A major campaign urging the Government to sanction the redevelopment of Birmingham’s New Street Station is being launched today.

The new initiative is being spearheaded by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry and is backed by Network Rail and other regional partners.

They are asking nearly 3,500 member companies based in the region to write to Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander pressing him to provide the people of the West Midlands with "a gateway of which they can be proud".

BCI chief executive Jerry Blackett said: "We are attempting to throw the weight of the region’s business community behind Birmingham City Council’s plans.

"I have written to every member of the BCI based in the region asking them to support the campaign.

"I have pointed out to them that as a major transport hub for the region, New Street serves over 31 million passengers a year, yet has received little investment from the Government to improve its services or facilities.

"I am asking them to write to the Secretary of State expressing support.

"In that way we hope to drive home to the Government the strength of feeling in the region."

In his letter to Mr Alexander, Mr Blackett says: "As a regional hub, the station serves more passengers every day than Gatwick Airport, yet has received little investment over the years.

"Investing in the station would not only make sense for economic reasons.

"It will open up new job opportunities, drive regeneration and offer the chance to secure the future of the regional rail network."

Mr Blackett pointed out that the transport department itself has made clear in a rail review that the regional network cannot cope with more demands without redevelopment at New Street.

He also spelled out a list of priorities needed to bring New Street up to date.

They include improved facilities and services for passengers; reduced congestion and overcrowding; driving the regional economy and growth; and helping to transform Birmingham and the city.