The MCC may be at risk due to its close proximity to the HS2 site

High speed rail may force BMT to relocate collections centre

Geraldine Kendall, 11.06.2014
Trust warns of risk to objects if proposed HS2 route goes ahead
Birmingham Museums Trust (BMT) has warned MPs that the proposed route for phase one of the High Speed Two (HS2) rail link poses a substantial risk to the safety of its collections.

In a petition to the House of Commons, BMT said the close proximity of the city’s Museum Collections Centre (MCC) to the HS2 site posed a risk to the 640,000 objects held there, both while the London-Birmingham line is under construction and when the train is operational.

The trust said: “BMT believes HS2 works will put the city’s museum collection at risk in terms of damage from vibration, particulate and gaseous pollutants. The planned works also present risks in terms of security of the building and collections.” 

The MCC holds a wide range of fragile artefacts and scientific instruments, as well as hazardous radioactive materials and a large firearms collection requiring a high level of security.

The trust warned that if the route went ahead as planned, it would be obliged to move the collections centre. It said: “BMT believes that the construction of HS2 present such risks to the safety of the collection that the only available option is to relocate the Museum Collection Centre.”

BMT also warned that HS2 building works could have a negative impact on visitors and revenue at Thinktank science museum.

The trust added: “BMT believes that the extent and impact of the extensive proposed HS2 building works at Curzon Street will present a significant adverse effect to visitor experience, particularly to the hugely popular outdoor science garden, and result in reduced revenues.

“The planned HS2 works will also result in disruptions to Thinktank’s core operations and access to site that will disrupt and interrupt daily operations.”

MPs are currently debating a second reading of the bill for HS2 phase one in parliament.

Construction is due to begin on the first phase in 2017.

Phase two

An initial consultation on phase two of the HS2 route, which will extend the line from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, took place earlier this year. The National Trust (NT) was among the heritage organisations that responded, warning that several of its sites would be affected by the proposed route.

The NT said that the link risked damaging properties including Bolsover Castle and Nostell Priory, and would require extensive land to be taken from the Hardwick Hall estate in Derbyshire.

It said: “There will be substantial harmful impacts upon the significances of our inalienable property, including the settings of heritage assets.”


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MA Member
16.06.2014, 23:26
Perhaps HS2 is just a cunning wheeze to drive a tunnel beneath the Birmingham Museum store and to empty Brum of all its history! It is amazing what these Mancs will dream up to scupper Brum's reign as England's second city.

On a more serious note, how does an electric train produce 'particulate and gaseous pollutants? Or am I missing something and in fact HS2 is just a glorified steam railway line - roll on the extension to York!!
Oliver Green
MA Member
15.06.2014, 18:04
BMT's objections to HS2 sound vastly overstated and nimbyish. The supposed risks to the objects in its Museum Collections Centre near the proposed rail route are absurdly exaggerated, and surely having the new HS2 station at the historic Curzon Street site right next to Thinktank is a benefit not a threat? Get real and think positive!
Birmingham nearly destroyed its own past in the 1960s with urban motorways and the demolition of its Victorian heritage. There is now a great opportunity to build a more sustainable urban future for the city and the wider West Midlands in the 21st century. That requires a much improved and rail based regional transport infrastructure including a new high speed line to London.
Would Birmingham really be happier left out of the loop for further economic decline? Maybe HS2 should abandon Brum and head straight for Manchester and Leeds?
MA Member
12.06.2014, 09:04
Unfashionable though it is to support HS2, this country is long overdue decent public transport infrastructure. Surely HS2 will improve access to Birmingham and hopefully encourage investment in the city as a whole with better links to the capital? Better infrastructure supports both tourism and business and I can't see how these won't benefit the cultural sites in the midlands, particularly BMAG!