Network Rail today announced that the first half of the new concourse at Birmingham New Street station will open to passengers on Sunday 28 April.
The switchover will see the first major changes at New Street in over 40 years and mark a major milestone in the redevelopment of the station, which started in 2010.
When the new concourse and new entrances open to passengers, the old station and all of its existing entrances will close to allow rebuilding work to continue on this side of the station.
Chris Montgomery, Network Rail’s New Street project director said: “We’ve committed to keeping New Street open to passengers throughout the redevelopment and to date, we’ve been able to do most of our work behind the scenes.
“The half time switchover on 28 April will be the first time passengers see real changes in how they use, and access New Street station. By switching off the old station and opening the first half of the new concourse next door, we can keep passengers moving through New Street while we continue rebuilding the existing half of the station and shopping centre above.”
The third in a series of public exhibitions will take place next week on the main concourse at New Street next week between 7am-7pm on Tuesday 19, Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 March. Passengers will be able to speak to members of the project team, view information about how the station will change and work out which of the new station entrances will suit them best when the station switches over.
The exhibitions are part of a major information campaign to inform passengers about the changes at New Street station. Passengers can also find out more by tweeting @networkrail or from www.newstreetnewstart.co.uk.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “I was impressed when I visited the works at Birmingham New Street at the end of February. Its transformation is not only giving the West Midlands the fantastic travel hub it deserves, it is also opening up this part of the city centre to pedestrians.
“The scale of the work is impressive, the regeneration potential of this £600m development is plain to see and I am pleased that Government funding is being put to good use.
“The quality of the design is superb and will no doubt help Birmingham build on its reputation for exciting and striking architecture.”
Cllr Roger Horton, Centro’s lead member for transforming rail, added: “This is a real milestone in the transformation of New Street into a station the whole region can be proud of.
“It’s also exciting for the thousands of passengers who use the station each day as the opening will bring real benefits for them and be easier to access with new lifts and escalators down to the platforms.”
Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Keeping New Street open to people living, working and visiting the city whilst such a major redevelopment has been taking place over the last two years has been a tremendous technical achievement. The fact that the 140,000 passengers using the station every day have the confidence that they can go about their business without disruption and the city has kept moving is to be commended.”
When the first half of the new concourse opens, it will be one and a half times bigger than the old concourse and have all of the facilities expected in a major station, with a new, bigger and improved ticket office, plus new escalators and lifts improving access to platforms.
Other major changes include:
* The existing vehicle and pedestrian entrance outside the front of the station on Smallbrook Queensway will close, with vehicle access moving across to a new drop off area and short stay car park located off Hill Street
* Passengers travelling from Moor Street station and pedestrians on Smallbrook Queensway will be able to access the new concourse via the new Moor Street link pedestrian walkway which links the east side of the station to the new entrance on Stephenson Street.
* Passengers can still access the station from Pallasades and Bullring through a new set of escalators which link the shopping centre above down to the new concourse.
The Victoria Square entrance on Navigation Street will close to passengers as new entrances will open onto Stephenson Street and Hill Street
The station taxi rank will temporarily move to Navigation Street
Once the new concourse opens, the Network Rail & Mace delivery team will turn their attention to redeveloping the old station concourse and the remainder of the Pallasades shopping centre. The new premium fashion and lifestyle shopping destination, Grand Central Birmingham, incorporating a four storey John Lewis, over 40 more shops and more than 15 cafes and restaurants, is set to open in autumn 2014, with the station redevelopment completing in 2015.