A major strategic rail hub in the West Midlands could create between 6,500 and 8,500 new jobs and ease lorry congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads, according to the scheme’s developer.
Proposals for an multi-modal freight interchange with warehousing and other development in southern Staffordshire are at an early stage but have the backing of Network Rail.
Due to the scale of the scheme, it qualifies as a nationally significant infrastructure project and will require a Development Consent Order, with approval from the transport secretary.
A map showing the project's location
The West Midlands Interchange, on land west of Junction 12 of the M6, would be linked directly to the West Coast Mainline - one of the country’s principal freight routes - and could serve Birmingham, the northern M6 corridor, Staffordshire and parts of Warwickshire.
Peter Frost , managing director of developer Four Ashes Limited, said: ‘A strategic rail freight interchange is something that has been long identified as essential for the future prosperity of the West Midlands region. The region’s strong logistics and manufacturing industries will need faster, more reliable transport links in future to attract global business and investment.
‘The Government too, strongly encourages what is known as modal shift meaning the transport of goods from road to rail, to help reduce transport’s carbon emissions and to provide economic benefits. It sees strategic rail projects like the proposed West Midlands Interchange as an important way to reduce the costs of moving freight and reduce HGV trips on the national and regional road network.’
A Network Rail spokesman said it was backing the plan as part of ambitions for multi-modal interchanges.
Four Ashes Limited said it will be talking to nearby communities, residents, businesses and regional organisations to work up plans over the next 18 months.
It intends to develop a masterplan, which will be the subject of a full public consultation this summer, and will help develop more detailed proposals for a second round of consultation next year.