Birmingham New Street passengers are being asked to double-check their platforms, throughout 2021, before travelling as work continues to replace signalling equipment.
The vast majority of equipment in use at Birmingham New Street is around 54 years old and is reaching the end of its working life.
Work at the station is the final piece of a signalling jigsaw which has seen upgrade across the wider West Midlands region since 2005.
Once the work is completed in 2022, £600m will have been invested across the region. The work, which comes under Network Rail’s Putting Passengers First commitment, will guarantee the railway continues to be safe and reliable for passengers and plays a key role in the recovery and growth of the West Midland’s economy.
Starting with platform 12, the programme of closures will take place until June 2022 to install new, high-tech signalling which will provide passengers with better, more dependable journeys through the country’s busiest interchange station outside of London.
Services by all train operators which use Birmingham New Street – West Midlands Railway, London Northwestern Railway, Avanti West Coast, Cross Country and Transport for Wales, will be obstructed by the work but a full timetable will continue to operate throughout.
Trains will simply arrive and leave at different platforms depending on which one is closed at the time.
Dave Penney, Central Route Director for Network Rail, said: “We are putting passengers first throughout Birmingham New Street’s signalling upgrade by running a full timetable to keep trains moving as normal. But I’d urge anyone travelling, to make their journeys as smooth as possible, to always check which platform their train is on.
“This is a major investment in one of Britain’s most important stations and it 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.”
Alex Warner, Chairperson of the Grand Rail Collaboration, representing train operators which use Birmingham New Street, said: “A key part of delivering for passengers is for train services to be reliable and with capacity for growth. A modern, state-of-the-art signalling system is essential in delivering this.
“This investment is vital for the long-term future of the railway in the West Midlands. In the short-term, the most important thing this to manage the impact and the fact no trains will be cancelled is great news for passengers.”
Malcolm Holmes, Executive Director for West Midlands Rail Executive, said: “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.”
Images: Network Rail