Thursday 19 Nov 2015
Her Majesty The Queen reopens redeveloped Birmingham New Street station
The Queen has officially reopened the transformed Birmingham New Street station.
Accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, Her Majesty unveiled a plaque marking her visit - the first 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 The Duke of Edinburgh were greeted by a host of dignitaries - including Sir Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail and Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail - after arriving at the station on the Royal Train.
They were shown an exhibition of the station through the ages since it was first built in the 1880s and were introduced to many of those involved in building the latest incarnation. They also met staff who help meet the needs of the 170,000 passengers who use Birmingham New Street every day.
The new station, including the new Grand Central shopping complex, was unveiled in September this year after a five-year, £750m Network Rail project.
Today’s opening ceremony, which took place on the station’s stunning 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 which will take pride of place within the station.
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, chairman of Network Rail, 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.
“Birmingham New Street is helping to boost the regeneration of the city centre as well as provide the millions of passengers who use it with a modern, 21st century station. With the Grand Central development above it, it is a unique station which is vital to the continued development of Birmingham and the wider region.
“Our Railway Upgrade Plan is providing a better railway for passengers and this station is the latest example of how these improvements are benefiting millions of people and helping boost our economy at a local and national level.”
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.
“This is just one example of the record investment we are making in the rail network across the UK as part of our long-term economic plan.”
Chris Montgomery, Network Rail’s project director who oversaw the redevelopment of Birmingham New Street, said: “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.”
Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "Birmingham New Street station has undergone a magnificent transformation and, together with the Grand Central development, has transformed the gateway to our city.
"I am confident this project will pave the way for continued regeneration, creating many more jobs and opportunities for the people of 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.
The redeveloped Birmingham New Street station opened its doors to passengers on 20 September 2015 after a five-year, £750m 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.
The new station will eventually feature 43 shops at concourse level. Above it sits the new Grand Central shopping complex, including one of the UK’s largest John Lewis department stores.
Facts and figures:
170,000 passengers a day use Birmingham New Street, nearly triple the 60,000 a day the old station was designed for when it was rebuilt in the 1960s. The new station can now handle 300,000 a day.
Birmingham New Street is the busiest station outside London, and the busiest interchange station in the UK
36 new escalators make it a lot easier to travel between the concourse and the platforms below. The existing station has five escalators.
15 new public lifts make the station fully accessible for the first time, there were previously only two lifts which linked the concourse and platforms directly, meaning many of our most vulnerable passengers had to negotiate a subway to reach specific platforms.
Birmingham New Street in numbers:
4 - train operating companies run through the station
5 - times more space at concourse level
5 - times the size of London Euston’s concourse
7 - days a week working on site, 24 hours a day during construction
12 - platforms will be refurbished
13 - Centre Courts at Wimbledon – size of the entire new passenger concourse
15 - new lifts, serving every platform
36 - escalators, serving every platform
37 - a train arrives or departs Birmingham New Street every 37 seconds
50 - lifestyle and premium fashion brands in Grand Central
60 - pupils from local primary school toured station
60 - % rain water harvested from the façade used to flush all the toilets in the station
85 - % of non-hazardous waste material from the whole project to be recycled /re-used as a minimum
1,000 - jobs created through John Lewis and Grand Central
1,200 - workers on average on site which increased to 3,500 at the end
1854 - original station first opened
1967 - redeveloped station opened
2009 - work began on the new station
2015 - overall project completion
3,300 - square metres of new atrium, the size of a football pitch
5,000 - tonnes of concrete removed from the old NCP car park to create the first half of the new concourse
7,000 - tonnes of concrete removed from Stephenson Tower
10,000 - lorry journeys saved off Birmingham’s roads throughout the project by using trains to transport waste material
20,000 - tonnes of concrete removed to create the space for the atrium
170,000 - passengers use the station daily
200,000 - sq ft of retail space in Grand Central
250,000 - sq ft of space in John Lewis
300,000 - passenger-per-day capacity of the new Birmingham New Street station
BNS construction facts & figures:
1,000 workers on site, 24 hours a day, seven days a week during construction – which increased to 3,500 in the final months of the project.
We removed tens of thousands of tonnes of concrete and other material to create the space for the new station. We recycled 98% of all material removed:
- 7,500 tonnes from the old car park to create the space for the atrium
- 20,000 tonnes from Stephenson Tower, an old 22-storey tower block
- 20,000 tonnes from the centre of the Pallasades shopping centre to create the space for the new atrium.
The façade was installed by Martifer, a specialist stainless steel construction contractor.
About 20,000 sq metres or 1,100 tonnes of steel make up the façade. (800 tonnes of supporting steelwork and 300 tonnes of façade).
Around 8,000 stainless steel panels have been used supported by more than half a million fixing structures. Every panel is unique in order to adjust to the peculiar geometry of the building.
250,000 sq ft: the size of the new John Lewis department store, the biggest outside London
200,000 sq ft: of premium retail space in the new Grand Central
15 new concept cafes and restaurants in the Grand Central shopping complex.
To build the new John Lewis shop:
6,800 cubic metres of concrete (the equivalent volume of three Olympic swimming pools).
2,900 tonnes of structural steel (the equivalent weight of over six Pendolino trains)
4,800 square metres of glazing
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About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.