die belebende Bedenkung

Centro and Low Speed Rail

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When the Labour government announced High Speed Two in 2010, West Midlands transport authority Centro was quick to give backing – even though it’s supposed to be concerned with local public transport, rather than long distance schemes.

Centro’s support for high speed rail at the national level contrasts with its policy for the West Midlands, which is focused on Low Speed Rail, branded as ‘Midland Metro‘.

Midland Metro is the name used by Centro for its tram system – which consists of one line opened in 1999, running from Wolverhampton to Birmingham via West Bromwich, mostly along a former railway trackbed. This is called Midland Metro Line One, but could equally be described as Low Speed One – since a journey along it takes 35 minutes, compared with 23 minutes on the former Great Western railway in 1958. The railway used to offer fast through trains to other destinations – including Leamington Spa, Bournemouth, Shrewsbury, Oxford, and London – but the farthest that Low Speed One passengers can go is Birmingham, or Wolverhampton.

For many years, Centro have been trying to build a network of Midland Metro lines, including

  • a branch line off Line One running from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill (£300 million+), and
  • Line Two, from Birmingham city centre to Birmingham Airport (£400 million+)

but so far, the only extension to have been part-funded by government is a £129 million extension of Low Speed One from Snow Hill station to New Street station, which are 700 metres apart in Birmingham’s city centre.

Birmingham Airport (‘International’ station) is currently served by trains from central Birmingham (New Street), which take 9-10 minutes. The journey on Midland Metro to the Airport would take at least three times as long, fully deserving the title Low Speed Two.

Written by beleben

February 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm

One Response

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  1. […] it by a mode of transport that stops every few hundred yards? Like the old trams, accommodation in Low Speed One‘s new Urbos 3 trams is to be single class, and mainly for […]

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