Work on track to bring HS2 to Birmingham as transport secretary visits West Midlands

Curzon Street Station in Birmingham

Transport Secretary Mark Harper is visiting the West Midlands with his Australian counterpart Catherine King on Monday to see the construction of HS2’s iconic new Curzon Street Station taking shape.

Over the next decade the new station will welcome high-speed services into the heart of Birmingham city centre, according to the Department for Transport.

This is designed increase the capacity of the rail network and connect cities and towns across the West Midlands and beyond – potentially creating new job opportunities across the region.

The government says that even now, the project is already delivering huge benefits across the Midlands and the North.

The construction of Curzon Street Station alone is creating more than 1,000 jobs, including 100 new apprenticeships and a ‘Restart’ scheme to support unemployed people. Even more jobs will be supported and created as work will continue to ramp up across the region in the years to come, with the HS2 Interchange Station set to be built in Solihull.

The Secretary of State and Minister King will take an exclusive first walk on top of the grand, 300-metre-long HS2 viaduct to see first-hand the view passengers will witness when travelling into the city on HS2 trains.

The walk will mark a key construction milestone, celebrating the half-way point of the viaduct’s completion, which now has 15 of its 30 V-shaped piers in place.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “The fantastic city of Birmingham is a hive of construction, with HS2 supporting thousands of high-skilled jobs and apprenticeships, as we gear up to bring its services into the city centre over the next decade.

“As Europe’s largest infrastructure project, HS2 is being recognised globally and, alongside the Australian Transport Minister today, I take great pride in seeing this once-in-a-generation opportunity come to life, which will better connect our regions and grow the economy for years to come.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I am pleased to join Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper – and Australia’s Minister for Infrastructure, Transport & Regional Development Catherine King – to showcase the progress underway at the Curzon Street Station site.

“HS2 is already delivering tangible benefits for our region – creating jobs, drawing in investment and helping to drive up the number of cranes dotting the skyline.

“So as we continue to work closely with Government, I’m sure that we will go on attracting global investment – including from our friends in Australia – to seize the HS2 related opportunities to the full, support our region’s economy and advance prosperity for local people in the months and years ahead.”

Once built, HS2’s Curzon Street Station will be one of the most environmentally friendly stations in the world and the plan is to eventually host nine high-speed services per hour into the city centre. With seven terminal platforms, it will form part of HS2’s opening phase, with the first services expected to run from West London into the station by 2033, serving around 25,000 passengers a day.

Today’s visit comes as HS2 prepares to carry out the UK’s heaviest bridge drive to install a box structure beneath the West Coast Main Line near Lichfield. The 6,200-tonne structure, which has been built over the last six months, will allow the high-speed railway to pass beneath the main line.

It will be slowly moved into place on the back of a transporter vehicle.

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