For over 50 years, Birmingham New Street station has been one of the largest rail interchanges in the UK and the largest station outside London. However, years of decline have plagued the station since its construction in the 1960s, with it becoming out-dated and overcrowded as it handles more than double the amount of passengers intended. As a result, a partnership of Network Rail, Birmingham City Council, Advantage West Midlands, Centro and the Department for Transport was created to deliver a massive transformation project that would turn the station into a 21st century hub for the entire region, with capacity to handle up to 250,000 passengers each day by 2015. Network Rail appointed Mace as delivery partner in 2008 and following a successful initial phase, secured a further appointment as principal contractor.
When fully complete this highly complex station redevelopment will comprise a 16,000 square metre external façade made up of 400 tons of stainless steel and a light-filled atrium covering a concourse three-and-a-half times the size of its predecessor. A major anchor tenant for the station, John Lewis, was secured two years into the programme a new 23,000 square metre store is being built and has been incorporated into programme with no delay to the overall timetable. The station will remain operational throughout the redevelopment, and Mace, working closely with Network Rail, is responsible for minimising disruption to rail passengers, shoppers and enabling operators to maintain uninterrupted train services. In addition to logistics management, the Mace team is coordinating more than 50 work packages involved in the development, which is subject to intense public scrutiny. Mace has also delivered the programme using sustainable materials and modern construction techniques, demonstrating the high quality of design.
As well as improving the region's transport infrastructure, the Birmingham New Street station project is also attempting to ease the pressure of growing youth employment in the city by creating an apprenticeship scheme. Honouring the scheme's aim to bring 100 unemployed youths by 2015, the Birmingham Gateway Construction Academy has taken on 85 apprentices so far and the project is linked to education centres across the city.
The delivery of the station's new ticket, retail and concourse completes the first phase of the project in April 2013, with the final phase expected to complete in mid-2015.