Transport Secretary Mark Harper has today (17 July) visiting the West Midlands with his Australian counterpart Catherine King to see the construction of HS2’s iconic new Curzon Street Station taking shape.
In the next decade, the new station will welcome high-speed services into the heart of Birmingham city centre. This will increase the capacity of our rail network and connect cities and towns across the West Midlands and beyond – creating new job, business and educational opportunities whilst boosting growth in the regional economy.
Even now, the project is already delivering huge benefits across the Midlands and the North. The construction of Curzon Street Station alone will create over 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.
The meeting will also promote a global Britain, demonstrating how the UK is leading the way on major infrastructure projects to help grow the economy, ensuring the work and learning of HS2 is extended overseas.
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 eventually welcome 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 Ltd 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.
Supporting one of the government’s five priorities to grow the economy, the construction of HS2 will bring transformational benefits to passengers and communities for generations to come. Currently supporting over 28,500 jobs and having created more than 1,200 apprenticeships, the project will level up communities and connect Britain’s largest cities, delivering fresh education, job and business opportunities across the regions.
The line will also provide much needed capacity for passenger and freight services on our railways, offering faster and more reliable journeys right across the UK. A greener way of travelling will also be unlocked, with every trip being powered by zero carbon energy.
Photo credit: HS2 Ltd