The man behind proposals for a new Birmingham train station has expressed delight the Government is revisiting the idea to relieve a looming rail capacity crisis in the West Midlands.
Murray Rayner, a surveyor heavily involved in the initial plans behind the successful regeneration of the Bullring, was speaking after Transport Alistair Darling signalled a new station was being assessed by Department for Transport officials.
Mr Rayner, whose Birmingham Grand Central Station blueprint is backed by Solihull-based engineering giant Ove Arup, said: "It is very good news that they are at last looking at this again.
"Our option will link to Moor Street Station and put all the transport options in a line. It would soak up capacity for years to come."
It is not known whether the DfT's major projects division has revisited the Grand Central plan or is working up a different scheme.
However, Mr Darling told The Birmingham Post last week that the capacity constraints around New Street were concerning the Department and refused to rule out any option to relieve the problem.
He pledged to make an announcement on the preferred solution this year.
Another option, backed by West Midland politicians, is a £1 billion tunnel underneath New Street, taking local trains on to new subterranean platforms and freeing up capacity for both commuter and intercity services.
However, Mr Rayner said: "I suspect they have looked at the money involved and realised our option, or something like it, makes a lot more sense.
"It really is the only option in the short term. In the long term you can think about building tunnels and all the rest of it but that is so expensive as to be pretty unrealistic."
Mr Rayner's plans would involve a site just to the east of New Street around Curzon and Fazeley streets. The land had been earmarked for a new city library but those plans have now evaporated.
New Street, Moor Street and Snow Hill would remain open as viable secondary stations to the central hub, which would be situated at one of the few places where the large number lines which serve Birmingham can be separated.
Currently, the lines have to squeeze into New Street's four-tracked throats, causing congestion and earning the station the title of Britain's worst rail bottleneck.
Mr Rayner, who came up with the Grand Central idea in the early 1990s and has been pushing for an official study of his plans ever since, still believes it is the only option for a viable main station in Birmingham.
"The sad thing is Birmingham has been a very adventurous city," he said.
"This, to my mind, is the final piece in the jigsaw."