Birmingham New Street station

‘Once in a generation’ Birmingham signalling overhaul underway

As Network Rail carries out major signalling equipment improvements at Birmingham New Street station, which have been described as ‘once in a generation’, passengers have been urged to keep up to ate with rolling platform closures.

Being carried out as part of Network Rail’s Putting Passengers First commitment, the signalling improvements will ensure the railway continues to operate safely and reliably for years to come.

Much of the signalling equipment in use around Birmingham New Street is close to 54 years old and reaching the end of its working life.

In order to minimise disruption at one of Britain’s busiest stations, Network Rail carefully planned a rolling programme of platform closures which began in January.

Outside of London, Birmingham New Street is the busiest interchange station. As such, a reliable signalling system is vital to ensure trains can be safely directed around the network.

Across the next 18 months, state-of-the-art signalling equipment is being installed to improve reliability of passenger journeys.

A total of 114 signals will be installed, using more than 6.5 miles of cable.

Due to the ongoing works, Network Rail has urged passengers to check their platforms on journeys, as trains may not arrive at or leave from their usual platform depending on which is closed for the ongoing upgrade works.

Dave Penney, Central Route Director for Network Rail, said: “While the majority of passengers will be following the government advice to stay at home during this latest national lockdown, there will be some who still need to use the railway to get to work and for essential medical appointments.

“I want those passengers still relying on the railway for any of the reasons permitted by government to have as smooth a journey as possible while this major signalling upgrade takes place.

“So, my advice is to always check which platform your train is on as this can change at short notice over the course of the rolling platform closures.

“This once in a generation overhaul of Birmingham New Street’s signalling equipment, at one of Britain’s most important stations, has been carefully planned to minimise disruption.

“Once complete, the West Midlands will have large areas using the newest and best signalling anywhere in Britain which will help provide a safe, reliable and high performing railway for decades to come.”

Malcolm Holmes, Executive Director for West Midlands Rail Executive, added: “Birmingham New Street is at the centre of the West Midlands rail network and it needs the best technology to keep passengers and trains safely moving for many years to come.

“The industry has worked together to run a full timetable throughout this work, minimising disruption.

“The outcome will be a better, more reliable railway for the region.”

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