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Midland Metro will become West Midlands Metro as services are taken over by Midland Metro

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'From Sunday June 24 [2018], the Midland Metro will become West Midlands Metro as services are taken over by Midland Metro'

It makes perfect sense in the twilight zone


Written by beleben

June 21, 2018 at 10:34 pm

Birmingham Clean Air Zone proposals fall short

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Drivers of the heaviest polluting cars face a charge of up to £10 per day to travel into Birmingham City Centre from 2020 under pollution-busting plans unveiled by council transport bosses, Birmingham Live reported.

[Details of clean air zone charge for Birmingham revealed and it’s not all bad for drivers, Neil Elkes, Birmingham Live, 19 Jun 2018]

Details emerged as the council announced a summer of consultation into its plans for a Clean Air Zone.

But, after much speculation, drivers whose cars meet the Euro 4 petrol standard – mostly vehicles made since 2006 – and Euro 6 diesel, mostly manufactured since 2015, will NOT have to pay.

However, the available documents published by Birmingham city council suggest that its preferred option for a so-called Clean Air Zone would not actually ‘bust’ pollution. The Zone would only apply to the area within the Middle Ring Road, and even within that zone, modelling suggests that ‘additional measures’ would be necessary to bring pollution within legal limits.

The notion that the CAZ-as-proposed is about ‘charging drivers of the heaviest polluting cars’ is fanciful. Because many recently manufactured Euro 6 diesels are themselves among the heaviest polluting cars.

Greenpeace Unearthed, 2018-03-02, 'Carmakers’ own tests show many of the newest diesels are still ‘dangerously’ polluting'

All in all, the currently ‘preferred’ CAZ looks like a rushed and amateurish response to the pollution challenge. Much more imagination is needed, but that seems to be in desperately short supply.

Written by beleben

June 19, 2018 at 10:13 am

Sprawl into the gap

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New designs for the ‘£286 million revamp’ of Birmingham International railway station have been revealed as Solihull council’s Urban Growth Company secured £9.27 million from the West Midlands Combined Authority to develop the project, the Birmingham Post reported. As its name suggests, the Urban Growth Company is tasked with urbanising the rural space separating Coventry from the Birmingham conurbation.

'How [revamped] Birmingham International station could look'

[New designs revealed for £286m revamp of Birmingham station, Tamlyn Jones, Birmingham Post 3 May 2018]

The images show how the station could look as transport chiefs bid to tap into the potential economic benefits of the new HS2 station due to be built in Solihull by 2026.
The vision for the Solihull station is to transform it into a transport exchange, bringing together existing rail, future high speed rail, air, trams, buses, rapid transit, private vehicles, taxis, bicycles and an automated people mover to create seamless connections with Birmingham Airport and the HS2 Interchange station.

Actually, the existing Birmingham International station has been a ‘transport exchange’ since it opened in 1976, and it appears to be in fair condition. The case for spending tens or hundreds of millions of pounds of public money on a vanity rebuild, has never been explained.

Perhaps some of the £286 million might be for fitting batteries to trains running through the station, as the official visualisation shows all overhead wires as having been removed.

Midland Metro Alliance, 'East Birmingham Solihull [tram] map'

The costs of rebuilding Birmingham International station, and a 2 km people-mover to Middle Bickenhill HS2 station, and a £500+ million Midland Metro tram link to Birmingham city centre, are not included in the HS2 budget. The full costs of HS2 are likely to be far higher than £55.7 billion, when projects like these, outside of the ‘core programme’, are taken into account.

GBSLEP, 'HS2 growth strategy investment programme

Written by beleben

May 4, 2018 at 9:24 am

Posted in Birmingham, Politics

One vision going forward

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Birmingham Conservatives have launched their vision for Birmingham City Council going forward.

Birmingham Conservatives, One City Vision 2018


They are concerned that suburban areas have not benefited from concentration of investment in the city centre.

But concentration of investment in the city centre was, and is, Conservative party policy.


So how are things going to change, going forward?

Written by beleben

April 19, 2018 at 11:37 am

Posted in Birmingham, HS2

The aggression starts here

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The planned HS2 station at Birmingham Curzon street is supposed to ‘regenerate’ the area around it.

HS2 Curzon site

But the area around the site is already largely rebuilt, as a result of plans which pre-date the HS2 project. In fact, some of the new buildings are in the way of the HS2 line, and are now scheduled for demolition.

HS2 Curzon site

Parts of the station site have been fenced off for preparatory works.

HS2 Curzon site

From the public highway, sawn-up felled trees can be seen inside the main compound.

HS2 Curzon site

Or at least, until the nasty and aggressive LM security man comes out, and starts laying the ‘law’ down.

HS2 Curzon site

Written by beleben

February 2, 2018 at 9:07 pm

Posted in Birmingham, HS2

Joy and bunkum

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In December 2004, West Midlands transport authority Centro “responded with joy” at the announcement of government approval for extension of the Midland Metro to Brierley Hill. It claimed the extension could “create more than 750 jobs“.

'Responding with joy' in 2004

‘Responding with joy’ in 2004

On 20 November 2017, the Birmingham Mail reported that “A major extension of the Midland Metro funded with a £250 million government grant is set to create 8,000 new jobs”.

So, what is this “major extension”?

[Jonathan Walker, Birmingham Mail, 2017-11-20]

Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the West Midlands will be the first to benefit from a new £1.7 billion “Transforming Cities” designed to improve transport within regions across the country, as she visited the EEF Technology Hub in Birmingham.

The West Midlands Combined Authority will receive the grant and is set to use it to fund a new metro line from Wednesbury to the new “DY5 Enterprise Zone” for high-tech businesses at Brierley Hill, running through Great Bridge, Horseley Heath, Dudley Port, Dudley town centre, the Waterfront and Merry Hill, before terminating at Brierley Hill town centre.

[David Wood, Conservative MP for Dudley South] said: “Independent analysis suggests it’s worth just over 8,000 permanent jobs.

“It means about 15,000 extra houses a year. Brownfield sites will become viable for housing development because of the improved transport connections.”

It’s the same Brierley Hill extension that ‘created joy’ at Centro in 2004. But now, apparently, it’s going to create ‘8,000 jobs’, rather than ‘750 jobs’.

Written by beleben

November 20, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Spending twenty seven million pounds on a tram stop

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twitter @RailLeaders, £27.5 million of WMCA (public) money to be spent on a tram stop

Written by beleben

September 19, 2017 at 12:24 pm