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Original plans and drawings detailing the 150-year history of Birmingham New Street station are published

22 April 2013

We've published the original plans and drawings of Birmingham New Street station on our virtual archive for the first time. Some of the plans date back to the 19th century, showing the layout of the original station which opened in 1854 as well as the 1960’s rebuild.

 

Original plans

With the imminent unveiling of the new concourse, we’ve been searching for the original plans and drawings of the station and have found some of great interest and importance. Very little survives for the original 19th century New Street, but what we do have, along with a collection of the more familiar 1960s station, is now available online at www.networkrail.co.uk/virtualarchive.

New Street wasn’t always the eyesore that has proved so unpopular in the city in recent years. When the original station first opened in 1851, it was the largest in the country, encompassed by the largest single span arched roof in the world at 212ft wide and 840ft long. Constructed by the same team who built Paddington station, New Street in its original guise was a grand structure and typical of 19th century architecture and only rivalled by the arrival of St Pancras in 1868.

A new concourse

The station has remained largely unchanged since it was last redeveloped in 1967 and in more recent years has been the focus of much criticism as numbers of people using the railway has increased, with more than double the passengers using New Street today than it was designed for.

The experience for passengers is currently poor, with the station being too dark, busy and overcrowded with inadequate access to platforms. However that is all about to change when the new concourse opens on 28 April 2013. It will be one-and-a-half times bigger than the current one, featuring all of the facilities expected in a major station, with a new, larger and improved ticket office and new lifts and escalators improving access to platforms.

Public exhibition

Ahead of the new concourse opening on 28 April 2013, the final public exhibition giving comprehensive information about the station switchover will take place on Birmingham New Street station's main concourse:

  • 23 April 2013 and 26 April 2013: 07:00 to 19:00
  • 27 April 2013: 09:00 to 19:00

Changes on 28 April 2013

  • 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 as new entrances open onto Stephenson Street and Hill Street
  • The station taxi rank will temporarily move to Navigation Street

Read more about Birmingham New Street station redevelopment.