Major works are set to take place throughout 2021 at Birmingham New Street, starting on the 24th of January.
A rolling programme of platform closures will begin to allow state-of-the-art signalling to be installed at the country’s busiest interchange station outside of London.
Most of the equipment in use at Birmingham New Street is around 54 years old and is reaching the end of its working life.
The closures start at platform 12 during a period of national lockdown and train timetables will not be impacted by the project.
However, it will affect all of Birmingham New Street’s train operators, such as West Midlands Railway, London Northwestern Railway, Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry and Transport for Wales.
This work is a final piece of the signalling jigsaw which has seen upgrades across the wider West Midlands region since 2005.
Once complete in 2022, £600m will have been invested across the region.
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 the 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.”
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.”
Image: Network Rail