Latest Rail News

28.03.14

Birmingham ‘will not accept’ basic HS2 station

Birmingham “will not accept” the boxy, basic HS2 station currently proposed (pictured above), the city council’s head of planning has told RTM.

Waheed Nazir, director of planning and regeneration, and the driving force behind the recent Birmingham Curzon HS2 Masterplan, described plans to ‘top up’ HS2’s budget to deliver a new station with locally-raised money from the council, businesses and the local enterprise partnership to achieve a station design of “international standard”. This is similar to what happened with the New Street station redevelopment, where Network Rail’s early plans were ‘upgraded’ once the city council and John Lewis came on board as partners.

Nazir described the existing HS2 station design proposal, as found in the phase one environmental statement and accompanying transport assessments (pictured below), as a “very simple box”, suggesting that HS2’s base budget “will not have the ability to fund a station with a quality of design that we’re talking about”.

diagram

Discussing the much grander station design envisioned in the masterplan (pictured below), created by the head of Nazir’s design team, an architect and urban designer by background, he said: “It may not ultimately be delivered exactly as the design we’ve set out, but it has to be something that gets international recognition. This will be an international station, and I’m not happy to accept, Birmingham’s not going to accept, a boxy, standard station which doesn’t meet the international standard we want.

“The architects are my staff, this whole masterplan has been done in-house by the city council, and it’s something I’m very proud of.”

3D Internal

He said HS2, up until now, has been focused on ensuring the plans for Curzon Street are “technically feasible” – but that it is the city council’s job to help deliver something much than just what is technically feasible, and something that helps regeneration and growth on the east side of Birmingham.

He said: “HS2 have been involved with our masterplan, which I presented to the HS2 Growth Task Force. It’s music to their ears, to be frank – the opponents of HS2 are very loud. This gives an opportunity for a city to show some leadership and show what HS2 can actually deliver.”

Station Aerial

The region’s passenger transport executive, Centro, has also criticised elements of the existing plans for the new Curzon Street HS2 terminus, primarily because of connectivity with other stations and transport modes – an issue which also animates Nazir.

Is in its response to the phase 1 environmental statement consultation, which has now closed and is being considered by the DfT, Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said he was “disappointed to see the lack of provision or mitigating measures in place to ensure the quality of the environment and the time taken for the Curzon Street – New Street interchange does not reduce the benefits to passengers of the faster journey via HS2”, and that the interface with Moor Street station “does not meet our requirements for a world class interchange facility, fit for the 21st century which is iconic and admired across the globe”.

RTM’s full interview with Waheed Nazir will appear in the April/May 2014 edition of the magazine. Subscribe here.

Waheed Nazir 1

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Nonsuchmike   28/03/2014 at 12:51

Of course Mr Nazir is right - and I don't live within a hundred miles of Birmingham. If they can plan and design an HS" route, they can do the job properly and integrate decent interchange links with New and Moor Street Stations as well as an imposing and iconic building for the City as an International Terminus. I applaud Brum's attitude of finding the difference in money to make a difference on the ground - would that more localities had that get up and fight attitude for their local stations and rail connections for their and other towns hard pressed commuters and passengers. Whilst they're at it, can they please explain exactly WHY a second tunnel from Moor Street to Snow Hill can't be bored?

Robert Stephenson   28/03/2014 at 15:33

The "design" proposed by Mr Nazir's team is a joke, and the only international recognition it will get Birmingham is as a laughing stock. The idea is quite obviously copied from the Water Cube by PTW/Arup at the Beijing Olympics. http://www.arup.com/projects/chinese_national_aquatics_center.aspx#!lb:/Projects/Chinese_National_Aquatics_Center/WaterCube_overview_1.aspx The current design for Birmingham Curzon Street is by a double Stirling Prize winning architectural practice, so I seriously doubt it will be lacking in design quality.

Jbzoom   30/03/2014 at 13:15

Oh dear, for every Director of Planning trying to do something better there is a curmudgeon claiming his effort is a knock off! The current design looks more like a knock off of London Bridge than Nazir's looks like a swimming pool. Sadly, neither of the designs is future-proofed for a tunnel to the South-West, which could ultimately connect Bristol to the High Speed network...

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