the benefits of HS2.

It comprises new bus, rail and tram connections to the HS2 East Midlands hub for more than 20 villages, towns and cities, including Leicester, Nottingham, Derby,  Newark, Matlock, Mansfield and Long Eaton.

The organisations expect the hub to support regeneration plans for 84,000 jobs and 4,500 homes, as well as the government’s levelling up agenda. 

The plan is set out across three phases, with phase one set to be completed by 2030, which would “stimulate development” before HS2 trains arrive in the East Midlands. Midland’s Connect, the transport partner of the Midlands Engine, and the Midlands’ Sub-national Transport Body, said the region has the lowest transport spend per head of anywhere in the UK - 49 per cent less than the UK average - but this plan seeks to improve transport connectivity and social mobility for some of the region’s most deprived communities.

The works are integrated with the work of the East Midlands Development Corporation, which the government has backed. Its plans are split across three phases, with phase one including:

  • 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.
  • Work to the A6005 to improve access to the hub.
  • 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 would see a railway station built at East Midlands Airport and connections from the East Midlands Hub to Derby by tram or Bus Rapid Transit. The 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. This is expected to be completed in 20 years.

Phase three, which is earmarked for completion within 25 years, includes new rail links to the South Derby Growth Zone and Rolls Royce site; a tram-train serving Long Eaton; a 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 the Midlands Engine, said: “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.”

An initial £4.5million in funding from the government is now being sought to allow phase one of the scheme to be brought forward to the next stage of development. This includes the production of more detailed project designs and costings.

Image credit | Midlands Connect