West Midlands pressing for direct link from Coventry into HS2

WM authorities calling for Coventry-HS2 rail link

HS2 link

Authorities across the West Midlands are pressing for a direct link from Coventry into the planned HS2 Interchange station at Birmingham Airport.

Coventry is around eight miles from the forthcoming HS2 station, but a direct link would allow passengers to connect straight onto high-speed rail services to the North West, Yorkshire, London and Europe.

Benefits from HS2

A meeting of Centro, the region’s transport authority, next Monday (Dec 3) will discuss a number of schemes designed to maximise the benefits from high-speed rail for passengers in the West Midlands.

The schemes have been put forward by the HS2 Local Connectivity Group which is made up of authorities, businesses and organisations across the region.

It has detailed 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.

Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said: “Our challenge is to get the best from HS2 for people throughout the West Midlands.

High-speed rail network

“This means ensuring local and regional services connect seamlessly with the high-speed rail network so that everyone benefits.”

Mr Inskip said HS2 would bring much needed jobs and boost the West Midlands regional economy.

He added: “We know that using this capacity for more passenger and freight trains and fighting to deliver schemes such a the direct link to Coventry from HS2 will bring 22,000 jobs and increase economic activity by £1.5bn per year.

Phase 2

Mr Inskip said an announcement on the phase 2 route north of Birmingham (to Leeds and Manchester) was expected in December.

“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 calling for further Metro extensions to connect the HS2 station in Birmingham city centre and for the design of Moor Street Station to allow for 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.

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4 Responses to West Midlands pressing for direct link from Coventry into HS2

  1. Pingback: West Midlands preparing to unlock full potential of HS2 « hs2northwest

  2. This link would obviously be welcome, but where exactly would it run? Presumably from some point west of Hampton in Arden to an additional end platform? Or would there also be some kind of shuttle to places like Tamworth? Again, far more useful if connections were also provided from phase 1 to the Midland Mainline.

    Realistically – how useful is this going to be to get to London? Compared to the current 1 hour journey, let’s say this link takes 10 minutes, for a 10 minute transfer and then 38 minutes to London? So I save 2 minutes? It is only by the WCML becoming slower that a time saving of 15-20 minutes might be generated – so is this really just a mitigation measure.

    For greater time savings going south, the benefit would come through the provision of Old Oak Common (which also could have had a link with the WCML), rather than the high speed line itself.

    Coventry currently only has 1tph heading to the north, and that is now only to Manchester. So the real benefit would come after Phase 2. If hybrid trains could come off at BHX and then continue down through to (the by then electrified line to) Oxford and Reading, then this link becomes a completely different matter.

    In the meantime, frankly, I can save 15 minutes on a trip to London by cycling to the station instead of walking, but bike parking at Coventry is overflowing. Cycle racks cost from £30+vat to buy. When I see the £30 problems solved, I’ll be a lot keener about the £30bn ones!


  3. Chris Neville-Smith says:

    I think the benefits from a connection at Birmingham Interchange are more likely to be useful for journeys north myself, but I think this idea may be more trouble than it’s worth. Unless you route all Birmingham-Coventry trains through the new station (which has all sorts of problems), you’re going to have some connecting trains going to the existing station and some going to the new one. There’s nothing more annoying than not knowing which station you need to go to for the quicker connection.

    Coupled with the costs of building the extra line, I think the better option would be to either have moving walkways between the two stations, or simply relocating both BHI and BHX to the point where HS2 crosses the WCML.

    There again, if we provide proper rail junctions at BHX and possible Kenilworth, which I always thought we should consider, that opens up a whole new range of potential services. Not sure how this will be received by Coventry Council which seems hell-bent on insisting black is white and that services are going to be cut to 1tph in spite of the documentation showing 3tph, but you never know.

  4. Chris – problem with junction at Kenilworth would be a 125mph line turning onto a 250mph one. So you’d need a huge extension of 4 tracks to the east. Around the BHX site there is more flexibility, as trains are already slowing down. I totally agree about the two stations issue, I have the same challenge with two bus stops from my house to the city centre! Easier just to walk on that one!

    I also think there would be operational challenges with running what would basically be the equivalent of the Nuneaton shuttle as it currently stands. That’s why it would be better to have a Coventry spur as part of a longer link – either Reading trains terminate at the BHX site, or hybrid trains from the north continue south through it.

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