Birmingham New Street station’s Gateway project took a visible step forward over Christmas with the removal of part of the Navigation Street footbridge.
A new section of footbridge was lifted neatly into place. When the extended bridge opens at the end of 2012, it will provide access to Platform 12 for the first time and create a new station entrance on Hill Street.
Says Geoff Inskip, chief executive of Centro, ‘Whilst a lot of the work so far has not been visible to passengers, the installation of this new bridge clearly shows the excellent progress being made towards delivering a bigger, brighter and visually stunning New Street Station – a world class facility the whole West Midlands can be proud of.’
Prior to the bridge lift the old platform 12 bay platform had to be closed and the track covered. Since the ending of parcel traffic at Birmingham New Street there has been no need to stable an 08 shunter and the platform had become redundant.
Working from Christmas Day through to 27 December, engineers used a 700 tonne crane to do the job.
The Gateway project should be completed in 2015. Natural light will flood across the concourse. More lifts and escalators will help speed passengers on their way.
Says Chris Montgomery, Network Rail project director, ‘The work we have completed over the Christmas break represents a major step forward in our exciting plans to rebuild Birmingham New Street for the thousands of passengers who use it every day.
‘Undertaking projects on this scale in the heart of Birmingham city centre represents a huge logistical challenge and we planned the work carefully to minimise disruption to passengers and Christmas shoppers visiting the city centre.’
Better facilities for rail staff are an essential part of the scheme. Over the Christmas break new train crew accommodation was built above Platform 1.
Other major works included the construction of a tower crane outside the front of the station. The crane will be used throughout 2012 to construct the new public square opposite the Bullring.
The old Pallasades link bridge and escalator above Station Street was removed along with other redundant structures. The first half of the new station concourse is expected to open in time for next Christmas. The project itself should be complete in 2015.