Behind the scenes of £600m New Street work

By on 25/06/2010 in News

The transformation of Birmingham New Street station is underway and after the Government reiterated its support for the project in the emergency budget, the key backers of the Gateway project  visited the site (yesterday 24 June 2010)to see how work is progressing.

Construction on site started in April and Network Rail's project team are currently removing more than 7,500 tonnes of concrete from the car park next to the station to create a new concourse.  Work has also started to refurbish the first of New Street's 12 platforms.

The leader of Birmingham City Council and chair of the New Street Gateway Funders' Board, Cllr Mike Whitby, said: “In a time when the media is full of reports of major projects being cut, it is great news for Birmingham that work on New Street continues apace and we are very much on track to deliver a much-needed world-class station to the city by 2015.”

Welcoming the Chancellor's express backing for the New Street Gateway project during his emergency budget speech earlier in the week, Cllr Whitby added: “I am delighted that George Osborne has recognised the strategic importance of the scheme and reiterated the Government's support for a project that is not only significant regionally and nationally but is also a statement about how Britain values good public transport infrastructure.”

Andrew Skidmore, scheme sponsor at Network Rail said:  “Britain relies on rail and the Government has this week acknowledged the importance of investing in our transport infrastructure and backed the rebuilding of New Street.  Gateway will deliver a world class station and is at the heart of our plans to restore pride in Britain's stations.  We've planned the work to minimise disruption so while we're working hard behind the scenes to deliver a new station, train services will continue to operate.”

The Gateway project is backed by Network Rail, Birmingham City Council, Advantage West Midlands, Centro and the Department for Transport.  It will be delivered by Network Rail.

Mick Laverty, chief executive at Advantage West Midlands, said: “Birmingham Gateway is one of the region's flagship projects which are going to help power the West Midlands out of recession and into economic recovery.

“It will be a world-class station for a world-class region, which is why Advantage West Midlands has invested £100 million in the project - the single biggest investment by any regional development agency in the country.”
Centro's vice chairman Cllr Christine Mills, added: “The thousands of people using New Street Station each day would have a real shock if they saw the scale of work going on just a few yards away behind the scenes.

“It's certainly exciting to see so much activity on a project that will ultimately give passengers the sort of  iconic, 21st century station they need and deserve.”

On site, the project team are using cutting edge technology including diamond tipped saws and concrete chewing “brock” machines to cut up and remove an entire floor of the old car park.  The concrete is then removed progressively with over 1000 pieces of concrete being removed, some weighing up to 10 tonnes at a time.  85% of the material taken out will be recycled.  

The space created will form a new station concourse which will open in 2012 as Phase 1 of the project completes.  Phase 2 will see the old concourse redeveloped with the project due to be fully completed in 2015.

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