Birmingham’s rail history revived – Old Curzon Street Station to be part of HS2 Terminus


Approval Granted

HS2 – the new High-Speed Rail Link for the UK, has received permission from Birmingham City Council to start refurbishment work of the Old Curzon Street station, marking the next phase of work on the new terminus for HS2 in central Birmingham.

The agreement allows a long-term lease of the building by HS2, with work set to start early in 2021.

The Grade I listed building is now integrated with HS2’s plans for the new Curzon Street Station. This will provide an enhanced setting to reflect on the history of the old station as well as the Grade II listed Woodman Pub.

Old Curzon Street station in Birmingham
Credit: Nodrog

Green Light Given for Refurbishment To Begin

HS2 contractors LMJV will start a 12-month programme of work in early 2021. They will be watched over by a conservation specialist.

The building was opened in 1838 after being designed by Philip Hardwick and is now one of the world’s oldest surviving pieces of railway architecture.

However, extensive damage was caused during the Birmingham Blitz and was put up for demolition twice in the 1970s, but survived both applications. It is now on the Heritage at Risk Register that is maintained by Historic England.

Birmingham Curzon Street
Credit: HS2

Nicola Henderson-Reid, HS2’s Curzon Street Station Senior Project Manager, said: “We’re extremely pleased to get the go-ahead to start work on restoring this fabulous old building, and we’re grateful to Birmingham City Council for their help in developing these designs.”

“HS2’s Curzon Street Station will be the first brand new intercity terminus station built in Britain since the 19th century, and will play a vital role in our regional economy while preserving this important piece of Birmingham’s history.”

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward said: “This is an important milestone in the transformation of this amazing old building and the new Curzon Street Station will be one of the real show pieces of the entire HS2 network.”

“High speed rail is a game-changer for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, bringing jobs, homes and opportunities to our city region and for the HS2 Generation – the young people currently growing up across the city – this project will shape their lives and careers.”

Curzon Street Sidings (27 July 1955)
Credit: D J Norton

The refurbishment work will be completed by KN Circet, based in Solihull. The work will see a new steel frame, new lift to all 4 levels, a new glass balustrade, an internal fit-out, roof repairs and repairs to external masonry.

HS2’s Historic Environment Manager, Jon Millward said: “The Old Curzon Street Station has a fascinating history, and as a Grade 1 listed building it’s deemed to be of exceptional interest and is therefore classified as one of the most important buildings in England. It was the first railway terminus serving the centre of Birmingham and built during a period of great significance and growth for the city.”

“Earlier this year, we unearthed what is thought to be the world’s oldest railway roundhouse situated adjacent to the Old Curzon Street station, and built to a design by the 19th century engineer Robert Stephenson. It’s fantastic that we can preserve the heritage of such an important building as part of the legacy of HS2.”

Let us know in the comments below what you think about Curzon Street Station being brought back to life again and incorporated into a new modern railway network.

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