Birmingham Moor Street railway station

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Birmingham Moor Street railway station
Birmingham Moor Street railway station is one of three main railway stations in the city centre of Birmingham, England. The Grade II listed old station building has been partially renovated to its 1930s condition at a cost of £11 million.

Early history
Moor Street was built by the Great Western Railway to relieve traffic on its two-track tunnel under central Birmingham to Birmingham Snow Hill. It was a terminus for trains from Leamington Spa, and in particular those via Stratford-upon-Avon (then a main line). It was opened with temporary buildings in July 1909, and permanent buildings were completed in 1914. The station and goods yard were on Moor Street, on the western side of the entrance to Snow Hill tunnel, but the through tracks to Snow Hill were not provided with platforms. Sunday trains at Moor Street began for the first time when Snow Hill was reopened in the mid-1980s. Before then, Sunday trains ran through the tunnel to Snow Hill station instead (pre 1967/8). With the Snow Hill tunnel closure in 1968, these trains were diverted into New Street. The incomplete viaduct visible from Moor Street turning towards Birmingham Curzon Street is the original intended route of the line. A product of inter-company rivalry, the viaduct was never used, and the GWR was forced to build the route through to Snow Hill in the 1850s.

Moor Street was a closure target during the Beeching Axe, but capacity at New Street was not sufficient, so it survived as a terminus for local trains. Most services running through Moor Street to Birmingham Snow Hill were withdrawn in 1967 and the goods yard was turned into a car park. Main line services from London Paddington were diverted via a junction near Bordesley into New Street, as were some local services. By the 1980s Moor Street served only local passenger trains on the lines to Stratford-upon-Avon and Leamington Spa.

In the mid 1980s funding became available to re-open a station at Birmingham Snow Hill, and the southern access tracks under Birmingham city centre. As part of the 'Snow Hill Phase One' scheme, a new Moor Street station, with through platforms, was built at the southern portal of the restored Snow Hill tunnel. On completion of this project, the original Moor Street terminus was declared surplus to requirements, and closed down. The original station, a Grade II listed building, was not demolished, but by the late 1990s, cracks in the wall were visible from the road side, not least those caused by the impact of a runaway bus. During the 1990s, limited stop Network South East services were introduced from London Marylebone to Snow Hill via Banbury and Leamington Spa, thus making Moor Street a main line station. In the 1960s, London services from Snow Hill ran to Paddington rather than Marylebone.

In 2002 the original Moor Street station was renovated by the Birmingham Alliance and Chiltern at a cost of £11 million, and connected to the through platforms. The 1980s new main entrance was demolished, and a new passenger access created using the old station's ticket hall. The through platforms received Great Western style canopies and a footbridge to match the older parts of the station. However, the old terminal platforms were not cleared for traffic, and remained out of service pending a decision on their use. Refurbished in 1930s style, the station has reproduction lamps, clock, seating, and signage. The renovation won the Railway Heritage Trust award for 2004 and The Birmingham Civic Society's Renaissance Award for 2005. The station became home to the second GWR 2884 Class 2-8-0 No. 2885.

Current services
Moor Street is currently served by local trains the lines through Shirley and Henley-in-Arden to Stratford-upon-Avon and to Leamington via Solihull, and Chiltern Clubman services to London Marylebone. On summer Sundays it is used by steam locomotives running tourist specials between Snow Hill and Stratford upon Avon and trains between Snow Hill and Tyseley for Vintage Trains. The signposted route for passengers travelling between New Street and Moor Street stations involves a five-minute walk through a tunnel under the Bullring shopping centre. Although the railway lines into New Street pass directly underneath Moor Street station, there is no track connection.

The growth of services through Snow Hill and the re-commencing of services via Snow Hill to Kidderminster again strained the capacity of the tunnel to Snow Hill. Widening this tunnel is impractical due to the cost and would require the demolition of prime city centre buildings unless the tunnel base level is reduced. Thus 'the wheel has turned full circle' and Network Rail has restored the tracks into the old station for terminating local trains and for steam specials. This was originally planned for 2005 but in July 2005 was postponed until late 2006 due to delays in necessary engineering and signalling works before the connection could be made. In June 2006, the Department for Transport refused permission for the connection of the restored tracks unless the work was paid for without recourse to public funds. In 2007 the station faced a new lease of life with proposals to reintroduce services along the Camp Hill Line towards Kings Norton including stations at Moseley, Kings Heath and Hazelwell. This would provide three or four trains per hour into the terminal platforms at Moor Street. These proposed services first require the building of a chord linking the Camp Hill Line to the Chiltern Main Line and Moor Street. If this proposal goes ahead then it has been speculated that further local services to Tamworth and along a reopened Sutton Park Line will begin and terminate at Moor Street. Since the December 2010 timetable change, two of the three south facing bay platforms at Moor Street station are now connected to the network and in use, enabling some of the Chiltern services to and from London Marylebone to terminate at Moor Street instead of Snow Hill. Local Chiltern stopping services to Leamington Spa will also begin and terminate at the new terminal platforms. Chiltern Railways are engaged in a large scale redevelopment of their route from London Marylebone to Birmingham with improvements to allow higher speeds. Their aim is to introduce a fast train service between Moor Street and London Marylebone in May 2011 using locomotive-hauled coaches, furthering the competition with Virgin Trains' West Coast Main Line services from Birmingham New Street. The High Speed 2 terminus in Birmingham is planned to be built on an adjacent site and will likely be linked to Moor Street, though have a separate name (either Fazeley Street or Curzon Street). The station and high-speed line is proposed to be completed by the mid-2020s.

Building Activity

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