It’s all been about the Westside in Birmingham up until now but in the future we will also be looking to the Eastside following the approval of the Transport and Works Act Order for this short 1.7km extension of the West Midlands Metro to High Street Deritend. It is hoped that enabling works will now commence this year with an opening of the line due in 2023 (although exact timescales have not yet been announced).
The extension will leave the current West Midlands Metro line in Birmingham City Centre just after Bull Street and will serve the new Curzon Street HS2 station – providing that project ends up going ahead of course. In total there will be four new stops including the terminus at High Street Deritend. As part of the project there will also be a new bus interchange next to Clayton Hotel which will provide an interchange between HS2 and bus and coach services. The aim is that a tram will run every six minutes at peak times and every 15 outside the peak.
It had originally been hoped that this extension would be ready in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games taking place in the city but Transport for West Midlands admitted last year that this would not now be possible with the revised timescale hopefully seeing an opening in 2023.
The decision to give approval was revealed earlier this week and comes following the public enquiry in 2017 and resulting Inspector’s recommendation. In approving the scheme, Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, has said that the scheme gives high value for money and that it “would assist in promoting sustainable transport modes, increase the choice given to people as to how they travel, assist in reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions, reduce congestion and would represent a significant investment in transport to serve the proposed HS2 station and areas of development.”