Birmingham set to rival Heathrow in high-speed war
16-Feb-10by Annie Byrne
Birmingham International Airport and the NEC could be as accessible for some Londoners as Heathrow, if government plans for a 200mph high-speed rail network joining Britain’s largest cities in less than 50 minutes. According to rail industry sources, a station for a high-speed rail network is being considered near to the National Exhibition Centre, which would allow passengers to reach Britain’s sixth largest airport from London Euston station within the same time it would take to get to Heathrow form Euston. Chief executive of The NEC Group, Paul Thandi, says the importance of a planned 200mph high-speed rail network linking the capital to Birmingham is undeniable. “The introduction of this service would open up the UK in a way that we have never seen before, with millions of potential visitors given easy, fast access to our region and provide a massive boost to business tourism.”“This sort of line would provide a vital link to the heart of many of our London and internationally-based clients and visitors, as well as acting as a vital gateway to the north of England, helping to attract events with truly national and international appeal,” he adds. A Department for Transport spokesman said the Birmingham airport station was "complete speculation" and that they have yet to reach a view about specific routes. A White Paper by the transport secretary, Lord Adonis, is due in March and construction could begin in 2017.