Latest Rail News


Government commits £97m to Midland Metro Eastside extension

Central government has vowed to earmark an extra £97m for the Metro Eastside extension, subject to a business case, as part of the West Midlands major £1bn devolution package.

The deal, announced yesterday, will inject £36.5m into the region every year for 30 years, a part of which will be focused on its new transport strategy.

But the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) will also receive extra Whitehall support to develop a rail delivery plan, including a further Metro extension eastwards from Curzon Street to the HS2 Interchange station (near Birmingham Airport) and westwards to Brierley Hill, between Dudley and Stourbridge.

John Lewis Partnership managing director Andy Street, who chairs the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, said the £97m for the Eastside extension was “secured”, and told the Birmingham Mail that “the government is very supportive of the Metro extensions to Brierley Hill and Interchange. We are talking about the full suite in support of HS2.”

That further extension is not yet confirmed.

But the agreed Digbeth/Eastside extension will support the first part of the HS2 Growth Strategy, since it will see trams running between Bull Street/Corporation Street, via Albert Street and onto the forthcoming HS2 station at Curzon Street. From there, the tram will travel to New Canal Street and Meriden Street into High Street Deritend, stopping at Digbeth Coach station and the Custard Factory and terminating at Adderley Street.

Subject to a successful business case, Centro will receive Whitehall’s stamp to construct and operate the route, meaning the extension line could be open by 2023.

The route for an Eastside extension through the heart of Digbeth was chosen in March of this year following extensive public consultation, with around 74% of people voting for a High Street option rather than an alternative path along Fazeley Street.

The government has also pledged to fund the Curzon Street Enterprise Zone extension, which will incorporate the new HS2 station as part of the area’s regeneration programme.

Commenting on the news, Darra Singh, head of local and public services at Ernst & Young LLP, one of the world’s largest professional services firms, said: “The deal for the Midlands, worth £1.1bn, is the largest devolution finance package handed down to date, and it’s particularly encouraging that additional funds of £97m have been earmarked to further extend the Midlands Metro tramline and to maximise the impact of the HS2 rail link.

“These deals should perhaps be viewed as a starting point on which to build on and it will be interesting to see whether, like Manchester, the region’s leaders go back to government with even more proposals over the short to medium-term.”

As part of the region’s devolution deal, announced yesterday (18 November) as council leaders signed an agreement with the chancellor, a new metro-mayor will take the reins of local transport budgets from 2017.

The mayor, who will sit as combined authority chair, will support the region’s delivery of smart and integrated ticketing across all constituent councils.

And the West Midlands will also be tasked with supporting other ambitions of the HS2 Growth Strategy and the emerging West Midlands Strategic Transport Plan.

A multi-year settlement for the region’s transport budget will be consolidated at next week’s Spending Review.


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >