HS2 Ltd has started the search for a contractor to design and supply a transport system, as well as a 25 year transport operation and asset maintenance contract, for the project’s Automated People Mover (APM) in the West Midlands.

A key component of the HS2 project, the APM will move passengers and visitors between HS2’s Interchange Station, the NEC, Birmingham International rail station and Birmingham Airport. ​It will provide an efficient, accessible, reliable and environmentally friendly mode of transport, carrying up to 2,100 passengers per hour in each direction on a six-minute journey.

The APM will run on an elevated 2.2km long viaduct, and range in height from 6 metres to 14 metres, crossing the NEC, West Coast Main Line and M42 Motorway. ​It will be complete in time for the start of services at HS2 Interchange Station.​

 HS2’s Procurement and Supply Chain Director, Andrew Cubitt, said:

“We’re pleased to be starting the procurement process for the APM Systems Contract, which is worth up to £270m*. The APM is a vital piece of infrastructure in the HS2 project, connecting high speed rail passengers to the classic rail network, and supporting the shift from car use to public, mass transit transport, which is so important in achieving the UK’s target of net zero carbon.”

Shortlisted companies will be invited to tender early next year, with the contract due to be awarded towards the end of 2024.

The search for the APM Infrastructure contract will start later this year, with invitations to tender in 2025 and contract award in 2026.

​HS2’s Interchange Station will be the catalyst for huge growth plans in Solihull, creating an economic transformation for the region. The station is at the centre of the plans for the £3.2bn Arden Cross mixed-use commercial and residential destination which will support up to 27,000 jobs and deliver up to 3,000 homes and 557,500 m2 of commercial space.

This forms part of the Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council wider UK Central Hub area which will support 70,000 jobs, 8,000 homes and 650,000m2 (7,000,000 sq ft) of commercial space, generating £6.2bn GVA per year and bringing 1.3m people in the region to within a 45-minute public transport commute of the station.

​There will be up to five trains per hour passing through Interchange Station in both directions, with an estimated total of 175,000 seats per day, making this one of the best-connected transport interchanges in the country and a new gateway to the UK.