Birmingham’s Eastside Metro delayed until 2027

Plans to run trams to the Digbeth area of Birmingham have been delayed by another four years until 2027, because of issues related to HS2.

The planned Eastside Metro extension will pass through the site of the city’s Curzon Street HS2 station, but construction of the Metro line there may have to wait until after some parts of the high-speed station have been completed.

The mile-long Eastside extension will run from a new delta junction in Bull Street and cross the busy Moor Street Queensway and the Curzon Street site, before terminating at Deritend at the end of Digbeth High Street.

Work began two years ago, with utility diversion and public realm work. Tracks are already being laid in Bull Street and at the junction of Digbeth High Street and Meriden Street at the other end of the route.

The new line is costing £227 million to build, and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street had previously said the line would be completed by 2025.

Now it appears that the timetable has changed, with the extension effectively being built in two halves.

It has also emerged that the Curzon Street tram stop won’t open for another six years, when the first HS2 trains are expected to depart from the city.

There are hopes that part of the line (from Bull Street to Birmingham’s Eastside) could be open in 2025, although it’s understood that these plans rely on the construction of a temporary tram stop. Additional points might also be needed to provide a turnback facility.

Meanwhile, the second phase of a Metro extension from Dudley to Brierley Hill remains uncertain.

Construction work from Wednesbury to Dudley is now well advanced, but a funding shortfall has delayed the remainder of the line. A solution could be found by shifting funds from other transport projects in the West Midlands conurbation.

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