The £600 million refurbishment of New Street Station is only the start of a public transport revolution for Birmingham and the West Midlands, the region's political and business leaders promised last night.
Partners behind the Gateway Plus scheme, which will transform the drab 1960s station, vowed to carry on campaigning for the Midland Metro tram extension through Birmingham city centre and the Black Country, and for an extended main runway at Birmingham International Airport.
Speaking after yesterday's announcement by Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly of a £400 million Government contribution towards the New Street scheme, Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby said: "This shows what we can do when we join together and get behind a project that unites people.
"But this is just the start. We will fight for the metro and for the expansion of Birmingham International Airport.
"A longer runway at the airport is desperately needed in order for this region to be able to benefit from non-stop flights to India, the Far East and the west coast of America.
"We are going through a formidable resurgence in Birmingham and we need transport infrastructure to support that growth. I shall be holding a major meeting next week where we will be looking at ways in which we might be able to push forward with the metro."
Geoff Inskip, the chief executive of passenger transport authority Centro, said: "Our next vision is the metro. It would be great if we could get the city centre extension up and running in time for the completion of New Street Station in 2013."
Mr Inskip said the two schemes - the metro and the runway extension - were vital factors in delivering the West Midlands' ambition to be a globally-recognised region of excellence.
Birmingham International Airport recently submitted a planning application for an extended runway, but a Government decision on funding for the metro extensions has been delayed until later this year and is dependent on councils entering a bid to run congestion charging schemes.
Yesterday's announcement by Ms Kelly drew to a close a campaign to redevelop New Street which began more
than 20 years ago. Surprisingly, the Gateway partnership is to receive £30 million more from the Government than was asked for.
The Department for Transport agreed to increase its contribution after studying revised options produced by Birmingham City Council which identified ways of improving passenger access through the main entrances and exits.
The approved scheme has a cost-benefit ratio of £4 of economic benefit for every £1 of public money spent - far in excess of the Government's normal benchmark. A £100 million contribution from Advantage West Midlands is the single largest investment ever made by a regional development agency.
When completed in 2013, the new New Street will have:
* Double the waiting areas for passengers who will congregate in airport-style concourses before descending to platforms in new lifts and on escalators;
* Created at least 5,000 jobs;
* Regenerated a run-down part of the city centre with new shops, and two tower blocks of offices and flats.
Ms Kelly paid tribute to the regeneration aspects of the scheme, which she said had been a turning point in convincing Ministers to back the project.
"It will bring real benefits to the whole area as well as to passengers using the station. This is something that has been well worth waiting for," Ms Kelly added.
She was, however, unable to say when her department might approve the four-tracking of the West Coast Main Line between Coventry and Wolverhampton - work that is vital in order to ease the bottleneck of trains waiting to enter New Street Station.
Although the Gateway plan will double passenger capacity at the station, it will not prevent trains from having to queue to get into New Street during peak hours.
Ms Kelly added: "There is investment of over £8 billion in the track network on the West Coast Main Line."
Network Rail planned longer trains able to carry more passengers, she added.