(a third part) more on the Greater Birmingham CrossCity rail network concept

Having looked at the City Edge Hubs in the previous post, I wanted to focus in on the outer city transport hubs on a CrossCity network and the opportunities for these new strategic transport interchanges to transform their wider areas.

On CrossCity North the obvious one is Sutton Coldfield, a major town centre with parking and the opportunity for a major new bus interchange alongside the station.  From here you could envisage a Sprint route across to Coleshill and HS2 interchange serving Walmley and also the potential new housing planed for the edge of Sutton.  There is also the chance to focus in on cycling here – Bike North Birmingham is active in Sutton and with the park and the local demography, you could see real potential to drive up cycling round here with leisure bike rental to explore the vast Sutton Park and all kinds of additional bike facilities alongside the interchange.

To the East, Lea Hall is the obvious place for major improvements.  East Birmingham needs better service and there is a long-held ambition for an airport Metro route (the northern route, rather than the A45) that would serves Lea Hall and bring in much improved connectivity for a number of East Birmingham communities.  But Stechford would also be important – on the outer ring road and with the opportunity to follow the example of Adderley Park by building 2 new outer platforms to replace the current arrangement – enabling an improved station and accessibility while allowing space for through trains on the current tracks.  Both of these stations would also provide strong local bus links into a significant number of areas across East Birmingham.

To the South, Longbridge is the transport hub and has strong ambitions to develop that.  It is already seeing significant development and could provide a major southern interchange serving a much wider catchment area.  Again with the ambition this could be at the heart of a cycling revolution using Bike South Birmingham and urban realm improvement to greatly encourage more cycling and walking.

To the West, we would be looking at Sandwell and Dudley and Dudley Port.  Dudley Port would connect with the Walsall-Stourbridge link (the former South Staffs line) that is a long-hoped-for Metro development connecting in Dudley, Merry Hill and Stourbridge.  Sandwell and Dudley would provide a hub for Oldbury town centre as well as a focus for looking at how to integrate transport focused development with job creation and inward investment.  This would hopefully be encouraged by almost making the town centre face the station and drag it towards the station by highlighting the link between the station and the centre and developing it (high frequency buses and a walking/cycling route that is the heart of ongoing development and urban realm improvement).

There is a lot to flesh out in this concept but it has the potential to be at the heart of a long term plan for improving communities, connectivity as well as bringing new ideas for transport, public space/urban realm, accessibility and long term sustainable development.

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