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Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 – seven highlights

We played a vital role in supporting the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this year.

We’ve experienced an amazing 12 days at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, helping you on your journeys to an unforgettable event.

As one final act of support, we unveiled two huge banners at Birmingham New Street station, passing the sporting baton to Victoria, Australia, which will host the 2026 Games.  

From Thursday 28 July to 2pm on Monday 8 August, 2,010,008 of you passed through Birmingham New Street station.

Railway volunteers assisting passengers at Birmingham New Street station.

More than 150 of our volunteers helped you – and sports fans from all over the world – travel in and out of Birmingham by rail during the event.

But our support didn’t start there, let’s take a loot at our highlights to the run up, and running of the Commonwealth Games 2022.

1. Making the railway fit for the international stage

We improved the railway on the Chiltern Main Line between Dorridge and Birmingham Moor Street.

With an extra one million passengers predicted travelling to Birmingham during the Commonwealth Games, we knew it was essential to get the railway as reliable as possible.  

We completed important upgrades to switches and crossings – the components that allow trains to move from track to another – at a critical site outside of Tyseley train maintenance depot.

We also laid new track and stressed rails to better cope with the hot weather.

Our work ensured West Midlands Railway trains could have better access to the depot and into Birmingham throughout the Games.

2. Cleaning up

Our maintenance and station teams worked together to give Birmingham Moor Street station a top-to-bottom-clean.

We worked hard to improve the canopies, toilets, waiting rooms, platforms, concourse floors and beams.

We removed 60 miles of overgrown vegetation and graffiti from the side of the track. Also, as a special treat for you on your travels to Birmingham, more than 20 volunteers from Friends of the Shakespeare Line, a community rail group, installed 11 large planters and replanted existing ones.

3. Promotion, promotion, promotion

We completely rebranded Birmingham New Street, Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham International, Coventry, Leamington Spa, Perry Barr, and Warwick stations.

By working with our transport operation colleagues, we were able to put up extra signage and promotional banners to help you get around the stations, to and from events, and create a buzz of excitement.

4. Did someone say pink?

More than 300 railway volunteers helped out at stations across Birmingham, 150 of whom were from our own teams.  

Many of you who attended the Games had never been to the city before, so dressed in pink and hard to miss, they gave travel information – and some in-station entertainment to welcome you.

You’ll have seen face-painting, Irish dancers, opera singers, actors and bands to provide a carnival atmosphere during the sporting spectacle.

Our volunteers also gave out ice creams to crowds on the hotter days.

5. Birmingham New Street’s second busiest day

We revealed that Birmingham New Street’s second ever busiest day was Saturday 6 August, when 255,390 people used its concourse. This was only beaten by Black Friday in 2019 when 258,290 people travelled through the station. 

6. Thunderbirds are go

We had two Commonwealth Games-branded rescue locomotives ready to swing into action and help any broken down passenger and freight trains in the West Midlands.  

Aptly nicknamed ‘ The Thunderbirds’ after the cult science-fiction TV series, they play a vital role in rescuing and removing stranded trains to reduce delays.  

Our teams moved the locos, provided by the Rail Operations Group, from Debry to Soho railway depot in Birmingham.

They recently helped keep you moving safely during the record-breaking temperatures – helping to move trains which became stranded when overhead power lines suffered heatwave damage in Birmingham.  

7. Sorting out cable theft

Network Rail Emergency Incident Unit vehicle on standby by railway.

We quickly responded to cable theft near Tyseley on the Chiltern Main Line in the early hours of Wednesday 3 August. 

Our Emergency Intervention Unit immediately assessed the damage and replaced the cables.

We managed to reopen this busy route into Birmingham from 10:50 in the morning.

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