West Midlands can be the blueprint for how the UK gets the most out of HS2, says Transport Secretary

Transport Secretary Justine Greening in Birmingham today after her Yes decision for HS2

Birmingham and the West Midlands can be the blueprint for how the UK gets the most out of Britain’s new high speed rail network, Transport Secretary Justine Greening said on a visit to the city today (Weds).

The Secretary of State confirmed yesterday (Tues) that the HS2 network linking Birmingham with London, Manchester and Leeds will be built by 2033. The first phase of the £33bn project will be the Birmingham to London line due to open in 2026.

On a visit to the West Midlands on the morning after her landmark decision, she said: “Birmingham and the West Midlands can be the blueprint for how we can get the most out of HS2.”

Ms Greening met with leaders including Birmingham City Council Leader Councillor Mike Whitby, Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip, Centro chairman Angus Adams and Birmingham Chamber chief executive Jerry Blackett.

“Birmingham and the West Midlands will be at the centre of the railway network,” she said. “The job prospects are extremely exciting and I’m absolutely committed to getting the most out of HS2 in Birmingham.”

She said that the 45-minute HS2 journey from Birmingham city centre to London would be similar to many journey times just getting around London.

Ms Greening made the five minute walk from New Street station to the proposed entrance to the Curzon Street HS2 terminal and viewed the site, as well as the original Curzon Street station dating from 1838.

Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said the Transport Secretary had reinforced her commitment to local and regional services.

He said: “The announcement is great news for the West Midlands, but what’s also encouraging is that the Secretary of State acknowledges that local and regional transport is vital to make the most of HS2. We’re going to be working hard to get the most out of HS2 and deliver improvements in transport for people right across our region.”

Birmingham City Council Leader Councillor Mike Whitby said: “I was delighted that the Transport Secretary was able to learn at first hand the great benefits HS2 will bring not only to the country’s transport infrastructure, but also as a major catalyst for regeneration to Eastside, Birmingham and the wider Midlands region.

“We also discussed HS2’s importance within the wider plans to transform transport links within the city and Birmingham’s central role in ensuring the UK stays connected and moving freely.”

Birmingham Chamber chief executive Jerry Blackett said it was important to press ahead with HS2:

“The Secretary of State’s announcement was fantastic news for the city as HS2 will unlock vast levels of development and growth. We need to press ahead now and get HS2 through Parliament as quick as possible so we can get on and build it.”

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2 Responses to West Midlands can be the blueprint for how the UK gets the most out of HS2, says Transport Secretary

  1. Dave H says:

    Can you clarify a few points here? The journey time is now being quoted as 45 minutes – previously 49 minutes, and the distance generally quoted as 140 miles (the 2 existing routes are both 113 miles but HS2 does take a wide excursion to the North of Birmingham NEC, presumably adding to the mileage) A 49 minute 140 mile journey without stops requires an average speed of 171 mph. A 45 minute journey requires an average speed of 187 mph but allowing for acceleration the top speed must be substantially higher with a huge amount of energy consumption and a very short distance at the top speed. Add in 2 stopping points and the substantially lower average speed that can be attained over the short distances Euston-OOC and Bickenhill-Curzon Street and those on the train will experience substantial g forces. Have you the figures for this and the speed/power consumption profiles?

    The existing GW Direct main line route opened in 1906 has recently been refurbished to permit a line speed of 100mph, and express trains with limited stopping points are completing the journey in 87 minutes. A modest additional enhancement in signalling and track using existing technology, and existing trains should permit line speeds to be raised to 125 mph and based on WCML operation of a similar route a train averaging 105 mph should complete the journey in 65 minutes, to a choice of Moor St or New St Station, and, depending on the connections required a direct (10 minute) or 22 minute connection penalty. A 49 minute journey over this shorter route would require an average speed of 138 mph – 33 mph lower than the longer route proposed for HS2, and thus requiring a far lower maximum speed and severity of acceleration and deceleration.

    I also not a quoted 5 minute walk to Curzon Street. Checking the existing walking time advice for making a rail to rail connection from Birmingham New Street to Birmingham Moor Street the time quoted is 22 minutes. Curzon Street is more than twice the distance from New Street – even allowing for the time to get between platforms and station entrances (and v.v), This would suggest that the connectional time allowance for walking would be in the region or 40 minutes using the National Rail model, some 8 times the figure you claim Ms Greening and her party took to walk the distance. I may try out the route next time I am in Birmingham noting that at a brisk pace I manage a respectable 5 to 5.5 mph – so might say 1 mile in 12 minutes and the 0.8 miles would thus take 9.6 minutes assuming I did not need to wait to cross the major roads en route, and ignoring the penalty for using the steps on the walking route. The Walk-it Journey Planner indicates a distance of approx 1.1Km from the concourse at New Street to Curzon Street station. Allowing 3 minutes to get from platform to the concourse, and a medium walking pace this gives a walking time of 17 minutes For Moor St with Walk-It the distance is 0.4 Km and the time for a medium pace walk 9 minutes. As a regular user, who knows which platforms to go to at New Street or Moor Street the Walk-It times seem robust for a seamless interchange, but the National Rail allowance is more appropriate for a stranger making an achievable connection.

    I would be very interested to see the figures and graphical representations on which your article is based.

    • gohs2 says:

      HS2 Ltd and the DfT have now indicated the time is 45 minutes. This can be found in the HS2 documentation released when the Transport Secretary made her speech.
      Regarding the distance between Curzon St and New St we have been consistent in saying this is five minutes. There has been confusion and mischief about this, not helped by HS2 opponent Jerry Marshall who claimed a 20 minute+ walk on regional television. He walked the long way round from Millennium Point to New St. This was entirely misleading as the nearest HS2 station entrance is alongside Moor St and not where he claimed. The walk from Moor St to New St is around five minutes.
      Obviously discussions around connections/platforms (i.e. stepping off train-then getting on next train and it departing) etc. varies depending on services desired. A number of options are being explored to connect MoorSt/Curzon St and New St and work on improving walking routes will soon be detailed. As you are doubtless aware work will soon commence on the New St-Snow Hill Metro link.

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