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(DFT) £400m to transform Birmingham New Street Station

The Government is investing almost £400m to transform Birmingham New Street station and make journeys easier for millions of passengers, the Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly, announced today.

The Government has provided all the funding grants sought by Birmingham City Council, Advantage West Midlands and Network Rail It is now for these parties to work together to deliver the promised transformation of New Street for its users and the city on time and on budget.

The station redevelopment focuses on relieving the congested conditions, making it easier for the 17m passengers who use the station each year to reach platform level. This investment will also help accommodate the increase in passenger levels, forecast to increase by around 30% in the next 10 years.

The scheme will double the size of the station concourse and all platforms will be served by escalators, which increase from five to 31, making it more accessible for disabled people, passengers with heavy luggage and parents. There will also three new entrances to the station from the city centre and new public square.

By investing in Birmingham New Street the Government is supporting Birmingham’s economic growth and reflecting its key role in the rail network as a gateway to towns and cities across Britain.

Speaking at Birmingham New Street today, Ruth Kelly said:

“Birmingham is a key gateway to towns and cities across Britain and this investment will make New Street a more enjoyable experience for the 17m passengers who use it each year.

“This scheme has been in development for some time and has improved immeasurably so that it can now meet the needs of passengers and deliver a much needed boost to capacity. The Government is making a major investment in Birmingham New Street and it is now up to Birmingham City Council and its partners to transform this station into one of the best in our country.”

John Hutton Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform said:

“This development will both improve facilities for businesses in New Street and create an extra 5000 jobs in the area. This is why AWM has made their largest ever funding award to this exciting project, which will propel Birmingham and the more than 350,000 businesses of the West Midlands to greater prosperity.”

Liam Byrne, Minister for the West Midlands, said:

“This is simply fantastic news for Birmingham and the West Midlands. I want to thank Ruth Kelly and John Hutton for their huge vote of confidence today, and to Birmingham and its partners who worked so hard to sweat the details since last summer. But the real credit goes to the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands who gave such voice to the campaign for New Street.

“Today the region gets its reward. I said a new New Street was my number one priority as Regional Minister. Today is proof that the West Midlands can get huge deals done when we set ambitious goals and pull together as a team.”

The Department for Transport will be providing a further £160m to improve the station, in addition to the £128m already set aside in last year’s Rail White Paper. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has agreed to fund £100m, bringing the total Government spending on the scheme to £388m.

Network Rail and Birmingham City Council plan to start work in 2009. The project is expected to be complete by 2013/14.

Notes to Editors

1. The Government funding will be provided to the “Gateway Plus” scheme, an improvement to the initial proposal by Network Rail and Birmingham City Council.

2. “Gateway Plus” will double the size of the station concourse; widen platforms 8 and 9, the busiest on the station; increase the number of escalators to platforms from five to 31, and the number of lifts from five to nine; increase the number of pedestrian entrances to the station from two to five, opening up new routes to the city centre; enhance CCTV, car parking and lighting facilities; and improve the appearance of the station.

3. From December this year, the new West Coast Main Line timetable will provide three trains every hour between Birmingham, Coventry and London, 50% more services than today. The new timetable will also reduce journey times between Birmingham and Scotland, improve services between Birmingham and Milton Keynes, and deliver improved weekend services.

4. Train passengers in the West Midlands will benefit from more carriages serving Birmingham in the peak commuting hours each day. The Government’s Rolling Stock Plan will mean around 92 extra vehicles for London Midland and around 106 carriages used to lengthen Pendolinos which will operate between Birmingham and London and other cities on the West Coast Main Line.

5. As part of their franchise agreement, Arriva Cross Country also will get around 40 extra coaches in around a year’s time, providing 3000 more seats a day for passengers.

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