Curzon Street railway station
|Birmingham Curzon Street|
|Area||City of Birmingham|
|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||Station opens as Birmingham|
|November 1852||renamed Birmingham Curzon Street|
|1 July 1854||closed partly|
|22 May 1893||Final closure|
|2026||Planned reopening as HS2 terminus|
|Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom|
|Closed railway stations in Britain
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|UK Railways portal|
Birmingham Curzon Street railway station (formerly Birmingham station) was a railway station in Birmingham, England, 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 and to Manchester and Liverpool respectively. It was then used for excursions until 1893 and goods traffic until 1966 when it closed. More recently, the surviving Grade I listed entrance building has been 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.
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. 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. 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.
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, 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. The station continued to be used by some local services to Sutton Coldfield and by excursion trains until 1893. It then continued in use as a goods station until 1966. The platforms, along with the original trainsheds were demolished the same year. The site was then used as a Parcelforce depot until May 2006.
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, 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.
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 building was used by a University of Birmingham student theatre group, the 'Three Bugs Fringe Theatre'. The building was also proposed as a home for the Royal College of Organists, but the proposal foundered in 2005 for lack of funds. 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.
Rear of station building, across former freight depot (now car park), with Masshouse block M behind
Planned High Speed 2 terminus
|High Speed 2 route diagram|
A new station partly on the site of Curzon Street 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 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]
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.[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. 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|
High Speed 2
- Department for Transport (2010a). High Speed Rail - Command Paper (pdf). The Stationery Ofﬁce. ISBN 978-0-10-178272-2. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
- High Speed 2 (2010). "High Speed Rail London to the West Midlands and Beyond: A Report to Government by High Speed Two Limited".[dead link]
- Butt, R.V.J., (1995) The Directory of Railway Stations, Yeovil: Patrick Stephens
- Osborne, E.C.; W. Osborne (1838). Osborne's guide to the Grand Junction, or Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester Railway. pp. 101–2.
- "Curzon Street Good Station: lnwrcs2121". warwickshirerailways.com. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "Curzon Street Shed: Plan of the approach and layout of Curzon Street station's train shed and its Engine House as seen in 1846 - Warwickshire Railways". warwickshirerailways.com.
- "Curzon Street Station: A lithograph showing Joseph Franklin's Curzon Street frontage to the Grand Junction Railway's station - Warwickshire Railways". warwickshirerailways.com.
- "Birmingham New Street Station: An engraved illustration of the entrance to New Street station and the frontage of the Queen's Hotel shortly after the station was opened". warwickshirerailways.com.
- "Curzon Street Excursion Station". warwickshirerailways.com. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "Curzon Street Goods Station". warwickshirerailways.com. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Green Jersey Web Design. "Heritage Locations - Curzon Street Station, Birmingham". transportheritage.com.
- "A Brief History of Curzon Street Station". www.libraryofbirmingham.com. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
- "warwickshirerailways.com - lnwrcs2132". warwickshirerailways.com. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- The Woodman, Images of England, retrieved 24 January 2015
- Roz Tappenden (15 November 2005). "Future uncertain for Curzon Street Station as RCO pulls out". Culture24. Retrieved 24 November 2009.
- High Speed 2 Feasibility study, Water Orton Corridor: Fazely Street Station, Plan Profile Sheet 7 of 7
- Walker, Jonathan (16 March 2010). "Birmingham City University wants £30m refund after high speed rail hits campus plan". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
- Ikon Gallery. Curzon Square - A vision for Birminghams New Museum Quarter (PDF). Retrieved 28 October 2012.
- Cragg, Roger (1997 (2nd edn)). Civil Engineering Heritage: Wales and West Central England. London: Thomas Telford. pp. 193–4. ISBN 0-7277-2576-9. Check date values in:
- Foster, Richard (1990). Birmingham New Street – the story of a great station, including Curzon Street, 1: Background and beginnings: the years up to 1860. Didcot: Wild Swan Publications. ISBN 0-906867-78-9.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Curzon Street railway station.|
- Curzon Street on warwickshirerailways.com
- Lookingatbuildings entry
- Photo and description
- Rail Around Birmingham: Curzon Street railway station
- Organists scrap plans for new HQ – BBC Music Magazine
- Historic England. "Details from image database (217433)". Images of England.
- Heritage at Risk: Curzon+Street