The redeveloped Birmingham New Street station has opened its doors to passengers after a five-year, £750 million transformation.
Boasting an iconic new atrium over a huge passenger concourse - five times the size of London Euston’s - the station has been rebuilt while trains continued to run as normal for the 170,000 passengers a day who use it.
With brighter, de-cluttered platforms, improved entrances, a range of new facilities and an abundance of natural light over the new concourse, Birmingham New Street, one of Britain’s busiest inter-change stations, is also a retail destination in its own right.
Chancellor George Osborne said: “This £750 million investment to modernise Birmingham New Street station is at the heart of our plans to use the power of infrastructure to build a more healthy, balanced and productive economy right across the Midlands.
“We are committed to build the Midlands engine, set to boost growth by attracting local jobs and investment and the new station shows we are delivering on our long-term economic plan for the region.”
The new station will feature 43 shops at concourse level and above it sits the new Grand Central shopping complex, including one of the UK’s largest John Lewis department stores.
The 450,000 sq ft shopping destination, which will open its doors on Thursday, will create more than 1,000 jobs and is expected to attract more than 50 million visitors a year.
Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Birmingham New Street sits right at the heart of our rail network and the transformation which has taken place here is nothing short of stunning.
“The station is now bigger, brighter and better able to meet the needs of the growing number of people who use it each day.
“As Britain’s second city, Birmingham deserves a station of this calibre and, along with Grand Central, the investment we have made will help support the local economy and regenerate large parts of city centre.
“Rebuilding one of the busiest stations in the country without impacting on passengers’ journeys has been a major challenge, but I’m extremely proud to say that Network Rail and our partners on this project have done just that.
“That’s a significant achievement for everyone who has helped build this fantastic new station of which they, and all of Birmingham, can be very proud indeed.”