I have written about a proposed Birmingham Crossrail before but it is time to revisit for 3 reasons:
- HS2 is now moving into delivery phase and local and regional connectivity is vitally important
- The Northern Cities are making the case for major investment and we need to see the same in the West Midlands
- Jonn Elledge (of CityMetric) wrote about this subject and so this is a nudge to him to write about it some more (see him @JonnElledge on twitter)
So here we go, some basic drawing on a map screenshots…
Firstly, the city centre core – new underground tunnels connecting from all 4 points of the compass:
- from the North, after Duddeston heading into the city, diving under ground and into a new low level station at Curzon Street for the HS2 station and Midland Metro interchange
- from the East, after Adderley Park heading into the city, diving under ground and connecting with the Northern spur into Curzon Street
- from the South, after University heading into the city, diving under ground into a new low level station at Five Ways for the Midland Metro and providing better access either side of the ring road towards both Edgbaston and Broad Street/Brindleyplace
- from the West, a new low level station at Ladywood serving that inner city quarter and Arena Birmingham
The southern and western spurs connect and head into a new low level station at New Street. A new underground tunnel then connects New Street and Curzon Street, creating the Central Birmingham Rail Hub.
Now from a wider strategic planning perspective:
- the Western spur could also stay in tunnel beyond Ladywood to serve new stations at Icknield Port Loop and Cape Hill – areas of significant interest for regeneration and in need of improved connectivity and catalyst to boost economic activity and investment.
- the other 3 city fringe stations – Duddeston, Adderley Park and Five Ways – could also act as the catalysts for significant investment into those quarters to boost them given their good locations and potential to provide good quality housing that is well-served by public transport.
From a rail network perspective, as previously written, this opens up 3 Crossrail (or RER) -type lines:
- the current Cross City from Lichfield to Bromsgrove/Redditch, running north/south
- a new Cross City from Wolverhampton to Birmingham Interchange for HS2, running west/east, with a new spur from Birmingham International round to the HS2 Interchange station and serving the UK Central development
- a Rugeley (fast) into Birmingham and then back round to Walsall (slow) loop service and vice versa
- space for significant additional train capacity through central Birmingham
- unlocking major sites for development with much improved connectivity
- simplified route network with standardised service patterns
- much improved connectivity into HS2
- improved central Birmingham rail hub concept
- opportunity to grow the city centre out to the city fringe stations