Central to high speed future - Birmingham to be heart of high speed future

Artists impression of the new station adjacent to Moor Street Station

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis launched the government's intention to press ahead with High Speed 2 today with Gordon Brown speaking in Birmingham of being the "hub of these railways will be right here in the Midlands, the heart of British manufacturing", Gordon Brown hails high speed rail link plans for Birmingham.

The £30 billion network would start with a route from London Euston to Birmingham with trains running at up to 250mph, with future extensions planned for two spurs from Birmingham, one to Manchester and one to Leeds heading up towards Scotland.

The first section, the London to Birmingham section would cost approximately £15 to £17 billion and would start in 2017.

This is probably the biggest transformation of the railways and of the possibilities for economic regeneration that we have seen in decades, because Birmingham will be the hub of the new international and national network."

He added: "This is the most exciting development in railways, to get high speed rail to reduce the time from Birmingham to London to 50 minutes, to be able to go Leeds to London in an hour and 20 minutes, Manchester to London in an hour and 20 minutes.

"This is a transformation of the possibilities of rail travel, it will mean that more people use the railways and it will mean that the hub of these railways will be right here in the Midlands, the heart of British manufacturing." Gordon Brown hails high speed rail link plans for Birmingham.

The line into Birmingham is planned to go into a new six platform station in Eastside which will sit adjacent to the historic Curzon Street Station built in 1837. There will also be a second station, with interchange, close to Birmingham International Airport and the NEC.

The Government has looked at three optiions for the initial route from London to Birmingham and favours 'option 3' which crosses the Hughenden Valley through the Chiltern Hills - using sections of disused railway from the former Great Central Railway which have lain dormant since the 'Beeching' axe of the 1960s.
The Government says the route, which follows the A413 corridor, 'appears best to meet the Government’s objectives for optimising journey times and cost, and for managing impacts on the local environment and communities in an acceptable way. '
The other two routes are 'significantly inferior'. This route would run in tunnel from a rebuilt Euston Station, surfacing in West London to follow the route of the existing Chiltern Line, leaving London near Ruislip. 'The route would proceed largely in tunnel from the M25 as far as Amersham, and then continue to the west of Wendover and Aylesbury, partly in tunnel and partly following the existing A413 and Chiltern Line corridor.
'The next section of the route would employ the largely-preserved track-bed of the former Great Central Railway, and continue north to enter Birmingham close to Water Orton.

'The route would terminate at a new city centre station built at Fazeley Street in Birmingham’s Eastside regeneration area. '
From outside the city, the main line would extend north to join the West Coast Main Line Lichfield, enabling services to continue 'at conventional speeds' to destinations further north. Route unveiled for £30billion rail link with 250mph trains that will plough through heart of England

The economic impact is conservatively estimated at £1.2 billion with the potential to create 60,000 jobs but it should offer massive opportunities for Birmingham to work alongside London as a key economic centre for the UK boasting enviable high speed links and an easily commutable location. The Eastside of Birmingham will now be closer to the West End of London than parts of London and offer a real boost to the developments and ambitions of Eastside and Birmingham overall.

London to Birmingham would be the essential first stage of any British high speed rail network for three reasons. First, the transport corridors north from London will be amongst the UK’s most congested over the coming decades (as can be seen from the congestion maps reproduced in Chapter One). In conjunction with extensions to Manchester and Leeds, a London-Birmingham high speed line would relieve all three main rail lines and the major motorways serving these routes. Second, such a line would link – and transform connectivity between – the UK’s two largest population and economic centres. And third, it would provide the necessary foundation to serve destinations further north and through to Scotland from the outset. High Speed Rail Command Report, 2010.

Some critics have warned that instead of luring people out of the overheated South East it could instead turn Birmingham and the countryside surrounding it into dormitory commuter territory for business people working in London. While the easy access to London may offer some potential to commuters the line should offer a much improved link to Birmingham and it's manufacturing hub and the young educated population that Birmingham offers.

The new rail hub would also form the centrepiece of a major regeneration and development area in East Birmingham. This would be around 45 minutes from London’s West End, making East Birmingham more accessible to central London than some of the London Boroughs on the metropolitan periphery. This accessibility would undoubtedly help to attract new investment to the city and the Midlands generally.
Both London and Birmingham would also have much improved connections to airport interchanges by means of stations at Birmingham International (also improving access to the National Exhibition Centre) and a Crossrail Interchange station in West London (which would also connect to the existing national rail network and Heathrow Express, acting as a catalyst for regeneration and development in this relatively underperforming part of West London), High Speed Rail Command Report, 2010.

A few images and plans from the High Speed Rail Command Report for consideration:

More details and a summary of the command report can be accessed at the Department for Transport, http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/highspeedrail/


Natalie said…
This is a nice summary of the implications of the high speed rail coming to Birmingham. One thing to end is the waste of resources and money that comes with building the Birmingham City University campus and demolishing it in the near future for the sake of this rail line.

Popular Posts