Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham cable car scheme being considered

Emirates Air Line cable car
Image caption London's Emirates Air Line cable car opened in June in time for the Olympics

Birmingham could get a cable car system under proposals being considered by city transport bosses.

It follows calls by transport authority Centro to find ways of linking up the redeveloped New Street, Moor Street and Curzon Street stations.

Curzon Street, currently a derelict site, is due to be turned into the city's HS2 high-speed rail terminal.

The designers behind the cable car that spans the River Thames in London are due to give a presentation to Centro.

The £60m Emirates Air Line cable car system opened in June, operating between the 02 and the Excel Centre.

It transported one million passengers in its first two months, although it has faced criticism that it has been running at less than 10% capacity since the Olympics.

'Iconic scheme'

Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said it was seriously considering a similar scheme for Birmingham.

He said: "We think it's got legs. We asked people to come up with imaginative ideas to link up the stations, and something that could be iconic for the city.

"We think Birmingham deserves something unique that puts us on the map, both in the UK and globally.

"We now need to see if it's practically possible."

Providing a continuous service, he said travellers could arrive at New Street and go directly to Curzon Street, without having to wait for the next bus, tram or taxi.

Mr Inskip said the cable car could complement the city's tram system and also possibly link up with the Bullring shopping centre.

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce said it was difficult to say at this stage how feasible the project was in terms of funding and infrastructure.

It said anything that made it easier for people to get around the city would be welcomed by businesses.

Describing Birmingham as "notoriously difficult" to drive around, the chamber added that the city was one of very few of its size not to have an underground network, partly due to expense.

A £128m scheme to extend the Metro tram system to link Snow Hill railway station to New Street is also expected to be completed by 2015.

New Street station's new passenger concourse is due to open in April as part of a £598m redevelopment.

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