Birmingham New Street this week marks one year since the £750m redevelopment of one of Britain’s busiest railway stations.
The five-year transformation has seen brighter, de-cluttered platforms, improved entrances to all corners of the city centre, a range of new retail facilities and an abundance of natural light provided by a stunning atrium over the huge new concourse.
The station fully opened its doors to passengers on 20 September 2015 – a year ago today – with Grand Central, the shopping and dining hub located above the station, opening a few days later on 24 September.
The investment and transformation, part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, is already delivering significant passenger and wider city benefits. Passenger satisfaction has increased steadily since the redevelopment, reaching 88% at the last survey, the highest the station has ever received. The area around the station is already seeing investment with new bars, shops and restaurants opened and further developments, including a 26-storey hotel near the station’s entrance on the Southside of the city centre, recently being granted planning permission.
Patrick Power, Network Rail’s station manager at Birmingham New Street, said: “This has been a fantastic year for Birmingham and our station as a whole. Seeing passengers’ faces when they first walked into the new concourse and station for the first time was a real highlight and that look of surprise and being wowed by what they see still happens as more and more people use the station every day.
“The redevelopment has visibly given our city a lift and we now have a station everyone can be proud of. We continue to do all we can to make it even better so that passengers and visitors to the city get the best possible impression of the railway and Birmingham.”
The new station features around 40 shops at concourse level and above it sits the Grand Central shopping and dining hub which includes one of the largest John Lewis department stores.
One of the defining features of the station is the much improved concourse, roughly the same size as 13 Wimbledon centre courts, which is overlooked by the vast and impressive atrium roof which floods the concourse with natural light.
Birmingham City Council leader, Councillor John Clancy, said: “The dramatic transformation of New Street is a real statement of intent from Birmingham. Exciting things are happening here and the new-look station is now the gateway to a confident city that is very clearly open for business.
“Birmingham has a growing reputation as a destination city for tourists and investors and the transformation of New Street station is playing a key role in our ongoing renaissance.”
As originally planned, work continues on the redevelopment of the station’s 12 platforms. The last platform to be completed, platform 11, is due to reopen to passengers in mid-October. All platforms will be lighter, brighter and cleaner with more space and better access to lifts and escalators on each.
Work also continues on the southern hub, a new exit-only addition to the station which will provide direct access to Hill Street from the Navigation Street footbridge. This is due to be completed and open to passengers by the end of October.
Birmingham New Street’s first year has seen several high profile events in the last 12 months including the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s visit to the city in November 2015 when Her Majesty officially opened the new station.
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Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain’s railway – the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail’s investment plan for Britain’s railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail’s £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain’s railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years – so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.