Walker welcomes launch of Worcestershire Rail Investment Strategy and calls on business community to back proposals

Robin Walker, MP for Worcester, has today welcomed the publication of Worcestershire County Council’s Rail Investment Strategy as part of the wider Local Transport Plan.

The document, which is now open for a public consultation period until 11th August, sets out an ambitious strategy to invest in the county’s rail network in order to achieve sustained economic growth, increased connectivity and reduced reliance on cars. The proposals will be used to lobby the rail industry for prioritised improvements, and Robin has urged local residents and businesses to get behind the plans to ensure they are delivered as soon as possible.

The strategy makes a compelling case for major investment in Worcester’s rail infrastructure, and particularly Worcester Shrub Hill, to enable this station to take its rightful place as the centrepiece of the county’s rail network.  The potential for a new station at Rushwick, and the much anticipated opening of Worcestershire Parkway will add to the city’s attraction, dramatically improving its accessibility by rail.

Having campaigned for the development of Worcestershire Parkway station for many years, Robin welcomed the focus on this and other infrastructure developments and service improvements suggested in the report. In particular, Robin welcomed the inclusion of a two-trains-per-hour target between Worcester and London Paddington as a cornerstone of the strategy, which the report anticipates will deliver Gross Value Added (GVA) of £21.2million per annum and 475 new jobs resulting from improvements to generalised journey time and the enhanced business to business activity generated by the new services. The addition of Cross Country connecting services at Worcestershire Parkway once completed is also projected to deliver a further £9.6million GVA and 250 jobs.

Commenting on the publication, Robin said:

“The Worcestershire Rail Investment Strategy provides a cogent investment and development approach for our rail network, which will bring about a step-change improvement in accessibility to key local economies and labour markets, cementing Worcestershire as a great place to work, live and do business.”

“I welcome the inclusion of the two trains per hour target to London, and it is equally important that the case continues to be made for a service under two hours in duration – something I have long called for. When I served on the Welsh Affairs Select Committee several years ago, insurance company Admiral advised us that the primary reason they chose Cardiff as the location of their new HQ was the rail connection to the capital in under two hours. Achieving the same milestone for Worcester will bring a whole host of inward investment opportunities to our city.”

“The regeneration of Shrub Hill is a further priority that I am glad to see features heavily in the investment strategy. For many years local residents and visitors alike have reiterated to me that the station serves as a poor gateway to our beautiful city, as well as lacking the passenger facilities expected of a modern rail station. I look forward to reading the detailed proposals contained in the Shrub Hill Station Masterplan later this year.”

“I welcome the continued focus on the delivery of Worcestershire Parkway, which will provide much needed relief to the city’s two urban stations and dramatically improve our accessibility by rail. This will make a huge difference for my constituents, as for anyone living outside the city centre the existing stations are hard to reach and nearly impossible to park at. For residents of St Peters, the Warndon Villages, and St Johns, this will be a station that will be easier to reach and use.”

“I fully endorse the Worcestershire Rail Investment Strategy’s aims and proposals, which I believe make a compelling case for major investment in Worcester’s rail infrastructure. I would advise people to read the strategy document and submit their feedback on the proposals via the County Council’s website. I would particularly encourage local businesses to help make the case for faster services to and from Worcester.”

“I believe that, if anything, these reports underestimate the potential economic benefits to our city, and the faster these proposals can be delivered the greater those benefits will be. It is vital that the Worcestershire business community joins the call for these improvements to be delivered as soon as possible.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

To download the Rail Investment Strategy report and submit feedback, see: http://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/info/20007/travel_and_roads/806/the_local_transport_plan

For Robin’s previous statements on Worcestershire Parkway station and train connections, see:

http://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-welcomes-another-milestone-for-worcestershire-parkway-station-will-help-thousands-of-worcester-people/

http://www.walker4worcester.com/two-hour-service-from-worcester-to-london-one-step-closer-as-walker-questions-transport-minister/

http://www.walker4worcester.com/big-breakthrough-for-fast-track-worcester-campaign-as-2-hour-service-appears-on-horizon/