A new rail connection linking Leicester, Coventry and Nottingham could be put in place if transport bosses get their way.
A report by Midlands Connect sets out plans to reinstate direct rail services between Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham for the first time in two decades.
The proposals would cut journey times between Coventry and Leicester by 30 percent, and between Coventry and Nottingham by 35 percent.
The improvements would introduce two new trains each hour, also calling at Loughborough and East Midlands Parkway, made possible by a new “dive under” at Nuneaton, creating space for these services to pass through the area, alongside plans to improve line speed along the route, making journeys faster.
Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “I can’t think of two UK cities other than Coventry and Leicester, that are as close, yet so appallingly connected by rail.
“At the moment it can take up to an hour and twenty minutes to travel less than 25 miles, and passengers have to change trains half-way – it’s simply not good enough.
“We must now move ahead to create detailed plans for delivery, with the support of Government.”
Subject to funding, with costs likely to be in the region of £90-£100million, the first trains could run as soon as 2025, bringing benefits of over £170million to the local economy.
From over 3,000 people in and around Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham questioned by Midlands Connect, 87 percent supported such improvements going ahead.
Passengers currently travelling along the corridor have to disembark at one station, change platforms and board another, culminating in a slow, inconvenient service.
As a result, only three percent of journeys between Coventry and Leicester are made by rail, compared to 30 percent of trips between Coventry and Birmingham, which enjoys a regular, fast and direct rail connection.
Journey times along the route will be cut significantly, with trips from Coventry to Leicester falling from 54 to 38 minutes, while train journeys from Coventry to Nottingham will come down to 70 minutes from 108 minutes. Loughborough and East Midlands Parkway would also have new, direct and more frequent links to Coventry.
Coventry City Council leader, Councillor George Duggins, added: “There’s no other way of looking at it – here we have a missing link, a really important link between the east and the west Midlands, and this is our opportunity to reforge it.
“These plans will open up Coventry, its jobs, leisure destinations and universities to communities across the East Midlands and vice versa.
“Turning these plans into reality is an essential step in boosting prosperity and public transport use across our region – let’s get on with it.”