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HS2 unveils updated automated transport system designs for Birmingham Airport

HS2 Ltd has today submitted updated plans for its driverless people mover which will travel between the HS2 interchange station and Birmingham Airport to Solihull Council.

Originally announced in 2019, with Schedule 17 Approval for the light rail granted in 2020, the designs of an 'automated people mover system' will connect Interchange Station in Solihull to Birmingham Airport.

The 2.3km-long driver-less transport system will see 20m-long vehicles run every three minutes. Once fully operational, it will be capable of carrying 2,100 passengers per hour in each direction in six minutes.

The vehicles will travel through an elevated viaduct, which will be 12m off the ground at its highest point. The entire route will feature two intermediate stops at Birmingham International Railway Station and the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) before terminating at Birmingham Airport.

All three stops will be fully accessible and colour-coded to facilitate passenger navigation. Passengers will receive live journey updates on HS2 and People Mover services through information screens and audio announcements.

The design of the automated vehicle is carried out in collaboration with the Urban Growth Company (UGC) who have subsequently been working with HS2 to modify the plans ensuring they are fit for purpose.

HS2 deputy project client for interchange station Niki French said: “The APM will connect high speed rail passengers to the classic rail network, supporting the shift from car use to public, mass transit transport, which is so important in achieving the UK’s target of net zero carbon.

“We have been working in partnership with the UGC, Solihull Council and the HS2 Independent Design Review Panel to develop an alternative proposal for the HS2 APM stop that can integrate in an accessible and sustainable way with the aspirational plans for future redevelopment of the Birmingham International Rail Station and its surroundings. This new alignment has enabled us to enhance the design of the APM stop and the public realm around it, to improve the passenger experience.”

Urban Growth Company project manager Lisa Chaney said: “This realignment is subtle but critical because it allows for the future development of an adjacent area of land which is currently used for surface car parking. There is also the potential to deliver a new public plaza which will create an exciting sense of place and arrival. We’ve worked closely with HS2 to develop this proposal and it’s been a really good example of innovation through collaborative working and making sure that this national infrastructure delivers regional benefits.”

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