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HS2 reveals first designs for automated people mover

CGI of the first design of HS2's proposed APM system.

HS2 has unveiled the first designs for its new automated people mover (APM), a driverless transport system that will connect the interchange station with new stops at Birmingham Airport, Birmingham International station, and the National Exhibition Centre (NEC).

HS2 says the APM will provide a fast and frequent transport connection between its new interchange station in Solihull, through to Birmingham Airport in just six minutes. When fully operational, they say the APM will carry up to 2,100 passengers per hour in each direction.

The company has been working on the designs with the Urban Growth Company (UGC). The approximately 20-metre-long APM’s will depart from each stop approximately every three minutes. They will pick up passengers from the interchange station and then travel 2.3km across an elevated viaduct stopping at Birmingham International station and the NEC before reaching Birmingham Airport.

The viaduct will be 12 metres off the ground at its highest point, and the three stops will be fully accessible, designed using colour to provide clear wayfinding for passengers, while information screens and audio announcements will provide live journey updates to communicate both HS2 and APM services.

Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd, said: “HS2 is about connecting the country, and the people mover is another example of how we will do that. This entire area in the West Midlands, and the wider regions across the UK will be able to capitalise on the connectivity that Birmingham interchange station brings and the people mover is an integral part of this.

“The high-speed connection into interchange station opens up the UK Central Hub, the NEC, Birmingham International station and Birmingham Airport to new business and leisure customers who might not have chosen this area previously. With the airport being only six minutes from the station, it means better options for air travellers, and makes it more accessible to even more of the UK.”

Jonathan Bretherton, MD of the UGC, said: “The APM will be a vital and exciting link, connecting HS2 and the Arden Cross site to the NEC and Birmingham Airport, making the whole area easily navigable for those choosing to live, work or play here.”

HS2 is currently working to finalise the scheme design, and will hold public consultations in partnership with the UGC for people to see the designs in autumn 2019, before submitting an application to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council seeking approval of matters related to design of the people mover as required within the HS2 Act.