Final Countdown - new New Street Station arrives

In under twelve hours the long wait for the redevelopment of New Street Station will be over - well almost - with the keys to the station handed over to the station manager at 7.30am,  The reason I say almost is that platform redevelopment works will still take another year.

Tonight will see 450 workers carry out final touches to the station and finish removing 500 tonnes of hoarding.

As well as the physical transformation, the scale of the redevelopment has been amazing.  While 170,000 passengers have been using the station daily construction on the £750m project has taken place while keeping the station in operation.  Amazingly a train leaves the station every 37 seconds.

Friday 18th saw a VIP celebration ahead of the opening for passengers tomorrow and ahead of Grand Central's opening on Thursday 24 September.  Network Rail are rightly proud of the development with passenger capacity increased to cope with 300,000 passengers and the station becoming a retail destination itself along its partner, Grand Central Shopping Centre.

 Network Rail now hopes that the station will become a retail destination in its own right, helping to revive the local area in the way that St Pancras has in London, with 43 shops in New Street as well as Grand Central and a 250,000 sq ft John Lewis store built alongside.

The scale of the new atrium is vast - five times that of Euston Station - and some of the facts surround it's construction mind boggling.

Birmingham New Street in numbers: 
4                      train operating companies run through the station
5                      times more space at concourse level
5                      times the size of London Euston’s concourse
7                      days a week working on site, 24 hours a day
12                     platforms will be refurbished
13                     Centre Courts at Wimbledon – size of the entire new passenger concourse
15                     new lifts, serving every platform
36                     escalators, serving every platform
37                     a train arrives or departs Birmingham New Street every 37 seconds
50                     lifestyle and premium fashion brands in Grand Central
60                     pupils from local primary school toured station
60                     % rain water harvested from the façade used to flush all the toilets in the station
85                     % of non-hazardous waste material from the whole project to be recycled /re-used as a minimum
1,000                jobs created through John Lewis and Grand Central
1,200                workers on average on site increasing to 3,500 at the end
1854                 original station first opened
1967                 redeveloped station opened
2009                 work began on the new station
2015                 overall project completion
3,300                square metres of new atrium, the size of a football pitch
5,000                tonnes of concrete removed from the old NCP car park to create the first half of the new concourse
7,000                tonnes of concrete removed from Stephenson Tower
10,000              lorry journeys saved off Birmingham’s roads throughout the project by using trains to transport waste material
20,000              tonnes of concrete removed to create the space for the atrium
170,000             passengers use the station daily
300,000             passenger-per-day capacity of the new Birmingham New Street station
200,000             sq ft of retail space in Grand Central
250,000             sq ft of space in John Lewis 
BNS construction facts & figures:
  • 1,000 workers on site, 24 hours a day, seven days a week - increasing to 3,500 in the final months of the project.
  • We’ve had to remove tens of thousands of tonnes of concrete and other material to create the space for the new station. We’re recycling 98% of all material removed:
-           7,500 tonnes from the old car park to create the space for the atrium
-           20,000 tonnes from Stephenson Tower, an old 22-storey tower block
-           20,000 tonnes from the centre of the Pallasades shopping centre to create the space for the new atrium.

  • The façade was installed by Martifer, a specialist stainless steel construction contractor.
  • About 20,000 sq metres or 1,100 tonnes of steel will make up the façade. (800 tonnes of supporting steelwork and 300 tonnes façade).
  • Around 8,000 stainless steel panels supported by more than half a million fixing structures. Every panel is unique, in order to adjust to the peculiar geometry of the building.
Retail construction: 
  • 250,000 sq ft: the size of the new John Lewis department store, the biggest outside London
  • 200,000 sq ft: of premium retail space in the new Grand Central
  • 15 new concept cafes and restaurants in the Grand Central shopping complex.
To build the new John Lewis shop:
  • 6,800 cubic metres of concrete (the equivalent volume of three Olympic swimming pools).
  • 2,900 tonnes of structural steel (the equivalent weight of over six Pendolino trains)
  • 4,800 square metres of glazing.

The following images, reproduced from Network Rail (, show the final days of work to finish the station concourse and the amazing atrium that will transform both the station and the city.

The video below, reproduced from Network Rail (, shows five years in five minutes and reveals the scale of the work that has taken place.

The excitement in Birmingham tonight is palpable and after years of waiting I think most will agree it will have been worth the wait and that there should be a massive thank you to everyone who has worked so hard on what will surely be recorded as a feat of project management, construction and regeneration.

Three cheers for everyone who has worked tirelessly on something very special for Birmingham.


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