The Anonymous Widower

Birmingham Airport Connectivity

On the Midlands Connect web site, they have a page, which is entitled Birmingham Airport Connectivity.

This is the introductory paragraph.

By using capacity released by HS2 and investing in new track south of Birmingham Airport, we can improve connections from the south of England, East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East.

The page contains this helpful map.

It looks like Midlands Connect are thinking about improving the Reading and Newcastle service.

Points made on the page and related articles, like this one on Rail News  include.

  • Birmingham Airport has plans to increase passenger numbers to 18 million by 2033.
  • Coventry and Leamington Spa via Kenilworth will be double-tracked.
  • High Speed Two will release capacity in the area.
  • It will open up rail capacity between Birmingham and Solihull.
  • There will be a new service between Birmingham Moor Street and Oxford via Solihull and Warwick Parkway.
  • It will improve local connections to Birmingham Airport.
  • Birmingham and Reading services will be increased to two trains per hour (tph)
  • The Government is being asked to chip in £20 million.

These are my thoughts.

Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport can become a true Heart of England Airport.

I feel that the future of aviation will be very different to the past.

  • COVID-19 and the future pandemics, that we will endure from the East and the Americas, will mean that flying will be a very different experience with hygiene and social distancing to the fore.
  • Smaller aircraft, for flights up to 500 miles, will be odd-looking zero-carbon machines with exotic power systems.
  • Larger aircraft will be energy efficient planes powered by aviation biofuels produced from household and industrial waste, and biomass.
  • Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s will only be talked about in tales from older people to the young.
  • Airports will be important rail hubs to more than just the local area.

Wikipedia also says this about expansion of Birmingham Airport.

Plans for a second runway (a third when demand requires) on the other side of the M42 and a new terminal complex and business park have been published, and they could help to create around 250,000 jobs. It has been estimated that if these plans went ahead, the airport could handle around 70,000,000 passengers annually, and around 500,000 aircraft movements.

This Google Map shows the Airport.

Note the M42 motorway passing North-South to the East of the Airport.

Could Birmingham Airport develop towards Birmingham Interchange and High Speed Two?

It is worth looking at the distance to other airports.

  • Aberdeen – 328 miles
  • Amsterdam – 280 miles
  • Dublin – 199 miles
  • Frankfurt – 478 miles
  • Geneva – 558 miles
  • Paris – 304 miles

All could be within range of an electric aircraft like the under-development Eviation Alice.

I believe that large airports will develop low-noise zero-carbon secondary runways.

Birmingham Airport is well-situated to take advantage.

Adding A Second Track Between Leamington Spa And Coventry

This section of track is about ten miles long, with probably under half only single-track.

This Google Map shows the single-track through the new Kenilworth station.

And these are pictures I took soon after the station opened.

It is certainly one of the best of the current crop of new small stations.

I don’t think that adding a second track will be the most challenging of projects.

It should be noted that the Leamington Spa and Nuneaton service could be a candidate for a battery electric train.

  • The route is twenty miles long
  • Nuneaton and Coventry stations are fully electrified.
  • There might be possibilities to extend this service at either or both ends.
  • Nuneaton and Leicester are nineteen miles apart and a new Nuneaton Parkway station is proposed for the route. I wrote about this station in New Railway Station Between Hinckley And Nuneaton Receives Backing.
  • Leamington Spa and Stratford-upon-Avon are fifteen miles apart and would need a reverse at Leamington Spa.

A battery electric train might give a faster and more passenger-friendly service, if the passenger numbers and forecasts would support an extended service.

A Birmingham Moor Street And Oxford Service

This Google Map shows Birmingham Moor Street station.


  1. The two Northern through platforms on the Snow Hill Lines, that continue under Birmingham to Birmingham Snow Hill station.
  2. At least two, but possibly three bay platforms, that can take Chiltern Railway’s longest trains.
  3. There is more space for possibly another two bay platforms to be reinstated or built.

Birmingham Moor Street station will also be a short walk from High Speed Two’s Birmingham Curzon Street station.

This Google Map shows Oxford station.


  1. Birmingham Moor Street station is to the North via Banbury and Warwick Parkway stations.
  2. The two long through platforms capable of taking a nine-car train.
  3. There are two bay platforms to the East of the two through platforms, at the Northern end of the station.
  4. The bay platforms handle Chiltern’s services from London Marylebone and could also handle the proposed service to Birmingham Moor Street.

Consider this about the proposed Birmingham Moor Street and Oxford service.

  • The service could stop at Solihull, Warwick Parkway, Warwick, Leamington Spar and Banbury, as was thought necessary.
  • I estimate that Birmingham Moor Street and Oxford are 66 miles apart and that a 100 mph train would take around 66 minutes.
  • Birmingham Moor Street and Banbury are 43 miles apart.
  • Oxford and Banbury are 23 miles apart.

With these timings and a few minutes to reverse at each end of the route, I would estimate that a 2.5 hour round trip would be possible.

But, I also think, that with charging facilities or short lengths of electrification at Birmingham Moor Street, Banbury and Oxford stations, this service could be run by battery electric trains.

  • A three hour round trip should be possible.
  • Three trains would be needed to provide an hourly service.
  • Oxford, Banbury, Leamington Spa and Warwick would have a direct connection to High Speed Two.

It should also be noted

  • Birmingham Moor Street and Stratford-upon-Avon stations are only 25 miles apart and the journey rakes 46 minutes
  • Banbury and Stratford-upon-Avon are 35 miles apart. and the journey takes 57 minutes.
  • Leamington Spa and Nuneaton are 20 miles apart and the journey takes 36 minutes.

There would appear to be tremendous potential for battery electric services between Birmingham and Oxford.

How many tourists would a Birmingham and Oxford service via Stratford-upon-Avon attract?

Improving The Reading And Newcastle Service

Currently, this is a one tph service between Reading and Newcastle stations.

  • It is run by CrossCountry.
  • Intermediate stops include Oxford, Banbury, Leamington Spa, Birmingham New Street, Derby, Sheffield, Doncaster, York, Darlington and Durham.
  • It appears that the full journey takes four-and-a-half hours.

It looks like to run a two tph service would need as many as twenty trains.

There is an alternative route after High Speed Two opens.

  • High Speed Two – Newcastle and Birmingham Curzon Street – 118 minutes
  • Walk – Curzon Street and New Street – 10 minutes
  • CrossCountry – Birmingham New Street and Reading – 90 minutes

This saves about forty-five minutes.

You could even do a double change.

  • High Speed Two – Newcastle and East Midlands Hub – 96 minutes
  • High Speed Two – East Midlands Hub and Birmingham Interchange – 17 minutes
  • Walk – Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham International – 10 minutes
  • CrossCountry – Birmingham International and Reading – 78 minutes

This gives a time of around three hours and twenty minutes.

High Speed Two certainly saves time.

But look at this map clipped from the High Speed Two web site.


  1. The blue dot shows the location of Curzon Street station.
    The West Coast Main Line running into New Street station, is just to the South of Curzon Street station.
    New Street station can be picked out to the West of Curzon Street station.

This Google Map shows a close-up of the current Curzon Street station site.

The same pattern of rail lines going past the Curzon Street site into New Street station can be picked out.

Surely, a connection could be made to allow trains from a couple of platforms in Curzon Street station to terminate trains from the West Coast Main Line.

To improve services between Newcastle and Reading, trains would do the following.

  • Run on the current East Coast Main Line infrastructure between Newcastle and York. Station stops could be Durham, Darlington and York.
  • Switch to new High Speed Two infrastructure South of York.
  • Run on High Speed Two infrastructure to Birmingham Curzon Street station. Station stops could be Sheffield, Chesterfield and East Midlands Hub.
  • The train would reverse at Birmingham Curzon Street station.
  • Switch to the West Coast Main Line outside Birmingham Curzon Street station.
  • Run on the West Coast Main Line to Birmingham International station.
  • Take the route currently used by CrossCountry between Birmingham International and Reading. Station stops could be Leamington Spa, Warwick Parkway, Banbury and Oxford stations.

Timings would be as follows.

  • Newcastle and Birmingham Curzon Street – 118 minutes – From High Speed Two web site.
  • Birmingham Curzon Street and Reading – 90 minutes – Current CrossCountry timing.


  1. This saves about an hour over the current CrossCountry timings.
  2. It could use classic-compatible High Speed Two trains.
  3. Between Birmingham Curzon Street and Newcastle, it follows the same route as one of the current proposed High Speed Two services.
  4. The service could be extended to Edinburgh from Newcastle.
  5. The service could be extended to Southampton from Reading
  6. As there are only twelve tph planned to be running on the Eastern leg of High Speed Two, against a total capacity of eighteen tph, it should be possible to accommodate the extra service or services.

This would surely be a very useful High Speed Two service.


It is a comprehensive package of measures, some of which could have a high cost benefit ratio.





July 17, 2020 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. This proposal, along with HS2, has a significant demand problem, at least in short term.

    Due to Covid19, demand for flying and trsin travel has fallen off a cliff. Because of the coming severe recession, I can’t see either coming back to previous demand any time soon. This blows a hole in the benefits case for both, and although “Rooseveltian” type infrastructure spending can be used to try and defibrillate the economy it risks creating a white elephant (overengineered for demand, and a potential misuse of capital expenditure and a operating expenditure sinkhole).

    HS2 spend needs to be refocused onto a green power and transport agenda (EV buses, EV cars, eliminating rail emissions, power storage schemes, localised transport improvements and so on).

    Comment by MilesT | July 17, 2020 | Reply

  2. I travel on London’s buses a lot. I think passenger numbers have been coming back in the last ten days or so. Is passenger confidence returning?

    But if we can get the buses right, they can be a test bed for other modes of transport.

    All buses for a start should be contactless ticketing, as that gives a track and trace system, that works. You never see The Guardian or any other quality newspaper saying contactless ticketing should be banned, so it must work well. I remember, ehen Boris introduced it in London, there were a lot of the hard left activists against it, as it would track them all the time. Where are they now?

    Comment by AnonW | July 17, 2020 | Reply

  3. A century ago it was a flu pandemic that killed millions so imagine had they not built extrnstions to London Underground because of danger of influenza.

    HS2 opponents now use coronavirus as their latest excuse against HS2 but if you think about need for social distancing reducing capacity and maybe even eliminating standing on trains then HS2 and even more new lines will be needed especially if passengers have to transfer from planes to trains for journeys to the continent !

    I reckon there may be a case for combining Chiltern Railway with the currently diesel line in the West Midlands to create a single railway maybe including electrifying Chiltern Railway with London services transferring to TFL .

    Comment by Melvyn | July 17, 2020 | Reply

  4. Many of the extensions to the London transportation system in the past were ultimately housing driven (housing generating demand) not capacity expansion/quality of service driven (demand generated by rises in GDP, ultimately).

    Current published estimates for GDP are showing a 10+% reduction, a severe recession.

    And people have realised that travel isn’t as necessary or cost effective as they previously thought (over a long enought period to embed new habits psychologically). New ways are somewhat greener, too.

    My estimate? Travel demand will increase but level off at 60% of previous levels for forseeable future, at least a decade. So no need to rush to deliver HS2

    By all means rebuild Euston station with passive provision for HS2 (finish what has been started to improve local environment), and progress other HS2 works very slowly and cheaply.

    Use the HS2 spend on other areas to make transport greener countrywide, improve local transport countrywide (bus refresh and expansion, make work/leisure possible without a car), improve trans-pennine rail, and step change broadband across the country (12Mbs min everywhere in 2 years eliminating notspots, FTTC grade everywhere in 5years with widespread access to FTTP grade).

    Comment by MilesT | July 18, 2020 | Reply

  5. I strongly support the Cross country improvement ideas which align with some concepts of my own. To make best use of high-speed paths, full-length trains could run from NE and NW legs of HS2, splitting and joining in the long platforms at Curzon Street, with SW via Cheltenham, and South Coast via Oxford portions. Push-pull haulage of electric classic compatible units by diesel locomotives could apply where necessary, coupled at the most expeditious stop en route, and subject to a rolling programme of electrification extension.
    A rough alignment sketch showing the WCML line diverted via new grade-separated junctions here:

    A more detailed look at track and signalling layout possibilities showing example train routings through the junction complex:

    Note that South to North HSXC trains would generally use platforms #4 and #5, North to South HSXC trains #6 and #7. #1-3 would be used by London services and any HS2 Northern trains that didn’t continue to or from the south.

    Comment by Mark Townend | July 20, 2020 | Reply

    • The mew technology that has impressed me in the last couple of weeks, is Rolls-Royce’s beer keg-sized 2.5 MW generator, that can probably run on aviation biofuel produced from household rubbish.

      They only weigh a tonne.

      imagine a classic-compatible High Speed Two train powered by two of these. They could run between Aberdeen and Penzance using High Speed Two between York and Birmingham.

      Comment by AnonW | July 20, 2020 | Reply

  6. […] Midlands Connect – Oxford and Birmingham More Street – See Birmingham Airport Connectivity. […]

    Pingback by CrossCountry’s Bournemouth And Manchester Piccadilly Service « The Anonymous Widower | August 15, 2020 | Reply

  7. […] Birmingham Airport Connectivity, I said […]

    Pingback by HS2 Downsizes Euston Station To Save Costs « The Anonymous Widower | October 26, 2021 | Reply

  8. […] In Birmingham Airport Connectivity, I said this […]

    Pingback by How Feasible Is A High Speed Line Between Birmingham And Nottingham? « The Anonymous Widower | November 16, 2021 | Reply

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