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Birmingham’s rail history to live on as agreement reached to integrate Old Curzon Street Station into new HS2 terminus

One of the world’s oldest surviving examples of monumental railway architecture is to be preserved and enhanced, with Birmingham's Old Curzon Street Station set to be transformed as part of our plans for the city's high speed rail terminus .

We have received the go-ahead from Birmingham City Council to begin the refurbishment of the building, marking the next phase of work around the new Curzon Street Station terminus in central Birmingham. The agreement with the Council, who own the building, enables a long-term lease by HS2, with work due to start on the major revamp early next year by our enabling works contractor LMJV (Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy & Sons).

The Grade I listed building has been integrated into our plans for the new Curzon Street Station, which provide an enhanced setting to reflect the history of the old station, as well as the Grade II listed Woodman pub. The public space surrounding the station will feature the historic track alignments of the former goods yard that used to lie to its east, while the gardens and new eastern concourse façade have also been designed to complement the architecture of the building. LMJV are now ready to start a 12-month programme of work in early 2021, overseen by a conservation specialist.

Designed by the notable architect Philip Hardwick and opened in 1838, the building is now one of the world's oldest surviving pieces of monumental railway architecture. It was intended to be the boardroom and general offices of the London and Birmingham Railway, but was extended to incorporate a hotel by 1841, then turned into a goods station for freight traffic between 1854 and 1860, before closing on 31 Dec 1965.

Having suffered extensive damage during the Birmingham Blitz, and survived two applications for its demolition in the 1970s, it is now listed on the ‘Heritage at Risk Register’ maintained by Historic England. The refurbishment will see this status change for the first time in over a decade, with future plans to use it as a HS2 visitors centre, with flexible facilities for office space, exhibitions and catering.

The refurbishment will be undertaken by infrastructure specialists KN Circet, who have offices in Solihull. Work will include a new steel structural frame to strengthen the building, a new lift giving access to all four levels, new glass balustrade for the historic staircase, internal fit-out, roof repairs and structural repairs to external masonry. The company, trading as KN Network Services Ltd, has carried out heritage restoration projects across the UK railway network, predominantly in London and the South East. It has won and been nominated for railway heritage awards for façade works at Lambeth North, South Kensington and Great Portland Street London Underground stations, and has also carried out façade works at Victoria Station and Waterloo Station for Network Rail.

Planning applications for the new Curzon Street Station were approved by Birmingham City Council’s planning committee in April 2020, with the Council’s report concluding the station design “is truly world class”. Eventually, there will be nine trains per hour running in each direction from the station. The Curzon Street Masterplan outlines proposals for 141 hectares of regeneration, along with £724m million investment in the surrounding area. It envisages the creation of 36,000 new jobs, 4,000 new homes and 600,000 square metres of commercial development.

If you have a question about HS2 or our works, please contact our HS2 Helpdesk team on 08081 434 434 or email hs2enquiries@hs2.org.uk .

Posted on 6th January 2021

by HS2 in Birmingham