Rollercoaster ride to New Street Station opening
There's under a month to go until New Street Station opens on 20 September and Grand Central shopping centre and John Lewis open on the 24 September and passengers are being invited to familiarise themselves with the new layout in an exhibition located opposite WH Smith. The exhibition features a model of the new station and information on it's facilities together with a 3D experience of the new layout that can be viewed on smartphones.
“The new station will be very different with more entries and exits, new ways of getting to the platforms and of course the fantastic addition of Grand Central. The 3D experience is a fun way of seeing what the new station will look like and will help build expectation and excitement before the station opens.”http://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/news/exhibition-and-fly-through-to-educate-passengers-about-new-street-station-improvements
A rollercoaster-style fly through gives a whistlestop view of the finished station while those who want a more genteel view of the new layout can watch a flythrough.
Reproduced courtesy of Network Rail, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RMvqL_lnUY
Reproduced courtesy of Network Rail, https://youtu.be/mj-3KoNWYfw
With the clock ticking there has been a flurry of announcements and news with Grand Central confirming five more retailers, http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/shopping/grand-central-announces-new-stores-9917462, and the Birmingham Mail reporting on the installation of ticket barriers, http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/incoming/ticket-barriers-installed-new-street-9892709
A photo showing newly installed barriers.
A list of retailers opening at Grand Central is listed on their website, http://www.grandcentralbirmingham.com/Information/Shops-and-Restaurants. The following excerpt, reproduced from the Birmingham Mail of 9 July, reveals a shoppers paradise and a great selection of restaurants to eat at.
- Cath Kidston – The nostalgic brand that features prints and patterns on clothes, accessories and home furnishings.
- Fat Face – Active/casual wear for the beach, for backpacking or summer/winter breaks.
- Foyles – Award-winning independent bookstore. Founded in 1903, the flagship store at Charing Cross is world famous.
- Jacques Vert – Stylish occasionwear and mother of the bride (or groom) outfits.
- Kiehl’s – Innovative 164-year-old American cosmetics brand making premium skin, body and hair care products for women and men.
- Paperchase – Contemporary cards, stationary, gifts and paper products.
- Pylones – Kooky Parisian company selling quirky accessories and gifts.
- Steel & Jelly – British-designed menswear, from suits to sweatshirts.
- T.M Lewin – Get suited and booted at the shirt, tie and suit specialist.
- TH Baker – Locally-founded jeweller that now has stores across the UK
- The White Company – Fashion and lifestyle products with a pale colour palette.
- Caffe Concerto – An elegant Italian restaurant with a musical twist. The London branch has a grand piano and regular live gigs.
- Cocomacs – Mad for macaroons? This cafe and bar features the UK’s first luxury coconut macaroon micro bakery.
- Crepe Affaire – Serving thin French pancakes with sweet or savoury fillings.
- Frizzenti – Italian sparkling wine on tap. The brand is launching its first fizz bar in Grand Central.
- Fuel Juice – Leading juice bar selling fruit drinks, smoothies and frozen yoghurt.
- Giraffe – Family friendly restaurant offering fresh cooked food,
- Paul (Boulangerie) – Bakery/cafe chain that was established in France in 1889.
- Pho – Vietnamese street food restaurant.
- Square Pie – Angular gourmet pies that were first sold in Spitalfields Market.
- Tapas Revolution – A taste of Spain in bar snack form. Perfect for sharing.
- Tortilla – Mexican food (via California), including burritos and tacos.
- Yaki Nori – Sushi and noodle bars for a quick fix of Japanese food.
Outside the eyes have it as the Birmingham Post titled it, http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/eyes-new-street-station-development-9920581, with the new advertising screens being installed, http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/new-street-station-advertising-screens-9920400. The new screens, designed by Concept Signs and D3 Europe, are leased by Signature Outdoor and will introduce technology to target adverts by scanning passing passengers. The new screens which have been specially designed and which span upto 97 feet by 21 feet will be the first UK screens to test targeted advertising, http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/media/article4525722.ece?shareToken=6531e4f263f645fb9f2d36c981156c3d
The photos below show the current testing images being displayed on the screens and the amazing clarity they will give to whichever adverts are displayed.
Elsewhere outside the stainless steel cladding is continuing to envelop the station exterior to be almost wholly completed in time for the opening. A City Council update from the 27 July notes that the cladding will be in place with the exception of a small area in the north-west corner which will be completed shortly after opening.
The photos below show the stainless steel which is now extending over to cover the new car park since my previous update of 24 April, http://birminghamcentral.blogspot.com/2015/04/not-stationary-new-street-station.html.
For passengers there have been tantalising glimpses of the new atrium roof and the amount of light which will flood the station concourse. Already the station is opening up and becoming airy, the antithesis of the old 1960s station.
The photos below show teasing views of the new atrium and even blue sky overhead visible through the transparent EFTE panels.
While the clock counts down to opening the sense of expectation and excitement as the station opening draws nearer is palpable. The 2003 opening of the new Bullring shopping centre transformed the city overnight, drawing in visitors and giving a boost to the pride Brummies have for their city. The opening of the new station and accompanying Grand Central shopping centre will not only transform the city's reputation overnight again but transform it's geography. The opening of new routes through the station and it's porous structure will allow people to use the station as a meeting place and centre point for the city as much as for using the trains that will bring 180,000 people daily through it's platforms. The use of stainless steel to reflect the motion of the city around the station itself perfectly sums up the buzz of Birmingham.
I cannot wait, although I might have to as 300,000 people are expected to visit the first weekend after both the station and Grand Central have opened.