New Street station developers have harked back to its 19th century heritage with the opening of new staff facilities at platform 1.

The new building, named the Lamp Block, rises above Hill Street and Navigation Street and was built by Network Rail as a base for more than 450 CrossCountry train crew.

Finished in less than a year, it sits on the site of a 19th century depot which supplied gas lamps to workers who maintained the railway tunnels either side of the station.

Chris Montgomery, project director for Network Rail said: “The opening of the Lamp Block not only provides a fantastic facility for CrossCountry staff, it also marks an important step towards the redevelopment of New Street to deliver a better station for passengers.

“We’ve worked carefully to avoid disruption to train services during construction and offset the building’s carbon footprint by incorporating green technology as part of the building design.”

Andy Cooper, CrossCountry’s managing director, added: “Our new train crew centre replaces accommodation more than 50 years old and reflects the standards expected in a modern business.

“The innovative solution provided by the Lamp Block has released even more space on the main station to provide a better environment for our customers too.”

The redevelopment of Birmingham New Street station and the Pallasades centre is backed by Birmingham City Council, Network Rail, Department for Transport, Centro and Advantage West Midlands.

The project will deliver a new concourse three and a half times bigger than at present and will be enclosed by a giant atrium.

There will be more than 30 new escalators, 15 new public lifts, new pedestrian links to the city centre and a new station façade.

A John Lewis department store will be the anchor shop at the revamped Pallasades.

The first half of the new station concourse opens in April 2013 and the project is due to finish in 2015.