Authorities across the West Midlands are pressing for Metro to be extended to deliver the maximum benefits of bringing high-speed rail to the region.
Plans are already being developed to use the current Birmingham city centre extension (Snow Hill to New Street) and build a new spur leading from Upper Bull Street across to Moor Street station and the forthcoming HS2 station.
Plans are also progressing to take the existing Snow Hill to New Street Station extension, which is due to open in 2015, on through Paradise Circus to Centenary Square.
These extensions are being backed by the HS2 Local Connectivity Group (LCG) which is made up of authorities, businesses and organisations across the region.
The LCG is also developing plans for fast transfer between New Street Station and Moor Street HS2 Station.
Benefits of HS2
A meeting of Centro, the region’s transport authority, next Monday (December 3) and will discuss a number of schemes designed to release the maximum benefits from high-speed rail in the West Midlands.
The HS2 Local Connectivity Group has put forward a number of schemes it believes will be essential to deliver the best economic benefits and ensure high-speed rail is integrated fully with local and regional transport.
Work is also underway on introducing SPRINT – a bus rapid transit system using tram-style vehicles to connect Eastside, Moor Street, New Street and the Broad Street area.
Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said: “Construction is already underway on the Metro extension from Snow Hill to New Street. Our challenge is to get the best from HS2 for people throughout the West Midlands and Metro is an essential part of that.
Local and regional benefits
“We must ensure local and regional services connect seamlessly with the high-speed rail network so that everyone benefits.”
Mr Inskip said HS2 would bring 10,000 jobs and boost the West Midlands regional economy by £600m each year. But he added; ““We know that using this capacity and fighting to deliver schemes such as extending Metro will more than double these benefits to 22,000 jobs and £1.5bn per year.
“HS2 will also release capacity on our crowded existing lines for more passenger and freight services,
Mr Inskip said an announcement on the phase 2 route north of Birmingham (to Leeds and Manchester) was expected in December.
Best deal for our region
“As the Transport Secretary said recently in Birmingham the Government is ‘cracking on’ with HS2. Our challenge is to get the very best deal for our region.”
The HS2 Local Connectivity Group is also examining options for a direct link from Coventry to the HS2 station at Birmingham Interchange (next to the airport and NEC)and for the design of Moor Street station to allow passengers to transfer from local and regional services from the Black Country, Birmingham and Solihull onto high-speed rail.
The Local Connectivity Package will be published in early 2013.