A planned high-speed rail line could put thousands of unique museum exhibits at risk, create electro-magnetic interference disrupting Birmingham trams and help thieves pull off a daring robbery, according to complaints submitted to the House of Commons.

These are some of the claims made in 1,925 official petitions opposing the proposed line from London to Birmingham, known as HS2.

One of the most scathing comments came from Birmingham Airport which warns the opportunity to create an exciting new railway station at the airport and the National Exhibition Centre had been squandered after plans for a "standard" park and ride station were drawn up instead.

However, most Midland organisations that submitted statements to the House of Commons said they backed HS2 in principle, as long as changes were made.

HS2 line would leave golf course with 17 holes

A committee of six backbench MPs will shortly begin the process of considering petitions from people or organisations directly affected by the planned £50 billion line.

Although the high-speed network will eventually run to Leeds and Manchester, the committee is currently looking only at the first phase, which runs between London and Birmingham and is due to open in 2026.

They will consider whether HS2 Ltd, the business set up by the Government to build the line, needs to make changes to its plans.

Birmingham Museums Trust, which runs museums including Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Soho House, Aston Hall, the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter and more, is worried about the future of more than 640,000 objects stored at the Museum Collections Centre in Nechells (below).

These items are worth hundreds of millions of pounds but could be damaged or destroyed by vibrations from the new line.

Museum Collections Centre, Saltley
Museum Collections Centre, Saltley
 

It said: "A diverse range of material is held at the Museum Collections Centre (MCC) including highly vulnerable, historic collections such as glass, ceramic, lacquered Japanese armour and artefacts, vulnerable wooden artefacts with loosely bound pigments held in place with natural products (egg tempera), oil paintings, textiles (antiquity to contemporary), natural history and historical scientific instruments.

"An outstanding collection of firearms is held under licence at the centre, requiring the highest levels of security.

"Radioactive material and objects containing other hazardous substances such as arsenic, mercury and asbestos also reside within the MCC.

"The cumulative value of the collection housed at the MCC amounts to hundreds of millions of pounds and the majority of items are unique and therefore irreplaceable."

But the material is in danger because of vibrations as well as dust and gas pollution, both while the line is being built and when it is up and running, the Trust told MPs.

Centro, the West Midlands integrated transport authority responsible for the Midland Metro light rail system, complained that current HS2 proposals threatened plans for Metro extensions.

It hoped to run trams from Birmingham city centre to the proposed Curzon Street Station, but HS2 Ltd's current proposals make no provision for this.

Centro also wanted assurances the signalling and power systems at the station, and along the line in general, would be designed not to cause electromagnetic interference which can disrupt the operation of a tram.

The Post Office was concerned about plans to dig a tunnel beneath a property called Merlin House at Castle Bromwich Business Park which is a secure handling facility where cash is stored.

It claimed tunnelling could lead to subsidence, creating "weaknesses in the building which affects structural integrity" and compromising the security of the building.

It also argued noise and vibration while tunnelling took place could stop security measures designed to detect intruders from working properly.

And it warned: "In addition, equipment used for the construction of the railway may be relatively easy to steal and could even be used to break [our] security."

Birmingham Airport raised a number of concerns. It criticised the planned new high-speed station, known as Birmingham Interchange, saying: "The design of the Interchange Station appears to be a standard 'parkway' design rather than a high quality station which takes account of the context of the area as an evolving new centre of economic activity."

Instead, it urged MPs to consider a "one station" approach in which the station would be connected directly to the airport.

It was also concerned about plans for "the large number of balancing ponds" on the station site.

These are used to prevent flooding but the airport warns they will attract birds which potentially pose a hazard to planes.

And the airport says that a planned people mover, linking the new station, the existing Birmingham International Station, the airport and the NEC, will cross a site earmarked for a planned 180-bed, four-star hotel.

The airport hopes to raise £3.5 million from sale of this land, it says.

David Winstanley, chief operating officer for Birmingham Airport, said: "Birmingham Airport recognises the benefits that high-speed rail would bring to the Midlands in terms of connectivity, jobs and increased economic activity so we fully support the development of the project as part of an integrated transport strategy.

"The intention of our petition is to ensure that the proposals maximise the economic benefits, are compatible with the future interests of the airport and that air and rail are treated as fully integrated parts of a public transport network."

An HS2 Ltd spokesman said: "HS2 Ltd has demonstrated its commitment to positive engagement with local communities, businesses and other interested parties through hundreds of meetings and consultation events along the route of the line.

"It is an important part of the process that all parties who feel they may be affected by the construction and operation of the railway are able to petition."