West Midlands transport leaders meet to discuss reducing HS2 disruption

The potential for significant disruption to the West Midlands’ motorway and road networks needs to be managed during the construction of HS2, political and transport leaders have agreed.

Transport minister Jesse Norman, mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan, HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston, route managing director of London North Western for Network Rail Martin Frobisher, and representatives from the Department of Transport and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) met last Thursday at the inaugural meeting of the Resilience Partnership at the offices of the West Midlands Combined Authority, in Birmingham.

The group discussed how to keep the West Midlands open for business and support growth during the extended HS2 construction period.

Work is expected to begin on the line between London and Birmingham in early 2019, with some preparation works this year, and the first trains are scheduled to run in 2026.

Birmingham will see the construction of two new stations - Birmingham Curzon Street and Birmingham Interchange.

The work will be a huge operation, and will require a number of crossings to be built over the existing rail and road infrastructure, meaning that there is a potential for significant disruption across the region’s transport network.

The Resilience Partnership has been established to manage this disruption and develop a template for collaboration for other major investment programmes on a similar scale.

Between Euston station to Birmingham Interchange, next to the National Exhibition Centre and Birmingham Airport, will be the first phase of construction, and a spur will link this with Birmingham Curzon in the city centre.

Transport minister Jesse Norman said that the meeting was very productive, and that the group is keen to minimise disruption from the construction works.

He added: “HS2 will become the backbone of our national rail network, and improve vital connections between eight of the ten biggest cities in our country.

“It will deliver greater capacity for freight and faster journeys for passengers, boosting economic growth.”

Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority explained: “HS2 will be worth billions to the West Midlands economy once complete but to build it is going to be a massive undertaking.

“We need to establish how we deal with traffic diversion routes and how to keep them flowing, because they will have a critically important part to play during that construction phase.

“That is why it is so important that all the bodies involved come together to plan how best to cause the minimum disruption possible and keep the region moving.”

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Jake   05/03/2018 at 15:32

Curzon Street will be built practically alongside Moor Street. For the love of god, combine the stations into one single expanded transport hub, and build platforms on the New Street lines running along side for Cross City line trains to stop at, or we will regret not doing so!

Lutz   05/03/2018 at 16:50

I can not understand the proposals for Birmingham - the separate stations seems to cripple patronage from the outset by building into the design explicit barriers to integration with existing services. Anyone for a bet on Birmingham not achieving the outcome it has claimed HS2 will deliver?

Frankh   05/03/2018 at 21:50

Yup, I'm with you there Lutz. Why they talk about the motorway network being disrupted I don't know. Disrupt that lot and you'll log jam the area in minutes.

Noam Bleicher   06/03/2018 at 10:31

If you travel through, and interchange at, Birmingham New Street on a regular basis you will know why HS2 cannot be integrated into it. Its approaches are highly constrained and operating at capacity, and it hemmed in on all sides by commercial buildings such as shops and hotels. It would be incredibly difficult therefore, either to build a HS2 station adjacent to it, or to route HS2 trains into it. It will however be built immediately adjacent to Moor St so will effectively be integrated with it. I agree a Cross City station at Eastside would be a good idea. It would be easiest to build this on the flyover taking Cross City from Aston towards Proof House Junction. The question remains how to integrate HS services with New St. They are reportedly looking at this. I'd imagine they'll go for a combination of free transfers for one stop on the tram, with improved guaranteed pedestrian access through the Bullring at times trains are running.

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