Birmingham business leaders jubilant on HS2 – but rail link does not go to the airport

 Birmingham believes it will benefit from the HS2 link. However, the rail link will not go to the airport, or even to the main rail station but under the plans, a new station will be built in Curzon Street, which is about a 15-minute walk from New Street Station. This is the so called interchange station which is on the other side of the M42 and will be linked to the airport and international station by a people mover of which we know little else but it could be a futuristic monorail or something similar …  Birmingham Friends of the Earth want money spent on transport within the city – what is the point in a super-fast link to London if it takes an hour to reach the station, across the suburbs?

10 January 2012

HS2 link to unleash ‘held back’ Birmingham

By Clare Lissaman  (BBC News)

Birmingham business leaders say a new high-speed rail link which will cut the journey time to London to 49 minutes will “transform” England’s second city.

The government has approved the controversial £17bn High Speed Two (HS2) link which could see a fleet of trains carrying passengers at 225mph (362km/h) between the two cities by 2026. Opponents say the planned rail line would cut through areas of outstanding natural beauty.

But Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said the link to the city had been a long time coming.

“Birmingham has been held back by its infrastructure and in particular its transport infrastructure,” he said.

“The most unique thing about the city is its geography – its location in the heart of the country. But this does not often feel like an advantage because of the difficulty of moving through and across the city.

“People’s impression is of a congested M6. The HS2 scheme will help the city reach its potential and change people’s perceptions of a city that’s not quite working in transport terms.”

A chamber survey of 200 of its members found 75% believed the link would benefit their business.

Mr Blackett said the rail link was expected to bring about 22,000 jobs to the West Midlands region as well as an additional 400 if Birmingham was chosen as the base for the railway’s maintenance depot.

He said there were numerous reasons businesses supported the scheme, including research claiming it would bring £1.5bn a year to the regional economy.

“It’s going to help businesses reach new markets in Europe and the growing high-speed network there; it will cut in half journey times to Leeds, Manchester and beyond – linking with the north as well as the south and it will also free up roads,” he said.

Distribution, manufacturing and freight firms, universities, professional and financial services will be among the main benefactors, Mr Blackett added.

Train ‘overcrowding’

He said, for example, the fast link would make it easier for law firms to take on business with London clients.

“It will also strengthen Birmingham as the natural meeting place for the UK and help the NEC remain as the top exhibition centre,” he said.

The Go-HS2 group, which includes the chamber, airport and city council, said the 100-mile link was a “vital catalyst” for job creation and the future competitiveness of the region.

Birmingham Airport, which is extending its runway, says the rail link will bring it within 38 minutes of the capital “negating the need for expansion elsewhere”.

Mr Blackett said the HS1 link, which links London St Pancras to the Channel Tunnel had brought huge benefits to the Kings Cross area and Kent.

He added Birmingham businesses had feared moves to “patch and mend” the existing West Coast Main Line would ultimately prove more expensive and would not increase vital train capacity.

“If you don’t believe the economic benefits and forecasts, you cannot ignore the problem of capacity and that the existing train network will be full within six years,” he said.

Trains to London were already often overcrowded at peak times, he added.

Under the plans, a new station will be built in Curzon Street, which is about a 15-minute walk from New Street Station, which is undergoing a £598m revamp.

……… and it continues …………

Friends of the Earth press release on High Speed 2:

High Speed?  How do we get to the station?

10.1.2012   by Joe Peacock

Contact Joe Peacock: 0121 6326909

With today’s announcement of the government’s support for High Speed Rail plans to proceed to the next stage of development, Birmingham Friends of the Earth raise serious questions over the impact locally.

The environmental campaigners are extremely concerned that without investment into more local rail and mass transit schemes, gridlocked roads and air pollution will remain a feature of the city.

Birmingham Friends of the Earth campaigner, Joe Peacock, asked “Is it more important to get to London quickly than to get from the suburbs into the city centre?

“It can take longer to get from some parts of Birmingham where there are no stations to Eastside where the HS2 station is planned than it will get to London by rail. If there’s extra traffic going to another 1000-space car park there, how do they expect anyone to be able to travel around the city?

“What would make Birmingham an attractive place to live and work is a proper integrated transport system to allow people to move around without getting stuck in traffic jams.

“The majority of trains will not even come in to Birmingham as they’ll just go to the Interchange station – with its 7000-space car park unconnected to existing rail lines and located by one of the most congested bits of motorway in the country. This is not a sensible way to plan low carbon transport”.

  1. Birmingham Friends of the Earth is an environmental campaigning organisation, who run campaigns on transport, energy & climate change, planning, waste and
  2. The High Speed 2 scheme’s environmental impact assessment showed that it will be broadly neutral in carbon terms (DfT ‘High Speed Rail – Summary of Sustainability Appraisal‘). This is because although it will take some passengers away from more carbon intensive domestic flights, it will generate many new journeys and will take passengers away from existing – less carbon intensive – conventional rail services (84% of passengers on the new line will be new trips or from conventional rail,March 2010 Command Paper, p92).
  3. Friends of the Earth is part of the Right Lines Charter group, which believes the Government’s High Speed Rail consultation and detailed High Speed 2 proposals are unsound at present the process and proposals for High Speed Rail should comply with four principles:
  • National strategy: High Speed Rail proposals need to be set in the context of a long-term transport strategy stating clear objectives.
  • Testing the options: Major infrastructure proposals, such as High Speed Rail, need to be ‘future-proofed’ by comprehensive testing against different scenarios. This will help identify the best solutions for genuinely furthering sustainable development.
  • Public participation: Early public involvement in the development of major infrastructure proposals, including High Speed Rail, is essential. People need to be involved when all options are open for discussion and effective participation can take place.
  • Minimising adverse impacts: High Speed Rail proposals need to be designed from the start to avoid significant adverse impacts on the natural environment, cultural heritage and local communities (including biodiversity, landscape, tranquility and access) during construction and operation.


Comment from an AirportWatch member:

The end of the HS2 track will not be at the airport and not even at the Birmingham International station (which serves the airport via a mass transit link that was in the 70’s a maglev system but as a result of that particular version not selling elsewhere had to be taken out of service as they could not / would not service the cars with spare parts etc resulting in the link reverting to a good old single decker bus to be replaced by a an Austrian-built cable-driven system in 2003) but at the so called interchange station (map shown on last page – rough version below – north is to the left and the airport is off the map at the bottom) which is on the other side of the M42 and will be linked to the airport and international station by a people mover of which we know little else but it could be a futuristic monorail or something similar …

see also

HS2 high-speed rail project gets green light

Date added: January 10, 2012

Justine Greening has given the go ahead for the rail link from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, on 10th January. It will cost at least £32bn. This is the first phase of the route on which high-speed trains will start running in 2026 and this first phase should be only the foundation of a future network. Opponents question the huge expenditure for time savings of just half an hour between London and Birmingham. Between 2026 and 2032 other northern cities (Manchester, Leeds, will get their high speed links from the Y shaped network. There will be huge opposition and anger in constituencies through which HS2 would pass, which will face the prospect of years of construction for no direct local benefit. Legislation to enable the building of HS2 would go through Parliament in 2013.

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