Not half - New Street Switchover countdown

As time counts down to the 'half time switchover' of concourses at New Street Station it is all go 24 hours a day to ensure the switch is as painless as possible for all involved; construction workers, retailers, operators and station users.

As anyone who uses or walks past the station daily will see, the scale of the project and vast changes day by day are jaw dropping in themselves.

The hard work to get to this stage through contractors and apprenticeships should not go unrecognised and unnoticed and this short (less than five minutes) video shows the role of the City Council and Construction Training Centre on apprenticeship schemes and their inclusion in the project.

Preparation for the changeover saw a test day on the 6 April where hundreds of volunteers, including myself, trialled the station layout to ensure the signage worked and that the station  is ready for opening on 28 April.

More than 200 volunteers were invited to trial the features and facilities of the new concourse such as the ticket office, wayfinding signage and access to platforms.
A wide range of volunteers were invited to attend, including blind and partially sighted people, people with hearing loss and wheelchair users, to ensure all station passengers were represented and able to give comprehensive feedback. Network Rail engaged with a number of different station users and specialist organisations to help make the transition to the new station as smooth as possible for everyone.

A few pictures from the trial day showing the new concourse are shown below.  These are prior to any changes made since the trial so are indicative of the layout and concourse finishes and I will be excited to see the changes made since our feedback.

The switchover and opening of the new concourse represents the most significant change to New Street Station since the 1960s and Network Rail has celebrated this historical milestone by revealing original plans and drawings of the station on it's virtual archive.  The plans and drawings cover the station from the 19th century, showing the original layout of the station which opened in 1854 through to the 1960s rebuild.  It will be interesting to see the plans for the redesigned station added to this fascinating archive which show the transformation of the station and of it's role as the beating hub of the city.

To mark the closure of the old concourse later this month, the Network Rail archive team has for the first time published the original plans and drawings of the station on its virtual archive. 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. The online exhibition can be found at

When the original station opened in 1851 it was the largest in the country and until St Pancras was built in 1868 it had the largest single span arched roof in the world.  Although not an arch the new atrium at the heart of the new concourse will emulate this grand arched roof bathing the concourse in light and opening the sky to station users.
A few images from the archive are reproduced below, from, which provide a fascinating comparison to the finished 1960s station, it's former 19th century design and the new redevelopment.

My own attempt at comparing old with new shows the current concourse in April 2013 with the 1960s , first picture, and 1970s, bottom picture.

With the opening imminent and the buzz across the city tangible, perhaps from all the workers busy making sure it opens to time, Network Rail have prepared a video to celebrate switchover and what has been achieved.

Video reproduced from Network Rail YouTube Channel, Network Rail YouTube channel

Network Rail have produced a map of the new concourse, shown below:

Reproduced from: Birmingham New Street station map (from Sunday ... - Network Rail

The following pictures i've taken show the works as they have rapidly developed over the month of April 2013 ready for opening.  It's hard without half-daily updates to show the rate of progress but the opening on Sunday 28 April will be testament to a lot of hard work and preparation and will be the first half of an achievement that will show the only question for Birmingham's is how fast in it's motto  Forward.  

25 April

23 April

22 April

20 April

19 April

18 April

17 April


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