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21 November: news in brief

Mayor says HS2 needs a new name and new look

WEST Midlands Mayor Andy Street says HS2 should be rebranded, and provide a direct rail connection between Birmingham and Paris. In an article in The Times, the Mayor said ‘when intercity fast trains shift to HS2, we can open up Birmingham New Street for more local commuter trains.’ He continued: ‘At the moment the designs at Curzon Street in Birmingham and Interchange in Solihull have all the quirkiness and charm of Stansted airport’s baggage drop-off area … Let’s take the opportunity to revisit some of the most visionary parts of the project. We should reinstate plans to link HS2 to Eurostar so we can run direct trains from Manchester and Birmingham to Paris, Brussels and beyond. In a world where we are all more aware of our carbon footprint, train beats plane hands down. The final thing we should do is ditch the name. Nothing has done more to reinforce the image of men in suits with Apprentice-style wheelie suitcases whizzing down to London for “a senior corporate client executive stakeholder meeting” than the name High Speed 2. It completely misses the point about the benefits for local commuters. No one talks about High Speed 1 but everyone knows what Eurostar is.’

Pictures of new Birmingham station are published

NEW images have been published illustrating the rebuilt University station on the Birmingham Cross-City line. The scheme includes a new station building, as well as 250 sq metres of commercial space and a footbridge over the canal which links the campus and the station. The designs have been prepared by Associated Architects and the project is being sponsored by the West Midlands Combined Authority.

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