England

West Midlands rail proposals 'would create 4,400 jobs'

More than 4,400 jobs may be created along with a £370m-a-year boost to the West Midlands economy if three rail projects are approved, it is claimed.

Transport authority Centro has urged ministers to include the schemes when the government announces what projects are to be funded from 2014 to 2019.

Centro backs work on the Snow Hill line, the line to Aldridge and the route from Walsall to Rugeley.

They could bring economic growth worth six times the £60m cost, it said.

Electrification of the Walsall-to-Rugeley line would cost £30m, upgrading services and increasing capacity on the Snow Hill line £10m and building a new station and electrification of the line to Aldridge £20m, it added.

Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip has told Transport Secretary Justine Greening the projects were crucial to ensuring the region's rail network "better connects with and feeds into" the planned HS2 high speed rail link.

It added the rail industry has already recommended two schemes to go in a five-year plan called Control Period 5 - a £20m project to improve the Water Orton line and £35m plans to boost capacity from Coventry to Leamington Spa.

The Coventry-to-Leamington initiative could create more than 1,600 new jobs and boost the regional economy by £143m a year, Centro said.

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