MPs call for NEC stop for planned high-speed rail route
Planned high-speed rail services to the city must include a stop at Birmingham International and NEC, MPs have warned.
Solihull MP Lorely Burt (Lib Dem) and Meriden MP Caroline Spelman (Con) weighed into the debate over the proposed route of a high-speed rail line between London and Birmingham, after it emerged business leaders were locked in a bitter dispute with Birmingham City Council over the plans.
The council has been pushing a Government inquiry to ensure trains run directly into Birmingham, putting the city centre within an hour’s journey-time to central London.
And it has succeeded in persuading Advantage West Midlands, the regional development agency, to back the case for direct services into the city.
But the approach has sparked dismay among business leaders, who argue that the needs of the NEC and Birmingham International Airport are being ignored.
They are calling for a full analysis of the economic case for routing trains to Birmingham International station, or to a new station nearby.
Ms Burt said: “It is hugely important that the NEC and the airport are served by high speed rail.”
Ms Spelman said it may be possible to offer different routes used at different times of the day.
The airport and NEC are about eight miles east of Birmingham city centre. Making passengers change in central Birmingham would add significantly to journey times, while a direct service would reach the city within 55 minutes of leaving London.
The Government has appointed former civil servant Sir David Rowlands to chair a company called High Speed Two, which is examining the options.