AN extra train every hour from Bromsgrove to Birmingham could become reality if a billion-pound rail improvement plan is backed by the Government - but only if the controversial HS2 scheme goes ahead.

The £3.5bn Midlands Engine Rail, launched by sub-national transport body Midlands Connect, would introduce an extra hourly service between Bromsgrove and Birmingham.

Currently, during the day, there are an average of four trains per hour running between the stations but passengers regularly complain of overcrowding.

Made up of seven projects spanning the East and West Midlands, Midlands Engine Rail would be delivered in stages from 2022 to the completion of HS2 Phase Two.

Scheme backers say the plan would create space for 736 more passenger trains on the network each day – 32 of these services will run in to and out of Worcestershire.

Civic and business leaders are now calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to back Midlands Engine Rail and fund the next stage of its development - £45.5 million over the next three years.

Sir John Peace, chair of Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine said: “In the Midlands, more people are travelling on the railways than ever before.

"We now need investment from Government to allow our people, businesses and infrastructure to reach their full potential, and to drive a further boost in passenger numbers.

"Midlands Engine Rail is essential in creating a more sustainable, productive and mobile Midlands.

“My message to the Prime Minister is clear; it’s time you made a long-overdue commitment to the future of our rail network.

"Ten million Midlanders are counting on you; invest in their futures, turn our vision into reality, back Midlands Engine Rail.”

Sharon Smith, chief executive of Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber, added: “It’s essential that we take steps to update our overcrowded rail network, giving businesses the tools they need to attract skilled workers, visitors and tourists.”

Robert Nisbet, director of nations & regions at the Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail companies, said: “Millions of train journeys are made in the Midlands every week and rail companies are working together to improve services, with new and refurbished trains being introduced to run more services.

"Further investment as part of Midlands Engine Rail will improve journeys for passengers between towns and cities across the region and power economic growth by unlocking new business opportunities.”