Government approval for trams through Birmingham city centre

By on 18/03/2010 in News

metro map~3543990Exciting plans to run 21st century trams through the streets of Birmingham city centre took an important step forward today after being given initial funding approval by the Government.
The announcement shows the Department for Transport's commitment for the £127.1 million scheme which will see Midland Metro trams exit Snow Hill Station and glide through the heart of the shopping district before terminating outside a rebuilt and futuristic New Street Station.
The joint project by Centro, the region's transport authority, Birmingham City and the Black Country councils, will revolutionise the way people travel around the city giving a fast link between Birmingham's two major rail stations.
It will also provide a much needed quick and easy connection from New Street to the emerging business district at Snow Hill, the unique and historic Jewellery Quarter and out into the Black Country on the existing Midland Metro line.
In welcoming today's announcement, Geoff Inskip, Chief Executive of Centro said:
“This announcement is good news for people living in Birmingham and the Black Country as it shows the Government's support for the project and their backing of the business case which is an important first part of the approval process.
“We're very keen to start work so we can bring the massive benefits of Midland Metro tram system through the city to residents and visitors to the West Midlands – transforming public transport in Birmingham and helping to create an even more attractive, modern and vibrant environment in the city centre.
“We will continue our close working with the Department for Transport so we can finalise the funding. We look forward to the Government's support to achieve this in the very near future.”
The extension will play a key role in linking Birmingham city centre's main stations including the new High Speed rail station announced by the Government last week, making it much easier for people to access all rail services.
The extension is forecast to boost the regional economy by £50 million a year and create up to 1,300 sustainable new jobs.
Additionally, the project is set to see a fleet of cutting edge trams, replacing those presently running on the line between Snow Hill and Wolverhampton, the construction of a new maintenance depot at Wednesbury and platform lengthening at existing Metro stops.
The new trams will bring major benefits to Metro in the Black Country, increasing passenger capacity and frequency of service.
The announcement is an important step forward in the plan to transform public transport in the city centre and propel Birmingham towards its goal of becoming a global city. One of the other key elements, the £600 million Gateway redevelopment of New Street Station, was given the go-ahead last year.
Cllr Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council said: “Metro is the just the latest piece in the jigsaw which when complete will see the total overhaul of how transportation works in Birmingham, making the city easier to navigate and more appealing to everyone who lives, works or plays in it.

“Operating alongside the £600m New Street Gateway, the airport extension, High Speed Rail, our £2.7bn highways Pfi, and improvements to bus services and secondary rail services, Metro will play a key role in making the city more accessible to residents and even more attractive to the global investors that are already noticing Birmingham's potential.”
The trams will follow a route from the existing Metro terminus at Snow Hill, along a £9 million viaduct already built by developer Ballymore, down Upper Bull Street and Corporation Street and on to Stephenson Street stopping outside a new entrance at New Street Station.
Cllr Neville Patten, West Midlands Transport Champion and Leader of Wolverhampton City Council said: “This is fantastic news that will provide a major boost to the whole region. The Metro extension in Birmingham will provide wider benefits for the whole of the Black Country. The brand new trams will provide increased capacity and greater frequency, making it easier and convenient for passengers to use the service.”
These latest developments in bringing forward the Metro extension have also been welcomed by Birmingham City Centre's Retail Business Improvement District'.
Alan Chatham, Chairman of Retail Birmingham said: “We welcome this announcement as the extension will deliver 3.5 million passengers a year right into the heart of the city's shopping district. It will also improve connectivity across the city centre, making it easier for people to explore more of Birmingham's retail district.”

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There Are 5 Brilliant Comments

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  1. john says:

    what a waste of money, use buses to move people from snow hill to new st.
    we need metro links from the suburbs e.g. coventry road etc and / or an outer circle metro.
    the outer circle route by bus i took 30 years ago took 50 minutes , it now takes 90 minutes.
    spend some of this on our rail stations which are in poor condition.
    tysley used to be a thriving station now its a ghost station which you would want to avoid in the dark evenings how many other stations are like this? small heath and bordesley spring to mind as well.

  2. Robin Clarke says:

    The airline industry is on the point of disappearance (more than it knows); the government is going broke (more than it admits); the taxpayers are going broke (more than they admit to themselves); indeed the nation in general is about to go down the financial tubes. And yet here in the la-la land of political “vision” all these bright fantastic grandiose “sustainable” delusions continue ever grander. The 21st century future? We’ll be lucky to have enough anvils and harnesses, let alone any place to push off all the rotting 2010 Lamborghinis etc to.

  3. I agree with John. An extension from Snowhill to New Street is not needed at all. It will not benefit anybody.
    I don’t think adding a metro to our already busy streets will benefit anybody. I think there should be better sign posting all over the town centre.
    At one point there was talk about there being an underground in Birmingham. Which would hugely benefit the city in terms of the develop and expansion of the City centre itself into places like Digbeth even SellyOak. That would really benefit travel through the City. All be it costing a lot more but for the long term future of the city that would have to be the plan.
    A short term plan is not good enough.

  4. Kavan Hawker says:

    I agree with Connar, he is completely correct. What we need is an underground system that is effcient, safe, well policed and reliable.

    Good policing will prevent undesirables from intimidating people, being obnoxious and causing friction which will have a negative effect on people especially workers, elderly people, families and young children.

  5. Kavan Hawker says:

    Following my previous comment, from seeing the map of the route and realing that this also has fantastic potential to directly link the two stations, I highly commend it and also beleive an underground system should go ahead some time in the future.