£20m plans for railway station redevelop on track

A £20m plan to redevelop Solihull Railway Station could take a major step forward next week.

The borough council’s cabinet is set to vote on establishing a steering group to oversee the development comprising of TfWM, Network Rail, West Midlands Rail Executive, Chiltern Railways and the authority itself.

Councillors will also decide whether to undertake detailed options assessment for the integrated transport hub at the current location of the station and identify a preferred design option and develop an outline business case.

Council officers have recommended the cabinet approval the conclusion of a study which recommends retaining the station in its current location and evaluating options for a design.

The report rejected an option to relocate the station which would have an estimated cost of £40m.

The council has said footfall has increased by 32 per cent in the last five years from 1.4 million to 1.9 million passenger journeys per year, approximately 2,500 per day. The authority added that Network Rail has forecast a further 49 per cent growth to 2023 and 114 per cent to 2043.

A council document published ahead of the meeting said: “The existing Solihull Station is overcrowded and has become outdated as the principal gateway between the National Rail Network and Solihull Town Centre.

“It does not match the quality of the town centre or the ambitions of the borough for UK central and the local, regional and national connectivity needed to maximise its economic growth potential.

“Investment at Solihull Station is a critical element of the strategic public transport network essential for the delivery of sustainable growth.

“Passenger facilities neither match modern passenger expectations nor, critically, do they offer the capacity for the scale of passenger growth anticipated by the rail industry.

“The station currently suffers passenger congestion during peak periods of demand, which compromises its operation.

“Severe congestion is forecast in the next five years as passenger numbers increase.

“A new or improved station is essential in order to cater for this increased demand and thus enable associated economic growth.

“Delivery of a station improvement scheme, incorporating an integrated public transport hub that will accommodate short, medium and long term demand for rail access to and from Solihull is urgent, given the level of congestion anticipated at the station in the near future.”