The #350 million revamp of Birmingham New Street Station took a major step forward today with the appointment of a new team to oversee the project.
WSP Group, a major UK infrastructure consultancy which helped link Denmark and Sweden with a huge bridge and undersea tunnel, has been awarded a #3.9 million design and development contract by Network Rail.
This is the first image produced by the new team and shows the front of the redeveloped station from the Bullring
The consultancy has also brought in architects John McAslan and Partners and Chapman Taylor on the project, practices which between them are responsible for Heathrow's Terminal Five, Stansted Airport, Jubilee Line extension stations and stations on the planned London Crossrail.
Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby, who is chairman of the New Street station steering group, said: "I am looking forward to working with them to help design a truly world-class station at Birmingham New Street, the transformation of which is the number one priority for the city council."
Robbie Burns, Midlands director for Network Rail, said: "New Street is the crossroads for the nation's rail infrastructure.
"The appointment of WSP means that we can now take a big step towards transforming the station into an architectural icon for Birmingham."
WSP's 125-strong Birmingham office will lead the study and its UK director Tom Smith said they were looking forward to delivering "an international gateway that will act as a catalyst for connectivity and regeneration in Birmingham and the Midlands".
The final design and commercial work is likely to be completed by the end of this year.
The plan will see station pedestrian capacity substantially increased to meet long term passenger demand. The fully revamped station should be open by 2011.
Advantage West Midlands has pledged #100 million towards the project and a similar sum has been requested from the Government under its Local Transport Plan. The rest is expected to be raised from a variety of public-private sector sources.
AWM's chief executive John Edwards said redeveloping the station was "essential for the image of the city and the wider West Midlands".
The scheme was first designed by architect Will Alsop before his practice folded last year. He has since criticised Network Rail for not allowing his new firm to complete the work it started.
It is not known how much of Alsop's work will be retained by the new team but the city centre station's external appearance will be transformed with an imposing glass roof to let natural light flood on to a new concourse.
The internal layout will also be radically changed, providing much-improved station entrances and airport-style waiting lounges.
The scheme's backers believe improved pedestrian access to areas beyond the station should also help promote further commercial development.
Rob Donald, director general of public transport body Centro, said: "We must not under-estimate the importance of this project.
"It will provide a vast improvement to the daily journey of the growing number of rail commuters and a landmark gateway to the city at the heart of the national rail network."