Birmingham New Street station, which has been undergoing a major reconstruction for the last five years, will open on Sunday, September 20, Network Rail has announced.
The work to transform a cramped, 1960s concrete station into a light and airy passenger experience with a concourse three times the size has been a massive undertaking.
Network Rail, working with designer Atkins and principal contractor MACE, has taken over two floors of the adjacent car park and ripped the central section out of the Pallasades shopping centre above to create a large central atrium with a transparent roof.
After the start of the work, it was revealed that John Lewis would be bringing a major store to the new development. The design was altered to accommodate this and the whole station and store will now be clad in curved mirror-finish stainless steel facade, which will hide the old concrete ‘block’ entirely.
The John Lewis store, together with the 60 other retailers in the renamed Grand Central shopping centre, will open later the same week on September 24.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP said: “This magnificent new station will transform journeys for millions of people, create thousands of jobs, and secure long-term economic growth in Birmingham and beyond.”
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, added: “The opening of the improved Birmingham New Street will be a huge boost to the city. It’s another iconic building that the people of Birmingham can be proud of and will provide a vastly improved travelling experience for passengers.”
As well as bringing natural light onto the amazing new concourse through the atrium roof, the new station will feature improved platform access, stunning architecture and better access to all parts of the city centre. It will also open up the city centre and reconnect the north and south side of the city for the first time since the arrival of the railway in the 19th century, helping to create thousands of new jobs.
Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The station redevelopment has been a key project for the city, stimulating economic growth and regeneration and, with the added creation of Grand Central, it has provided one of the best-connected retail spaces in the country. This is sure to have a catalytic effect on further regeneration of the city centre and attracting businesses to Birmingham.
“The development has also provided a gateway to opportunities for many Birmingham people, with over 3,000 construction jobs created, including over 115 apprenticeships.”
Grand Central, the city’s new £150 million premium retail and dining destination, which sits above the station, will see the arrival of one of the biggest John Lewis department stores in the UK. The 450,000 sq ft centre, which will employ over 1,000 people, is one of the best and most ambitious regeneration projects seen in the UK for many years, and is anticipated to attract over 50 million visitors per year.
An exciting array of retail and dining brands will be making their debut to the city with the centre boasting over 60 shops, restaurants and cafes which will complement the existing shopping and entertainment already in Birmingham, making the city centre one of the best shopping destinations outside of London.