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HS2 reveals design vision for new stations

HS2 reveals design vision for new stations

🕔09.Oct 2018

HS2 is today releasing images of of its two brand new stations in Birmingham and Solihull, reports Kevin Johnson

They can be seen at Birmingham Library at the first of a series of public engagement events this month, giving the public the opportunity to see the new designs and provide feedback.

Release of station designs comes after weeks of heightened concerns about the future of HS2, with Mayor Andy Street encouraging the business community to re-state the essential nature of the line and calling on the Government to sustain its commitment to the project. It follows comments from Boris Johnson in his Daily Telegraph column and second hand reports of concern expressed by some Cabinet ministers and senior backbenchers.

There has been speculation that the line could arrive two or even three years late, but today’s statement from HS2 continues to refer to station openings in 2026.

Curzon Street station in central Birmingham will be the first brand new intercity station built in Britain since 19th century, creating a new landmark for the city and boost opportunities for regeneration in the city. Opening with seven high speed platforms in 2026, the new station will not only be for high speed rail passengers, but – says HS2 – a brand new public space in Birmingham city centre.

It will be fully integrated into an extended tram network, as well as offering pedestrian, cycle, taxi, bus and conventional rail connections to the rest of the city and the wider West Midlands.

Interchange station will be a new major gateway station for the region, part of a new public transport interchange serving Solihull, the West Midlands, Birmingham Airport and the NEC. The station will help deliver longer term development and growth proposals for the area around the station, including new homes, business space and jobs.

HS2 is also considering a number of extra elements to the scheme put forward by the Urban Growth Company (UGC) which aim to maximise the opportunities the new HS2 Interchange Station presents as a key catalyst for growth.

WSP UK Ltd, working with Grimshaw Architects LLP, is designing Curzon Street and Arup is designing Interchange station.

Chamberlain Files understands that it had been hoped that Prime Minister Theresa May would have unveiled the designs on her visit to the city last week for the Conservative Party Conference. In the end, Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport and Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, marked the start of works on the site of the future Curzon Street station just before Conference began last Sunday.

HS2 says works are well underway on 60 sites across the route from London to Birmingham, with over 7,000 jobs supported by the programme across the country on its way to 30,000 jobs at peak construction.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said:

These brand new stations will be catalysts for regeneration, creating jobs and opportunities for local people and economic benefits for Birmingham and the Midlands. Curzon Street station will put Birmingham at the heart of Britain’s new high speed network and enhance the rail connectivity for the city, whilst Interchange provides a once in a life time opportunity to help drive the growth of the region.

HS2 CEO Mark Thurston said:

Both of these new stations will be transformational for the Midlands and will create opportunities for regeneration, growth and economic benefits for the city and region. Preparatory work for the stations is well under way, with a variety of enabling works including the construction of access roads and archaeological investigations.

As part of our plans to deliver a ‘green corridor’ across the whole route, we’re also creating new ecological habitats, community and amenity spaces to help integrate the new line and our stations into the surrounding landscape and environment. All of this activity is already creating job opportunities not just in the region, but across the whole country.

Both station designs are subject to the approval of Birmingham and Solihull councils respectively.

Solihull Council wants some additional elements to support its ambition to create a new, sustainable, urban quarter with the HS2 Interchange Station at its heart.

The UGC’s ambitions for the wider HS2 Interchange Station site and surrounding area in Solihull, known as the UK Central Hub (unofficial HS2 Interchange Station design for illustrative purposes only).

These include modifying the area adjacent to the HS2 Interchange Station so that it includes future public transport connectivity for Sprint buses and Metro trams; ensuring the majority of car parking, including multi-storey car parks, is to the east of the HS2 Interchange Station and high-speed line, so that the land to the west can be used for development rather than surface car-parking and making sure the automated people mover (APM) fully integrates with the soon-to-be redeveloped Birmingham International Station.

Philip Farrell, Interim Managing Director at the Urban Growth Company (UGC) in Solihull, said:

We’ve been working closely with HS2 Ltd on this for more than a year so we’re pleased that these initial designs support our future plan to use HS2’s arrival to create a new, sustainable, urban quarter at the site known as Arden Cross.

There are extra elements being simultaneously designed – funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority and led by the UGC – which will provide additional public transport connectivity and make better use of land for development. We’re progressing those plans by bringing together the right partners and putting together compelling business cases to secure the funding needed.

The additional elements around the HS2 Interchange Station site are just one piece of the larger picture at The Hub with other projects, such as the redevelopment of Birmingham International Station by 2025, being just as important.

Our job is to make the most of this opportunity and this is the first step towards creating Europe’s best-connected destination for business, leisure and living.

HS2 Minister Nusrat Ghani said:

Birmingham will be at the heart of HS2, and the transformation that is already taking place shows exactly how our new high-speed railway will drive forward regeneration and economic growth across the country.

Unveiling the station designs for Curzon Street and the Solihull Interchange is a milestone moment. These stations will be catalysts for local jobs and new homes, as well as giving passengers access to thousands more seats, more services and better journeys.

We also want HS2 to set a new benchmark for truly inclusive travel, creating a railway that works for everyone. The task for our designers and engineers is now to take these ideas from the drawing board to reality, building iconic stations that are accessible, safe and open to all, no matter their needs.

Carol Stitchman, WSP Design Manager on Curzon Street said:

As well as being a catalyst for regeneration, the new HS2 Curzon Street station will become a landmark destination, welcoming people to the heart of Birmingham. Our design recognises the station’s function as a place of arrival and connection. It is the only HS2 station that welcomes you with a view of the city, where you can see the city from the train, and the train from the city.

WSP has welcomed 16 new apprentices to the Curzon Street station project, as part of our 140-strong project team. We are committed to boosting the skills of Britain’s next generation while delivering this transformative project.

Neven Sidor, Lead Architect, Grimshaws, for Curzon Street station, said:

HS2’s new Curzon Street station is inspired by the best station design of the past, inspired by Britain’s pioneering railway and industrial heritage reimagined for the 21st century. The elegant sleek low arch which will make the station instantly recognisable in the surrounding area and its warm coffered soffit will join the growing list of modern Birmingham icons. The West concourse will have the ambiance of a modern airport terminal with both platform and waiting areas included in the grand arched space. The East concourse has been designed to include the historic Curzon Station building as part of a revitalised New Canal Street scene.

Kim Quazi, Lead Architect, Arup, for Interchange station said:

Interchange station sits within a unique setting, on the edge of the urban landscape in a currently rural location. The station building has been designed to reflect its surroundings and in context with the natural landscape and topography.

The station roof has been designed to fit in with the surrounding landscape, and to optimise natural daylight using an integrated, efficient structural form and rainwater management system. We have also focused on a number of objectives including creating a positive experience for future users and rail passengers by including open space, parkland and views to green spaces, and constructing a green building with low energy consumption and low maintenance.

The series of engagement events for both stations will run through October. These will give people the opportunity to understand HS2’s design vision for the stations, share thoughts on the accessibility and use of the stations and get more information on the next stages in the design process and planning submissions.

More information on the events and locations can be found on HS2’s Commonplace websites: HS2 in Solihull and HS2 in Birmingham.

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