University Station at Edgbaston, Birmingham is one of the West Midlands’ busiest railway stations, being situated at the entrance of both the University of Birmingham and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Built in 1978, the station was originally designed for around 400,000 passengers a year. It now receives nearly 3.5 million.
The West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) are leading a project to create a fit-for-the-future station capable of accommodating 7.2 million passengers a year to improve transport to the area.
Speaking to Rail Technology Magazine at the station plan’s launch event, mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, commented he was keen to continue to oversee projects like the new University Station, which made a difference to the transport infrastructure of both Birmingham and the wider region.
He said: “This is about is about giving the [University of] Birmingham and our hospitals a station to be really proud of. It’ll give much better conditions for passengers using it and the right sense of arrival when you get to this great part of the city.”
The proposed station is expected to be completed ahead of Birmingham and the region hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games, but Mr Street was keen to add that the new station was just as crucially about improving the day-to-day lives and commutes of the people of the city as it was to support the city’s upcoming sporting event.
“It’s not just for the Commonwealth Games, but we want to get this done by the time of the games because two big events will be hosted at the University of Birmingham. Athletes and spectators from all around the world will be coming here.
“But, after the games, it will also give citizens, students and visitors to Birmingham something that will work really well and encourage more and more people to use the railway.
“That’s the big story, rail is a huge success for the West Midlands economy at the moment, driving forward our performance, usage up around 8% year on year and we want to keep investing on all the infrastructure that makes that possible.”
The new station building, which will be located on the opposite end of the platform to the existing station, is set to offer a bright and comfortable space and new facilities for passengers. Platforms will be connected by a wide footbridge, which will also provide direct access from the station across the canal to the university campus.
The new station building, located close to the existing station, will offer a bright and comfortable space and new facilities for passengers. Platforms will be connected by a wide footbridge which will also provide direct access from the station across the canal to the University campus.
An artist’s rendering of the newly-unveiled proposals for the redevelopment of University Station in Edgbaston, Birmingham
Alongside the new station, West Midlands Railway’s customer experience director, Richard Brooks, explained that there is also set to be significant investment into the service’s trains, with around £700m being spent, including the arrival of a new fleet.
Mr Brooks said: “It’s really important that we get ready for the future. The station is an integral part of that, but we’re also buying 36 new trains to go on the route, which will be with us in the next two years.
“By the time the Commonwealth Games comes we’ll have new trains, a new station and we’ll be able to give people that use this station the experience they deserve.”
Mr Brooks also expressed how having greater passenger capacity from the additional fleet of trains would also link in with the ongoing green strategy within the Midlands, allowing more people to come to the area by train, reducing car usage and helping minimise the local environmental impact.