Posted 5th February 2010 | 8 Comments

Birmingham New Street work to start this year

WORK on transforming dowdy Birmingham New Street is set to start later this year, after the City Council planning committee approved Network Rail's ambitious £600 million plans for the hub. When the scheme is completed in 2015, passenger capacity will have been doubled.

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

City Council leader Mike Whitby said: “Today's endorsement sees a further green light given to one of the most important projects undertaken in this city in generations. It has been a long road in securing funding for Gateway but ultimately our vision for a stunning central station that can cope with Birmingham’s 21st century transport demands has been recognised.

“The redeveloped New Street Gateway will provide a focal point for far wider regeneration of the entire city over the next 10-15 years, and is one of the main components of the city's £6 billion worth of publicly funded regeneration projects currently on our books.”

The station is already used by almost 1 million passengers a week, and Network Rail is promising to keep disruption to a minimum. Route Director Jo Kaye made it clear that the business of the station must continue during the rebuilding. 

She said: “New Street station will be transformed into a 21st century transport hub. With the backing of the planning authority we are one step closer to realising this vision. We will continue to refine our plans so that we give New Street the new start it deserves and keep the impact on people’s journeys to a minimum.”

New Street opened in 1854, replacing the first Birmingham station at Curzon Street. Although planned on a grand scale, it was bitterly criticised in later years, and was completely rebuilt in the 1960s as part of the London Midland electrification of the West Coast Main Line between London and the north west.

Reader Comments:

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

  • John Smith, Birmingham, UK

    Refurbishing the station when there is no capacity for new services from London or the South is madness. The Council allowed the Bull Ring to be rebuilt without additional track space and is now ploughing ahead even though HS2 will not be able to reach New Street. Why not invest in the Curzon Street site and allow the high speed service from London that everyone wants.

  • Andrew John Blurton, Staffs, United Kingdom


  • Garth, Chippenham

    Yes, New St is a poor station for the passengers, above the tracks. But it is worse below, partly because it is too busy. All the changes won't increase the track capacity one bit, IMO.
    As for HS2, my guess is it won't go there. How about a station at Birmingham International, then veering northeast of the city centre, perhaps with a station somewhere near to Curzon St.

  • Jonathan, Birmingham

    Les, to be honest I reckon Birmingham's going to need a new station at some point over the next thirty years anyway. New Street is a bottleneck at track level anyway and this hugely scheme, while needed and welcome, won't do anything to change that. They'd never manage to shoehorn a high speed terminus onto the New Street site and I'm glad - the last thing we need is yet more delays and even less capacity.

    If only the city council hadn't sold off the Curzon Street site for yet another 'mixed use development'.

  • F Kahn, Sutton

    Excellent news, but I hope the new infrastructure will not be used as an excuse for another increase in rail fares.

  • andrew ganley, Sutton, england

    No matter how many times they rebuild it,it will still be a dump(its in Birmingham after all) pity they couldnt have designed it to lool look like a railway station and not a airport terminal.

  • Geoff Steel, Northampton, United Kingdom

    I have stated this before but we really should be looking to incorporate HS2 as part of this project just like most other major cities in Europe have done in developing High Speed Rail. Otherwise, the HS link could end up on the fringe of Birmingham and the full benefits of high speed rail travel will be lost by having to change on to another mode of transport to access the city centre. Unfortunately, as good as this project might be and the benefits it will bring to the existing operation along with the development potential it seems to me that this is yet another example of a lack of vision and an overall strategy for transport in this country.

  • les Burge, leicester, england

    New streeet is awful and something has to be done for the poor passengers
    especially as this station is a big interchange station.But how is this going to fit in with HS2?