Call for 24 hour rail to Birmingham International

Campaigning group say all-night services essential to improve airport links.

Rail campaigners have called for night rail services to be introduced between Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Coventry and beyond.

They point out that the current service is unattractive for staff arriving for early shifts and for passengers needing to arrive at the airport in time to check in for the first flights from Birmingham Airport at 6. 00am.

Executives at Stansted Airport, which competes with Birmingham in the European short-haul market, have called for the new operator of rail services there to operate a 24 hour a day rail service between Stansted and London Liverpool Street when the new East Anglia franchise comes into operation. Campaign for Rail has urged for a similar requirement to be put into the new West Midlands rail franchise which is planned to begin in mid-2017.

Demand for services to Birmingham International is likely to increase when the Resorts World leisure and entertainment complex opens for business later this year. Later night services would make rail an attractive option for potential customers wishing to travel to the site for an evening out. A fear that a concert will not finish until the last trains have departed is a deterrent to rail use.

Passenger numbers at Birmingham Airport increased 6.4% in the year 2013-14 with 9.7 million passengers using the airport in 2014.

Ian Jenkins of Campaign for Rail said it was important that rail services to Birmingham International were improved. “With Stansted pushing for a 24 hour rail service it is important Birmingham is not left behind. Meanwhile the various projects coming to completion around the Airport and NEC site mean it is vital to have good rail links. The NEC and Resorts World have a unique competitive advantage, being connected to a major regional airport and the national rail network.”

Campaign for Rail has discussed its proposals with Birmingham Airport, the regional transport authority Centro, Virgin Trains, London Midland and Network Rail.

Mr Jenkins added that “While there will obviously some issues that need to be considered, such as resourcing and the need to conduct maintenance works on the railway, but we hope that our suggestion can be given serious consideration.”