Midland Metro bosses have formally applied to the Department for Transport (DfT) on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), for a £137.2m extension through Birmingham city centre.
The DfT must approve a Transport and Works Act Order for the project, which would allow the Midland Metro Alliance to build and operate the Birmingham Eastside extension from Bull Street to Digbeth.
Artist’s impression of the Midland Metro in Curzon Street
The 1.05 mile (1.7km) extension would serve all the city centre rail stations including the proposed HS2 station at Curzon Street, with other connections to New Street, Moor Street and Snow Hill train stations.
Subject to any local public inquiry, work is scheduled to begin in 2019, with the line due to open in 2023.
Cllr Roger Lawrence, lead member for transport on WMCA, said: ‘The Birmingham Eastside extension will provide a direct high-quality link between the significant areas of commercial and leisure activity to the east of the city centre and the Jewellery Quarter and the Black Country.
‘It will not only improve access for existing business travellers and commuters but also provide easier access to jobs for the unemployed, further encourage tourism and leisure travel.
‘This will help spread economic benefits from HS2 and local developments, which will increase economic opportunities across the West Midlands.’
The work will be carried out by the Midland Metro Alliance, which consists of rail construction specialists Colas Rail – with Colas’ partners Colas Ltd, Barhale, Thomas Vale and Auctus Management Group - and a consortium of design experts from Egis, Tony Gee and Pell Frischmann, alongside WMCA specialists.
The Midland Metro runs between Birmingham’s New Street Station and Wolverhampton City Centre, with further extensions taking place elsewhere in the city.
Work is underway extending the route from New Street Station to Centenary Square, with services expected to start in 2019, while in Wolverhampton work has begun on the city centre extension, with completion also scheduled for 2019.
Funding has also been earmarked for the line to go further along Broad Street, past Five Ways and on to Edgbaston by 2021.