HS2 to restore one of the world's oldest pieces of railway architecture

HS2 announced yesterday (Thursday 2 September) the start of a major restoration project to refurbish the historic, Grade 1 listed Old Curzon Street Station in Birmingham.

The project will involve a local team of specialists who practice traditional methods of carpentry and stonemasonry, led by Midlands contractor KN Circet, across a period of 12 months.

The building has been incorporated in HS2’s plans for the brand-new Curzon Street Station, with the aim of reflecting its history, as well as refurbishing the neighbouring Grade II listed Woodman pub.

The historic track alignments of the former goods yard will be featured in the public space which surrounds the station, alongside gardens and a new eastern concourse façade, both designed to complement the architecture of the building.

Network Rail

Other efforts include a new steel structural frame to strengthen the building, a lift giving access to all four levels, a glass balustrade for the notable staircase, an internal fit-out, roof repairs, structural repairs to the internal façade, on top of a deep clean of the exterior building stonework.

Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said “as a key part of Birmingham’s railway heritage, the renovation of Old Curzon Street Station will secure its place as part of the new Curzon Street Station for generations to come."


He added, “the restoration will create high-skilled jobs, further demonstrating the economic benefit that HS2 is bringing to our city. We are entering a Golden Decade for Birmingham and the arrival of HS2 is at the heart of this.”

Other companies involved in the project include: Solihull-based Umberslade, doing the strip-out; Redditch-based Orton Group, supplying mechanical and electrical design and installation; and Rugeley based J.F.E. Attridge Scaffolding Services Limited.

The station is one of the world’s oldest surviving pieces of infamous railway structures, first opening in 1838, and was the first railway terminus which served Birmingham city centre, having been built during a period of immense significance and growth for the city.

It was designed by renowned architect Philip Hardwick as the Birmingham terminus for the London and Birmingham Railway Co. (L&BR) line that connected the city to Euston Station in London.

The station withstood widespread damage during the Birmingham Blitz and survived two applications for its demolition in the 1970’s. It is now listed on the ‘Heritage at Risk Register’ maintained by Historic England.


The restoration will subsequently change its status for the first time in over a decade, and there are future plans to use it as a HS2 visitors centre, featuring multi-purpose facilities for office space, exhibition purposes and catering.

Russell Bailey, HS2 Project Manager for Old Curzon Street Station, said “over 300 companies in the West Midlands have already won work on HS2, so this is adding to the growing number of companies benefiting from contracts on the project which is supporting thousands of jobs in the region.”

He continued, “the revamped building is integrated into HS2’s plans for the city’s landmark Curzon Street Station, which will be the first brand new intercity terminus station built in Britain since the 19th century.”

The Project Manager concluded, “work is set to start on building the new station in the next year, with the joint venture contractor Mace Dragodos set to create 1,000 jobs.”


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