- Birmingham New Street station
Infobox UK station
name = Birmingham New Street
pte = West Midlands
zone = 1
code = BHM
latitude = 52.47777
longitude = -1.89885
gridref = SP069866
New Street, Birmingham, England
borough = Birmingham City Council
years = 1854
events = First opened
years2 = 1964
events2 = Queen's Hotel closed and demolished
years3 = 1964
events3 = Power signal box built | years4 = 1967
events4 = Rebuilt
platforms = 13
usage0405 = 16.244
usage0506 = 17.303
usage0607 = 14.525
New Street is Birmingham's main railway station, and is a major hub of the British railway system. Due to its central location,
railwaylines from all over Great Britainrun into it including lines to London, Liverpool, Manchester, Scotland, Cardiff, North Wales, Bournemouth, Bristol, Penzance, Nottingham, Leicester, Shrewsburyand Newcastle upon Tyne.
The station is also a terminus for many local services from throughout the
West Midlands conurbation, including the local Cross-City Line, serving Lichfield, Redditchand stations in between. Direct trains run to more stations from New Street than from any other station on the British railway network.Fact|date=December 2007
Over 35 million people pass through New Street station every year, of whom 87% are passengers, making it the busiest major station in the United Kingdom outside London for estimated footfall [cite web |url=http://www.networkrail.co.uk/documents/3078_ManagedStationsFootfall.xls |title=Managed Stations Footfall |accessdate=2007-07-15 |publisher=Network Rail |year=2004/05 |format=xls] and the third busiest outside London by ticket sales. [cite web |url=http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/xls/station_usage_2005-06.xls |title=Station Usage 2005-2006 |accessdate=2007-05-22 |format=xls |work=Office of Rail Regulation station usage statistics ] It is one of 17 British railway stations managed by
New Street is not popular with its users with a customer satisfaction rate of only 52% - the joint lowest of any Network Rail major station. [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/6927406.stm |title=Revamped station tops train poll |publisher=
BBC News|date=2007-08-02 |accessdate=2007-08-20] A proposal to redevelop the station in the £550m scheme named Gateway Pluswas given the full funding by the British Government in February 2008 and new designs were unveiled in September 2008. [cite web |url=http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/new-street-new-start |title=Birmingham City Council: New Street new Start|accessdate=2008-09-18]
The first railway station
New Street station was constructed as a joint station by the
London and North Western Railwayand the Midland Railwaybetween 1846 and 1854 to replace several earlier unconnected rail termini, the most notable being Curzon Street. It was opened in 1851 as a temporary rail terminus of the London and Birmingham Railway. [cite web |url=http://www.railaroundbirmingham.co.uk/Stations/new_street.php |title=New Street Station |publisher=Rail Around Birmingham and the West Midlands |accessdate=2008-07-07] The station was constructed by Messrs. Fox, Henderson & Co. was designed by A. E. Coowper of Fox Henderson and Co.. When completed, it had the largest iron and glass roof in the world, spanning a width of convert|212|ft|m|0 and being convert|840|ft|m|0 long.cite web |url=http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/779.aspx#history |title=Birmingham New Street - History |publisher=Network Rail |accessdate=2008-07-06] It held this title for 14 years. It was formally opened on June 1, 1854however it had been in use for two years before this. The "Queen's Hotel" was opened on the same day and its telegraphic address became "Besthotel Birmingham".
Those Midland railway trains that had used Curzon Street began to use New Street from 1854. However, those south towards Bristol would have to reverse, so many continued through Camp Hill. Increasing congestion meant that the Midland spent £500,000 on enlargements, which included a second train shed to the south of Great Queen Street, which became a central carriageway. Some through trains to the southwest began in 1885, with a new underpass from Derby Junction to Grand Junction, independent of the LNWR, and a new south tunnel in 1896. [cite book |last=Pixton |first=B. |year=2005 |title=Birmingham-Derby: Portrait of a Famous Route |publisher=Runpast Publishing] The new Midland Rail station opened alongside the original LNWR station on
February 8, 1885. This station consisted of two trussed arches, convert|58|ft|m|0 wide by convert|620|ft|m|0 long, and convert|67|ft|6|in|m|0 wide by convert|600|ft|m|0 long. This was designed by F. Stevenson, Chief Engineers to the LNWE. By the end of 19th century, New Street had become one of the busiest railway stations in the country.
In 1923, the two companies, with others, were grouped into the
London, Midland and Scottish Railway(LMS).
The current railway station
The roof of the original station sustained heavy damage as a result of enemy bombing in the
Birmingham Blitzof World War II.cite book |last= Foster |first=Andy |title=Birmingham |series=Pevsner Architectural Guides |origyear=2005 |year=2007 |pages=110 |publisher=Yale University Press |isbn=978-0-300-10731-9] The station roof was then removed between 1948 and 1952. In 1964, the Queen's Hotel was closed and demolished whilst the power signal box was completed in the same year. The New Street Station Signal Box is a distinctly Brutalist building with corrugated concrete architecture. It was designed by Bicknell & Hamilton in collaboration with W. R. Healey, the regional architect for the British Railways London Midland Region. [cite book |last= Foster |first=Andy |title=Birmingham |series=Pevsner Architectural Guides |origyear=2005 |year=2007 |pages=207 |publisher=Yale University Press |isbn=978-0-300-10731-9] The four storey structure is located to the side of the tracks connected to Navigation Street. It is now a Grade II listed building. [cite web |url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/gallery/image/0,8543,-11104251730,00.html |title=Listed buildings |publisher=Guardian Unlimited |accessdate=2008-07-06]
In 1964, demolition of the original New Street station commenced and was not completed until 1966. The new New Street station was completed in 1967 by the nationalised
British Railways, when the West Coast Main Linewas modernised and electrified. Queen's Drive was lost in the rebuilding, but the name is now carried by a new driveway which serves the car park and a tower block, and is the access route for the station's taxis. The rebuilt station was designed by Kenneth J. Davies, the lead planner for the London Midland Region at British Rail.cite book |last= Foster |first=Andy |title=Birmingham |series=Pevsner Architectural Guides |origyear=2005 |year=2007 |pages=216 |publisher=Yale University Press |isbn=978-0-300-10731-9] The new station had sold its air rights, leading to the construction of the Pallasades Shopping Centre(known then as the Birmingham Shopping Centre) [cite web |url=http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/GenerateContent?CONTENT_ITEM_ID=89806&CONTENT_ITEM_TYPE=0&MENU_ID=10277 |title=Aerial View of New Street Station 1963 |publisher=Birmingham City Council |accessdate=2008-07-06] between 1968-70. Also above the station is a nine-storey office block designed by Cotton, Ballard & Blow, who also designed the Exchange Place building overlooking the ramp from New Street leading into the Pallasades Shopping Centre. An NCP car park is also located on top of the station. The station and the Pallasades are now somewhat integrated with the Bullring Shopping Centre via elevated walkways above Smallbrook Queensway. Alongside the station, a residential tower block named Stephenson Tower was constructed between 1965 and 1966. It was designed by the City Architect of Birminghamand is 20 storeys tall. The tower is on a long lease and administered by Birmingham City Council, with Network Rail having the freehold. [cite web |url=http://188.8.131.52/vault/XDDocStore_6/0189037_m%2030112006public.pdf |title=Report No. 7 – New Street Station, Stephenson Street/Navigation Street/Station Street and Smallbrook Queensway, City (C/05066/06/OUT) minutes |publisher=Birmingham City Council |accessdate=2008-07-06 |format=pdf]
Currently, New Street handles about 80% of passengers travelling to, from or through Birmingham.cite web |url=http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/GenerateContent?CONTENT_ITEM_ID=95455&CONTENT_ITEM_TYPE=9&MENU_ID=276 |title=New Street redevelopment ‘on-track’ for 2007 |publisher=Birmingham City Council |date=2006-12-19 |accessdate=2006-12-26]
There are currently three escalators providing access to the Pallasades Shopping Centre, and two lifts providing access to a subway running underneath the platforms. The subway has lifts for access to the 'A' end of all platforms. There are escalators from the concourse down to the 'B' end of each platform (with the exception of platforms 1 and 12). All 12 main platforms (excluding platform 4c) at New Street have tracks that go straight through the station, as opposed to terminating with buffers like at many other large stations. This results in most platform changes, and access to the concourse, requiring use of the escalators, stairs, or lifts. The main platforms are also all long enough for two relatively short trains to stand at them.
New Street does not have automatic barriers that check tickets. Instead, station staff inspect tickets at peak times, while at off-peak times there is often no ticket checking. Birmingham New Street hosts a
British Transport Policestation. The distinctive automated announcements are provided by voice artist Phil Sayerand delivered by a computerised service provided by Ditra Systems. [cite web |url=http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/~pxc/nlpa/NLPA-X-RailNewsArticle.html |title=The face behind The Voice is sorry for the delay today |publisher=" Railnews" (republished by University of Birmingham) |author=Chris Arnot |month=June |year=2004 |accessdate=2008-07-07]
In 1987, twelve different horse sculptures by Kevin Atherton, titled "Iron Horse", were erected between New Street station and Wolverhampton. One stands on a platform at New Street. [cite book |title=Public Sculpture of Birmingham including Sutton Coldfield |first=George T. |last=Noszlopy |coauthors=Jeremy Beach |year=1998 |isbn=0-85323-692-5]
New Street is frequently derided as one of the most run down and unwelcoming of all the major stations on the British railway network. Although much of this can be blamed on the sub-surface nature of the station and the 1960s architecture, that it is built below the dated Pallasades shopping arcade also contributes to New Street's perceived negative ambience. In November 2003 the station was voted the second biggest "eyesore" in the UK by readers of "Country Life" magazine. [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3266745.stm |title=Windfarms top list of UK eyesores |publisher=BBC News |date=2003-11-13 |accessdate=2006-11-29] New Street was voted joint worst station for customer satisfaction with Liverpool Lime Street and East Croydon with only 52% satisfied with the national average being 60%. [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/6927406.stm |title=Revamped station tops train poll |publisher=BBC News |date=2007-08-02 |accessdate=2007-08-20]
A feasibility study into the 'redevelopment' of the station site was approved on
21 January 2005. A 'regeneration' scheme was launched in 2006 [cite web |url=http://skyscrapernews.com/news.php?ref=676 |title=Rail Air Rights Towers Planned For Birmingham |accessdate=2006-07-26 |publisher=Skyscrapernews.com |year=2006] . Since then, the scheme has taken various forms, and various names, such as Birmingham Gateway, Gateway Plus, and New Street Gateway.
So far as can be established, the 'redevelopment' proposed amounts to a partial reconstruction of the station site, focused on cosmetic, rather than capacity issues. The track and platform level would remain essentially unchanged. A target date given for completion is 2013.
February 12, 2008, Ruth Kelly announced that the Department for Transport will be providing £160 million on top of the £128 million that is to be provided through a government White Paper named " [http://www.dft.gov.uk/about/strategy/whitepapers/whitepapercm7176/whitepapersustainablerailway1 Delivering a Sustainable Railway] ". A further £100 million will be provided by the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reformand will be channelled through Advantage West Midlands, the regional development agency. The announcement brought the total amount of Government spending on the project to £388 million. [cite web| url=http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk/birminghampost/news/2008/02/12/new-street-station-rebuild-gets-go-ahead-65233-20463509/ |title=New Street Station rebuild gets go-ahead |publisher="Birmingham Post" |author=Jonathan Walker |date=2008-02-12 |accessdate=2008-02-12] Following discarding of earlier sets of proposals, six architects were shortlisted to design the new station following a call for submissions [cite web |url=http://www.building.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=3106616 |title=Six architects vie for Birmingham New Street station |publisher="Building" |author=Karolin Schaps |date=2008-02-18 |accessdate=2008-07-06] and it was announced in September 2008 that the design by Foreign Office Architects had been chosen.cite web| url=http://www.newstreetnewstart.co.uk/ |title=Transforming New Street Station |publisher=Network Rail / Birmingham City Council / Advantage West Midlands / Centro |accessdate=2008-10-03]
The fact that the Gateway development leaves the capacity of the station more or less unaltered has not escaped attention. In July 2008 the Commons Transport Committee criticised the plans, saying that it was not convinced that the plans were adequate for the number of trains which could end up using the station. It said if the station could not be adapted, the government needed to look for alternative solutions. [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/7516959.stm|title=MPs criticise New Street revamp|author=
BBC News|date=2008-07-21|accessdate=2008-08-07] .
Various alternatives to the Gateway schemes have been put forward, including building a new main station on a different site, and diverting trains to Snow Hill and Moor Street stations.
Birmingham Snow Hill station
Birmingham International railway station
Birmingham Moor Street railway station
Transport in Birmingham
West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive
* "A History of Birmingham", Chris Upton, 1997, ISBN 0-85033-870-0.
* "Birmingham New Street. The Story of a Great Station Including Curzon Street. 1 Background and Beginnings. The Years up to 1860". By Richard Foster.
Wild Swan PublicationsLimited (1990) ISBN 0-906867-78-9
* "Birmingham New Street. The Story of a Great Station Including Curzon Street. 2 Expansion and Improvement. 1860 to 1923". By Richard Foster. Wild Swan Publications Limited (1990) ISBN 0-906867-79-7
* "Birmingham New Street. The Story of a Great Station Including Curzon Street. 3 LMS Days. 1923-1947" By Richard Foster. Wild Swan Publications Limited (1997) ISBN 1-874103-37-2
* "Birmingham New Street. The Story of a Great Station Including Curzon Street 4 British Railways. The First 15 Years". By Richard Foster. Wild Swan Publications Limited (Publication awaited).
* Smith, Donald J. (1984)."New Street Remembered: The story of Birmingham's New Street Station 1854-1967 In words and pictures". Birmingham: Barbryn Press Ltd. ISBN 0-906160-05-7.
* [http://www.newstreetnewstart.co.uk/ New Street - New Start]
* [http://www.warwickshirerailways.com/index.htm Warwickshire's Railways] the history of the county's railways from 1838 to 1968
* [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/mapsheet.asp?sheetid=10098&ox=1444&oy=1890&zm=1&czm=1&x=363&y=220 1890 Ordnance Survey map of the station]
* [http://www.railaroundbirmingham.co.uk/Stations/new_street.php Rail Around Birmingham and the West Midlands: Birmingham New Street station]
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