Birmigham New Street – Major signaling upgrade milestone as work on removing 1960s equipment continues

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Out with the 60s in with the 20s for Birmingham New Street

 

Birmingham New Street station signaling system has undergone a major upgrade. Over the last 15 months more than 230 miles of cabling has been laid to connect 64 new LED colour light signals at Birmingham New Street station.

60 axle counters have been installed as well as a total of 10 new equipment buildings constructed.  The signaling system which is still in the process will soon be controlled from the West Midlands Signaling Centre in Saltley. This will see the end of the Grade II listed New Street Power Signal Box as an active box although due to its grade II listing the building itself will remain.

 

The new signaling system will eventually be controlled from the state-of-the-art West Midlands Signaling Centre in Saltley.

Until the end of this year control will continue from the Grade II listed Birmingham New Street Power Signal Box on Brunel Street.

Denise Wetton, Network Rail’s Central route director, said: “This once in a generation overhaul of the station’s signaling equipment, at one of Britain’s most important stations, has been a huge challenge and we thank passengers for their patience while we’ve had to close platforms over the last 15 months.

“When complete this Christmas the West Midlands will have large areas using one of the most modern signaling systems anywhere in Britain which will help provide a safe, reliable and high performing railway for decades to come.”

Built in the 1960s, its switching systems have continuously kept the region’s trains moving safely for decades.

But now all the signals and equipment across the station have been brought up to 21st century standards, the phased decommissioning of New Street’s power signal box can begin.

Total switch over to the new system will take place this Christmas making it the final piece of a signaling jigsaw which has seen improvements across the wider West Midlands region since 2005.

The New Street work has been the most complex part of that work with rolling platform closures since April 2021.

Lucy Wootton, head of the Grand Railway Collaboration*, said: “A modern, state-of-the-art signaling system is essential for a safe and reliable railway in the West Midlands. This milestone is a big step towards better and safer journeys for millions of passengers for decades to come.”

Malcolm Holmes, executive director for West Midlands Rail Executive, said: “With Birmingham New Street at the centre of the national rail network, it is vital for the West Midlands and Britain that the signalling system which manages trains travelling in and out is the best it can be. The industry has worked together to plan and deliver this major upgrade which will be brought into permanent use later this year.”

What do you think of New Street PSB closing? What do you think will become of the building once all the equipment is removed? Let us know in the comments below.

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