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The Birmingham impact of HS2

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A few hours after the launch of its draft Mobility Action Plan, Birmingham city council held a webstreamed meeting of the Birmingham Economy and Jobs and Transport Connectivity and Sustainability Overview and Scrutiny Committees on ‘Maximising the Impact of HS2’ (Thursday, 07th Nov 2013, at 14:00, video, 3 hours 39 minutes).

At the meeting, council leader Albert Bore mentioned the HS2 ‘regional economic gains’ identified in ‘work by KPMG for Centro’, the Mobility Action Plan, and ‘the next [Midland] Metro route’, which would run from ‘Birmingham to (Elmdon) airport, the HS2 interchange [Bickenhill] and Coventry’.

Curious, because the BMAP draft didn’t say anything about a tramway to the airport or Coventry being a priority. It proposed only bus rapid transit (‘Sprint’), from Birmingham to the airport.

BMAP draft transport network (Nov 2013) showed Sprint (bus rapid transit) serving Elmdon airport, not Midland Metro

The BMAP is supposed to be designed around people’s everyday travel needs, which building a £800 (?) million tramline from Birmingham to Bickenhill HS2 and Coventry obviously couldn’t help with.

In 2008, the average West Midlands Urban Area resident made 0.38 round trips to London by rail, i.e. one return journey every two and a half years. Most of those journeys would have been from / to New Street.

BBC News, 'Birmingham - Coventry tramway to open ahead of HS2

Building tram lines to the airport has been a fantasy of Centro for twenty-five years, but demand is well below the minimum required to justify the investment, even with a Bickenhill HS2 station added in. One of the problems is that travelling by tram from Birmingham city centre to the airport would take about three times as long as by the current rail service; New Street to Birmingham International (the airport station), takes 9 to 10 minutes.

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Written by beleben

November 11, 2013 at 3:46 pm

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