I took a walk along the short Midland Metro extension which at last connects the two main stations in Birmingham, Snow Hill and New Street. As a City Councillor and Cabinet Member for Transportation from 2003-4 I signed a document advancing this, but the new Tory Lib-Dem administration put it on ice. Some of them were after an underground system. Financially the case for the Metro just about stacked up, but an underground system? I knew the London Underground very well as I had lived and worked there for many years, but you sometimes have to walk considerable distances when changing trains! I had planned to present the then Lord Mayor, Cllr John Alden with a shovel with a map joining the Council House to his home in Harborne, together with a model of a London tube train, but the idea wasn’t approved by Sir Albert so I regret I let it drop. I did tell John about this later but he just gave me a puzzled look. (Journalist Paul Dale from the Birmingham Post and Mail, saw the shovel and model train in my office and questioned me about. He didn’t see the point either!)
I travelled by train from the Hawthorns into Snowhill, which is just as well because I found the Metro now stopped short at St Paul’s. Beyond that was a deep hole.
I was expecting it to be joined up to the new extension since it was announced that trams would be testing it during October. Nevertheless you can see that people are very busy getting it ready.
It’s not clear where the tram stop will be. Is that under construction? Presumably the buildings at the end of the platform will be part of a connection between rails and tram. There’s no sign of a platform outside Snow Hill (see below).
The first stop is taking shape in Bull Street.
Then right into Corporation Street. No sign of another stop here.
But something seems to be emerging here outside the side entrance to New Street, now “Grand Central” Station.
So welcome to New Street Grand Central Station.