Vision of Midlands' HS2 stations is brought into focus
[gallery] Striking images show what the Midlands' two new impressive high speed railway stations will look like if the controversial £50 billion project gets the green light.
They will become the heart of HS2 and take nearly a decade to complete, with builders moving more than five million tons of earth.
With a quarter-of-a-mile-long wave-like roof, the huge Curzon Street station will become the biggest building in central Birmingham with a shimmering glass frontage.
It will stretch from Millennium Point to the existing Moor Street station opposite the Bullring Shopping Centre.
There will be seven platforms 1,300ft long – six for domestic train services with the seventh capable for international services to European cities.
The lower eastern entrance will be at ground level from New Canal Street and Curzon Street.
The upper concourse western entrance of the station will join onto Moor Street Queensway at ground level, with a connection to Moor Street station.
The surviving Grade I listed entrance to the old Curzon Street station built in 1838 will be revived. A masterplan claims the station will play an important part regenerating the east of central Birmingham – creating a 'cultural village' based on 'artistic and creative activities'.
Trains will come in along a viaduct over the Digbeth canal. The structure of the Curzon Street station will take approximately five years to complete starting in 2018. It will take another year to fit it out from 2023 and undergo testing and commissioning until 2026. Rail journey times will be slashed to 49 minutes to London, 38 minutes to Sheffield and 22 minutes from Manchester Airport.
A second station – the new Birmingham Interchange – will be built next to the NEC and Birmingham Airport site near Chelmsley Wood.
It will be made up for six tracks and four platforms. There will also be a 1.5 mile tram-like 'people mover' which will transport people direct to the NEC complex, Birmingham International Station and Birmingham Airport. The station will be approximately 90ft tall and 442ft long and partially located in a 26ft deep cutting.
There will be a concourse with shops and information kiosks.
International trains will also call at the station. The 'people mover' will move in a south-west direction crossing over the M42, East Way, Pendigo Lake and the Rugby to Birmingham line before continuing onto Birmingham Airport. It will operate seven days a week, with the first service operating approximately 30 minutes before the departure of the first HS2 train to 15 minutes after the arrival of the last HS2 train. It will be able to transport at least 2,100 passengers in each direction per hour at peak times, running at three minute intervals and speeds of up to 55mph. Waiting times will normally not exceed four minutes, but will be up to a maximum of 15 minutes during major NEC events. The journey time from Birmingham Interchange station to Birmingham Airport will be approximately six minutes.
Rail journeys between the Interchange and London will be just 38 minutes from London. Both Birmingham Airport and the NEC Group are big supporters of the controversial scheme.
Also in the Washwood Heath area of the second city will be a 200ft long train depot. It will operate as the hub for high speed rail maintenance and operation, supporting both Phase One and Phase Two. The images of the stations are published in the environmental report adjoining the HS2 Hybrid Bill which is going through Parliament.
A consultation on the London to Birmingham leg is due to end on January 26 but campaigners are only being given 56 days to read nearly 50,000 pages.
HS2 Ltd has said people do not need to read every page – only sections of the report that affect them.
The line, which will see trains travel at speeds of up to 225mph, will cut a 45-mile swathe through rural Staffordshire with campaigners saying it will cause irreversible damage and not deliver promised benefits to the country.
But bosses say it could create 50,000 jobs in the West Midlands and boost Britain's economy by £15 billion a year.
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