Birmingham saw the opening of one of the rail network’s greenest buildings today as a new base for railway staff officially arrived at platform 1 at Birmingham New Street station.
The new building, known as the Lamp Block, sits on the west end of platform 1 at the station rising above Hill Street and Navigation Street. It was delivered by Network Rail for CrossCountry and is now the base for over 450 of their train crew who run CrossCountry services across Great Britain.
Built in less than a year within a very challenging environment between a rock face and the railway, it sits on the site of a 19th century depot which supplied gas lamps to workers who maintained the railway tunnels either side of New Street station.
Chris Montgomery, project director for Network Rail said: “The opening of the Lamp Block not only provides a fantastic facility for CrossCountry staff; it also marks an important step towards the redevelopment of New Street to deliver a better station for passengers. We’ve worked carefully to avoid disruption to train services during construction and offset the building’s carbon footprint by incorporating green technology as part of the building design.”
The new facility is expected to receive a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating of excellent. It boasts a number of sustainable features including solar panels to generate electricity, a solar thermal system to generate hot water, sub-metering for all water, heating and cooling to monitor energy consumption and an energy efficient lighting system. Sharing the space with the solar panels is also the building’s green roof, containing over 14 different species of plant to contribute to the area’s biodiversity and reduce rainwater run off into the drainage system. This renewable technology is expected to reduce the building’s carbon emissions by 10%. Over 85% of all non-hazardous construction and demolition waste for the build has either been re-used or recycled.
Andy Cooper, CrossCountry’s managing director, added: “Our new train crew centre replaces accommodation more than 50 years old and reflects the standards expected in a modern business. The innovative solution provided by the Lamp Block has released even more space on the main station to provide a better environment for our customers too. We are very pleased with the result.”