University Railway station takes major step forward with canal bridge installation

The installation of a new canal bridge has marked a major milestone in the £56 million redevelopment of University railway station, in Birmingham.

University Station Birmingham installation of a new canal bridge

Spanning the Worcester and Birmingham canal, the bridge links the new station to the University of Birmingham campus, and will be crossed by thousands of passengers a day, when it opens to the public next summer.

The existing station building, which serves both the University of Birmingham campus and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, is one of the busiest stations in the region, having seen a 700 per cent increase in passenger numbers since opening in 1978. The new station building, currently being built by VolkerFitzpatrick, will offer passengers greater capacity and comfort.

The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, Councillor Karen McCarthy, chair of the planning committee for Birmingham City Council, and representatives of partner organisations including the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and University of Birmingham were among the first to get a close-up look at the new bridge, as they toured the site on Thursday 7 October.

VolkerFitzpatrick is currently constructing the new station buildings; the main building is on Vincent Drive and a second, smaller building sits between the railway line and canal. Each are being assembled from a 480 tonne flat pack structure, with parts produced off-site and assembled on location to speed up construction.

The station’s impressive concrete frame was completed in September, with the brick-effect cladding now being fitted. The station was constructed from 1,500 square metres of concrete columns, beams and wall sections, all brought together to form the outer shell. This is supported by foundations, made up of 403 concrete columns under the ground.

Following his visit, the Mayor said: “Last time I was on site it was an empty plot of land, so I am delighted to see how much progress has been made in just a few months. It really is an impressive achievement that progress has been made so quickly on the new station, while the busy Cross City line and existing station are continuing to stay open, with disruption to the travelling public kept to a minimum.

“We all know the current station is stretched well beyond its capacity and isn’t fit for purpose anymore, so this work will make a real difference to the thousands of commuters that use the station every single day.”

Councillor McCarthy chair of Birmingham City Council’s Planning Committee and cabinet adviser for localism said: “Improved public transport and better access to rail links is vital for neighbourhoods like Selly Oak and Edgbaston, and those travelling into the university and hospitals. It will also help reduce congestion and improve air quality as we work towards become a net zero carbon city.”

Wesley McKee, VolkerFitzpatrick project director, said: “Our team has taken significant strides in the development of the new station, since work began in the new year. Our aim is to provide an attractive modern gateway for those coming to University of Birmingham,, aligning with the passenger demands of the future to provide them with a smoother commute and better access to the rail network."