The £600 million transformation of Birmingham’s New Street Station begins next month when workmen arrive on site.
The first phase of the regeneration from subterranean 60s eyesore to passenger-friendly, well lit and more accessible 21st century rail station will be the construction of a new passenger concourse.
To pave the way for this, workmen will be closing the lower level of the NCP Pallasades car park on September 1.
The car park’s upper level, the rail station and the Pallasades shopping centre will remain open. Called the New Street Gateway, the plans have been developed over many years and following a 7,000-name petition, the Government approved the project last summer.
Last week the Secretaries of State for the Environment and Communities and Local Government approved compulsory purchase orders for various properties on the site enabling Network Rail to begin work.
The new concourse is expected to open to the public in 2012. Then in the second phase of the project, the old concourse will be redeveloped to deliver a world-class station upon completion in 2015.
It is thought the large scale construction work, a more welcoming rail station for Birmingham and business spin-offs will create 11,000 jobs for the city.
Mick Laverty, chief executive of Advantage West Midlands, said: “New Street Gateway is vital to the regional economy. We anticipate the project will generate over £2 billion in transport and wider economic benefits for the region and lead to the creation of over 10,000 jobs, which is why Advantage West Midlands is providing £100 million to support the redevelopment.”
The project is jointly funded by Network Rail, transport authority Centro, Advantage West Midlands and Birmingham City Council.
Jo Kaye, Network Rail’s route director, said: “It’s an exciting time for the millions of users of New Street station as the £600 million transformation of the station begins to move from a vision to a reality. With preparatory work just a few weeks off, passengers are one step closer to a massively improved station which will be bigger, brighter and so much better.”
Critics of the scheme say that while offering more passenger capacity, a well-lit concourse, atrium and extra lifts and escalators, the station will not be able to accommodate any more trains or be fit for high-speed links to London and continental Europe.