Backers of an £11 million showpiece railway station are confident it will fully open - despite an apparent U-turn by industry bosses which threatens to turn it into a white elephant.

Two new terminating platforms are crucial to the reopened Edwardian Moor Street Station, developed by Chiltern Railways and Birmingham Alliance, which was responsible for the adjacent Bullring.

However, they have remained unconnected to the network for two years - since the renovated station was first unveiled.

Despite the Strategic Rail Authority making the reconnection a Chiltern franchise commitment, the SRA's Jim Steer recently described the station as just "a beautiful film set" and said most passengers wanted to continue through to the city's Snow Hill Station.

The SRA's recent West Midlands Route Utilisation Strategy said: "Chiltern Railways now carries a significant amount of the peak traffic to and from Snow Hill and it is clear that only off-peak services could be considered for reversal at Moor Street.

"Overall, there is a substantial disbenefit for passengers and a potential performance disbenefit, as the Birmingham Snow Hill December 2004 timetable revision simplified the timetable through Snow Hill, effectively providing additional capacity. This option is not recommended."

However, Chiltern's chairman Adrian Shooter told The Birmingham Post the platforms would be reconnected and some - mostly off-peak - trains aimed at shoppers would terminate at Moor Street in two years time, as planned.

"We have said to the SRA that it was not in possession of all the facts when it made its recommendation. I still intend to fulfil what I have been saying in Birmingham for the last five years, that Moor Street will be the finest inner-city railway station in the country.

" We have had very constructive discussions with the SRA and I am very confident we are now in agreement and that we will be doing what we have intended all along."

Meanwhile, the SRA now appears more conciliatory.

Mr Steer, who is the authority's planning managing director, told The Birmingham Post: "There is also no question of whether the terminal platforms should be reconnected, only when.

"The timing question is affected by the Tyseley resignalling programme and remains a franchise commitment for Chiltern, currently anticipated in 2007/08."

"In the meantime, nothing has been lost and there has been no change of policy."

He said passengers would get "full value" from the £4 million contribution from Chiltern to the scheme.

"But we believe it is the convenience of passengers - who already benefit from the restoration, and continue to have the option of using Snow Hill too - that should determine the pattern of train services."

Jonathan Cheetham, chairman of the Birmingham City Centre Partnership, said the Moor Street improvements had enhanced an important area of the city centre.

"I am sure that businesses would want the track in use at the earliest possible opportunity."