The first tranche of cash for the £550 million redevelopment of New Street Station is likely to get Government approval by the middle of next month.
The man responsible for overseeing one of Birmingham's largest and most important regeneration schemes for decades said last night he expects Network Rail to announce a £122 million package on July 18.
Martin Chambers also revealed that two new tower blocks planned for the Stephenson Street entrance to New Street will match Beetham Tower for height, adding significantly to the city's soaring skyline.
One of the towers will be offices and the other residential, offering some of the highest apartments in Birmingham.
Mr Chambers, project manager for New Street Gateway, is confident the remaining elements of funding for the new station will be in place by October, allowing preparatory work to begin on-site before the end of the year.
A further £136 million for New Street has to come from the Department of Transport, while £100 million from Advantage West Midlands must be signed off by the Department for Trade and Industry.
Both decisions are expected by the end of the summer, bringing to an end the lengthy campaign for modernisation of the out-dated 1960s station which is struggling to cope with twice the number of passengers it was designed to handle.
The final element of the complex New Street finances - £200 million - involves private sector finance in the form of the construction of the two towers and a make-over of the Pallasades shopping centre.
Mr Chambers said he was "quietly confident" the main building work would begin at the end of January 2009.
The value of the scheme in terms of overall benefit for Birmingham, at £1.7 billion, is far in excess of minimum Government requirements for public sector investment. The Gateway scheme has a cost-benefit ratio of four to one, against a Department for Transport benchmark of two to one.
Mr Chambers added: "This is a compelling argument showing that New Street is tremendous value for money."
The first stage, to be finished by March 2011, will involve constructing a new passenger concourse one-and-a-half times as large as existing facilities. The second stage, which will deliver a 2,800 sq m atrium casting natural daylight into the station, should be complete by summer 2013. The new station will benefit from 42 escalators and 14 lifts, taking passengers down to the platforms from airport-style waiting areas. The finished scheme will increase capacity at New Street by 150 per cent, enabling 38,000 passengers an hour to use the station at peak times compared with a maximum 15,000 at the moment.
Mr Chambers, addressing a breakfast briefing meeting organised by Marketing Birmingham, said overcrowding would be a thing of the past and station managers would no longer have to close platforms for safety reasons.
He said: "By June 2013 we will be finished and Birmingham will have something that is world class and reflects the quality of this city.
"We have an inordinate amount of political strength behind this project. For the first time I can remember we actually have cross-party support for a major scheme from all 11 city MPs."
Critics, who argue that New Street should be replaced by a new station at Eastside, were wrong, he said. Mr Chambers added: "New Street is at the centre of the city and is in the right place. It will continue to be a rail hub in the Midlands."
He expects the Gateway scheme to deliver about 3,000 new jobs, chiefly in the service sector.