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Rail Strategy for Leicester and Leicestershire

Snapshot

Scheme: Developing a strategic rail plan for Leicester and Leicestershire, to improve connectivity to key regional economies, to ensure fast services to London alongside HS2 and to provide rail access for planned economic and housing growth.
Client: Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP)
Working Partners: JMP Consultants
SLC team: Mark Beckett, Ian Baxter

Details

Leicester benefits from fast, frequent services to London and some other cities, but its wider direct rail connectivity is relatively poor compared to similar areas. As they plan for significant economic and housing growth, leaders at Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council and the Leicester and Leicestershire Economic Partnership (LLEP) want to secure improvements to key services and to ensure that connections to London will not suffer after the opening of HS2.

In May 2015 they commissioned SLC Rail to help them understand the case for new rail connectivity and the supporting services and infrastructure, and to identify a clear set of priorities with which to lobby decision makers and funders.

Strategic Focus

In forming the rail strategy for Leicester and Leicestershire, SLC Rail focused on four areas:

  • Improving regional connectivity, especially to Coventry, the Thames Valley, Manchester and Yorkshire.
  • Maximising opportunities from the planned electrification of the Midland Main Line, including improvements to passenger services and securing services for the region’s strategic freight industry.
  • Achieving the best results from phase two of HS2, including protection of fast (classic) services to London and high speed links to the North of England and Scotland.
  • Incorporating access to the rail network into plans for economic and housing growth.

Action Plan

Most of the developments in the plan would require Leicester and Leicestershire to act in a facilitating and lobbying role, rather than as direct funder or promoter of schemes. For this reason, the action plan proposed in the strategy document is focused on developing partnerships with LEPs and devolved bodies, as well as political lobbying and rail industry development work.

Next steps

The strategy document was released for consultation in 2016 and the final version was formally adopted in February 2017 (see strategy document).

SLC Rail is continuing to work with the two councils and LEP to implement key aspects of the strategy.

Leicestershire Rail Strategy

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