The newly-created Central route covers a major part of the national rail network. It includes a main link between the West Midlands and London, a key commuter line in and out of Birmingham and a vital freight route.

Within this route is the Chiltern main line between London Marylebone and the West Midlands, the Snow Hill line from Stratford-upon-Avon to Worcester, the Cross City line in Birmingham, and lines to Wolverhampton, Coventry, Walsall and Oxford.

Hundreds of thousands of passengers and thousands of tonnes of freight are carried by rail in this geographic area every week. Among those served are commuters travelling to and from work in Britain’s second city. It links international tourists to world-famous locations and carries freight on its way from one end of the country to the other.

It is home to Birmingham New Street, the busiest station outside of London, and the hub of the national rail network. With more than 170,000 passengers using it every day, New Street station helps connect the South West with Scotland and the North West with East Anglia.

Big railway projects are currently under way in the Central route’s area. The planned HS2 railway includes stops in Birmingham and Solihull. HS2 will provide much-needed additional capacity on the rail network and faster journeys for passengers. East West Rail will re-establish a rail link between Cambridge and Oxford and improve connectivity. Phase one between Oxford and Bicester is already open, with phase two between Bicester and Bedford scheduled for completion in 2024.

The Central route is part of the North West & Central region.

Map showing Central Route

David Golding
Acting route director, Central 

Main railway lines:

  • Chiltern main line between London Marylebone and the West Midlands.
  • Snow Hill line from Stratford-upon-Avon to Worcester.
  • Cross City line in Birmingham, and lines to Wolverhampton, Coventry, Walsall and Oxford.

Safety

We work closely with local communities to promote safety by the railway. Find out more on our community safety page.

Projects in Central