Curzon Street railway station

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Birmingham Curzon Street
Curzon Street railway station-3July2009.jpg
Place Birmingham, England
Area City of Birmingham
Grid reference SP079870
Original company London and Birmingham Railway
Pre-grouping London and North Western Railway
Post-grouping London, Midland and Scottish Railway
Platforms 6 (planned for 2026)
24 June 1838 (1838-06-24) Station opens as Birmingham
November 1852 renamed Birmingham Curzon Street
1 July 1854 closed partly
22 May 1893 Final closure[1]
2026 Planned reopening as HS2 terminus
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain
UK Railways portal

Birmingham Curzon Street railway station (formerly Birmingham station) was a railway station in Birmingham, England, opening in 1838 and closing in 1966. The station was used by scheduled passenger trains between 1838 and 1854 when it was the terminus for both the London and Birmingham Railway and the Grand Junction Railway, with lines to London, Manchester & Liverpool respectively. From 1893 excursions and goods were operated until closure in 1966. More recently, the surviving Grade I listed entrance building was used for occasional art events.

In 2010, a new Curzon Street station, partly on the site of the historical station, was proposed as the Birmingham terminus for High Speed 2.


The station, originally known as 'Birmingham' station was opened on 24 June 1838, with the first train from London to Birmingham arriving on 17 September. It was the terminus for both the London and Birmingham Railway and the Grand Junction Railway and the companies had adjacent, parallel platforms but there were no through trains.

1838 drawing of the rear of the station's platforms while in operation.

The Grand Junction Railway arrived at Curzon Street in 1839: Although the line had opened in 1837, one year before the London and Birmingham Railway, it originally ran to a temporary terminus at Vauxhall. A viaduct had to be constructed to allow the line to reach Curzon Street.[2] The smaller Lawley Street station, terminus of the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway (a forerunner of the Midland Railway) was later opened a short distance to the east.

Behind the main entrance building, the L&B station had a wrought iron framed trainshed which had two spans, and covered an area 217 feet (66 metres) long and 113 feet (34 metres) wide. It had two platforms, one for departures and one for arrivals.[3] The Grand Junction Railway had parallel departure and arrivals platforms and a separate entrance building and booking office (now demolished) further along Curzon Street, designed by Joseph Franklin.[4][5]

A 1910 Railway Clearing House map showing railways in the vicinity of Curzon Street (upper centre)

Its use as a major passenger station was short lived. It was inconveniently located on the eastern edge of Birmingham city centre, and the station's facilities soon became overwhelmed by the growing traffic. Following the merging of the L&B and Grand Junction railways into the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) in 1846, work started on the new and more conveniently located 'Grand Central' station, which would become known as Birmingham New Street half a mile to the west,[6] shared with the Midland Railway, New Street was completed in 1854. Most passenger services were diverted to the new station the same year.

The name of the station had been changed from 'Birmingham' to 'Birmingham Curzon Street' in November 1852.[7] The station continued to be used by some local services to Sutton Coldfield and by excursion trains until 1893.[7] It then continued in use as a goods station until 1966.[8] The platforms, along with the original trainsheds were demolished the same year.[3] The site was then used as a Parcelforce depot until May 2006.[9]

The surviving entrance building

The surviving entrance building

The surviving Grade I listed entrance building was designed by Philip Hardwick. Built in 1838, it is the world's oldest surviving piece of monumental railway architecture. Costing £28,000 to build,[10] the architecture is Roman inspired, following Hardwick's trip to Italy in 1818–19. It has tall pillars running up the front of the building, made out of a series of huge blocks of stone. The design mirrored the Euston Arch at the London end of the L&BR. In the original design the building was to be flanked by two arches leading into the station: excavations have revealed that these were never built. The interior housed the booking hall, with a large iron balustraded stone staircase, a refreshment room and offices. It is three storeys tall but relatively small. In 1840 a now demolished hotel extension was added to the northern side of the building. The hotel closed when Queen's Hotel was opened next to New Street station, and the building was latterly used as railway offices.[11]

On 27 January 1847, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers was established with George Stephenson as its first president in the nearby Queen's Hotel; a plaque commemorating the event is inside the station building, as the hotel has been demolished.

The Ansells Brewery had a purpose built public house built beside the station in 1897. This was called The Woodman and it is still open in 2015.[12]

The building was used by a University of Birmingham student theatre group, the 'Three Bugs Fringe Theatre'.[citation needed] The building was also proposed as a home for the Royal College of Organists, but the proposal foundered in 2005 for lack of funds.[13] A Parcelforce depot to the rear of the station was demolished in May 2006.

A commemorative plaque was installed next to the station entrance in 1988 which reads: "THIS PLAQUE COMMEMORATES THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARRIVAL OF THE FIRST LONDON TO BIRMINGHAM TRAIN AT THIS STATION ON MONDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER 1838".

The building is unused except for the occasional art exhibition. Birmingham City Council had hoped to refurbish the building and find an alternative tenant. It was expected to be the centrepiece of the City Park and Masshouse development scheme, which is located around the site, most of the surrounding buildings having been demolished.[citation needed]

These plans have now been superseded by the High Speed 2 proposal. The new station could incorporate the surviving entrance building.[14][n 1]

Planned High Speed 2 terminus

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High Speed 2 route diagram
National Rail Manchester MetrolinkManchester Piccadilly
Leeds National Rail
West Coast Main Line
National Rail Manchester Metrolink Airport interchangeManchester Interchange
to East Coast Main Line
Meadowhall InterchangeNational Rail Supertram (Sheffield)
Midland Main Line
East Midlands HubNational Rail Nottingham Express Transit
Phase 1–Phase 2 boundary
for Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester
West Coast Main Line
Phase 1–Phase 2 boundary
National Rail Birmingham Moor Street
Birmingham Curzon Street[b 1]
Birmingham New Street National Rail Midland Metro
National Rail Airport interchange Birmingham International
Birmingham Interchange
West Coast Main Line
Maintenance Loop
Infrastructure Maintenance Depot
Maintenance Loop
Stoke Mandeville
Phase 1–Phase 2 boundary
National Rail Crossrail London Underground Airport interchangeHeathrow Airport
London Overground
Old Oak Common National Rail Crossrail London Overground
GWML and Crossrail
HS1 link
West Coast Main Line
EustonNational Rail London Underground London Overground
  1. Alternatively named Birmingham Fazeley Street
Proposed station layout

A new station partly on the site of Curzon Street[14] is proposed as the Birmingham terminus for the High Speed 2 railway line. It is referred to as Birmingham Fazeley Street in the report produced by High Speed 2 Ltd[n 2] but as Birmingham Curzon Street in the government's command paper, setting out official policy on high-speed rail.[n 3]

The station will have six 415-metre (1,362 ft) terminal platforms.[14] Capacity will be needed for services to London and Manchester and Leeds to the north.[n 4]

The new station will be close to Birmingham Moor Street and the two stations could be directly linked.[n 2] A link to Birmingham New Street via a people mover with a journey time of two minutes is possible.[n 5]

A design sketch for the station has been submitted by Sir Terry Farrell, architect of Beijing South Railway Station.[n 6]

It is thought that the new station could make a significant contribution to the regeneration of the area, although pre-existing plans will have to be revised,.[n 1] Prior to announcement of the HS2 station, Birmingham City University had planned to build a new campus in Eastside.[15][n 1] The proposed Eastside development would include a new museum quarter, with the original stone Curzon Street station building becoming a new museum of photography, fronting onto a new Curzon Square, which would also be home to Ikon 2, a museum of contemporary art.[16] As part of the HS2 project a Midland Metro line 2 extension to Adderley Street and possibly Coventry has been confirmed to improve links to Birmingham City Centre and Wolverhampton.

Preceding station Future services Following station
Terminus   TBA
High Speed 2
  Birmingham Interchange



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  1. Butt, R.V.J., (1995) The Directory of Railway Stations, Yeovil: Patrick Stephens
  2. Osborne, E.C.; W. Osborne (1838). Osborne's guide to the Grand Junction, or Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester Railway. pp. 101–2.
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  12. The Woodman, Images of England, retrieved 24 January 2015
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  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 High Speed 2 Feasibility study, Water Orton Corridor: Fazely Street Station, Plan Profile Sheet 7 of 7
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Further reading

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External links

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