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MIPIM 2014: £2bn Greater Birmingham transport plans take centre stage

The region's Local Connectivity Package – which was given the go-ahead in October – has gone on show at MIPIM.

The new Midland Metro tram

The West Midlands has announced a £2 billion package of rail, tram and rapid transit schemes to ensure it secures the maximum economic benefits from high speed rail.

The Local Connectivity Package – which was given the go-ahead in October – has gone on show at MIPIM.

Community leaders say it will enable the region to more than double the potential benefits of the proposed HS2 line by best connecting and feeding into the high speed rail line.

The package, recently ratified by the region’s Integrated Transport Authority Shadow Board, includes extensions to the Midland Metro tram system in Birmingham and the Black Country.

It will see new and upgraded rail stations, opening up rail freight lines to passenger services and the electrification of other key rail routes.

 

Geoff Inskip, chief executive of Centro, the region’s transport authority, said: “HS2 offers huge opportunities for our region and we intend to grab them with both hands.

“With the right local transport connections in place we can secure more than 51,000 new jobs and boost the West Midlands economy by more than £4.1bn a year, benefitting people right across our region.

“Having already secured more than £320 million towards this package we can now press on and build several of the schemes over the next five years or so.

“That’s a great start and we will now continue to work closely with the region’s Local Enterprise Partnerships and Network Rail amongst others to deliver the rest of the package.”

The £320 million already secured would be used to:

* Extend the Midland Metro tram from St George’s in Wolverhampton to the city’s rail station and from Birmingham New Street to Centenary Square

* Electrify the Walsall to Rugeley and the Coventry to Leamington Spa rail  lines

* Build a  new rail station and provide services at Kenilworth

* Expand park and ride sites at local rail stations

* Introduce a tram-style bus rapid transit system called SPRINT along the Hagley Road

* Upgrade the area between New Street and Moor Street Stations to create a “One Station” environment

* Improve cycle links

The schemes are earmarked to be built between 2015 and 2019.

Other schemes in the Local Connectivity Package include capacity improvements on the Snow Hill lines, the introduction of rail passenger services on the Camp Hill line in south Birmingham, Metro tram extensions from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill and through Birmingham’s Eastside district to the city’s HS2 station and a rapid transit link between the HS2 station at the airport/NEC and Coventry.

Potential funding sources for the schemes include Network Rail’s control period 6, the Single Local Growth Fund, Enterprise Zone, private sector developers, local and national government and HS2 Ltd.

The schemes would be delivered over a 10-15 year period, the equivalent of a £167 million a year investment in the West Midlands.

 
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