Posted 19th November 2015 | 2 Comments

Royal opening for Birmingham New Street

THE Queen has officially reopened the enlarged station at Birmingham New Street.

Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Her Majesty alighted from the Royal Train to unveil a plaque marking her visit -- the first she has made to New Street in her 62-year reign and her first visit to the city since her Diamond Jubilee tour in 2012.

The Queen and Prince Philip were greeted by a host of dignitaries, including Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy and chief executive Mark Carne.

They were shown an exhibition of New Street stations through the ages since the first was opened in 1854, and were introduced to many of those involved in building the latest version as well as New Street staff.

The station, including the new Grand Central shopping complex, was opened in September this year after a five-year, £750 million Network Rail project.

Today’s opening ceremony, which took place on the concourse under its vast atrium, included speeches from the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Ray Hassall, and Sir Peter Hendy before her Majesty unveiled the special plaque.

The Queen also attended a short service of dedication, led by the Bishop of Birmingham, The Right Reverend David Urquhart, for the PALS War Memorial outside the new station. The PALS were volunteer soldiers from the city who were involved in World War I after signing up to the army in September 1914.

Sir Peter Hendy said: “It was an honour to welcome The Queen to Birmingham New Street and be part of a very special day for Birmingham. For such an impressive and transformed station, it was fitting that it was officially reopened by Her Majesty."

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who attended the reopening, said: “Birmingham New Street is a truly remarkable development that is not only providing better journeys for passengers, but also driving economic growth and regeneration across the West Midlands and beyond."

Chris Montgomery, Network Rail’s project director who oversaw the redevelopment of New Street, added: “The Queen officially reopening Birmingham New Street station is the culmination of many years of hard work by thousands of people involved in the project. This is a proud day for the project team, for Network Rail and for Birmingham.”

The Queen and Duke’s visit was broadcast on the station’s largest ‘media eye’ at the front of the station for the public to watch, while many also gathered inside.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    While the upgrade to the station will no doubt be welcome by users one has to remember that unlike at London Bridge Station which is undergoing a full re-build the station at track level remains largely the same thus capacity constraints and flat junctions remain raising questions as to the real VFM this investment is to rail users .

    While plans for HS2 will will see a new station at Curzon Street which is next to Moor Street Station raises questions as to whether a new link on WCML serving Moor Street / Curzon Street via a Crossrail type tunnel might be a better option of overcoming constraints at New,Street Station .

  • Chris Green, Huddersfield

    An important station to the British rail network like New Street has to be looking spick and span, and this renovation has just made that come to fruition. Well done Network Rail!