National Express marks milestone for new coach station
National Express will celebrate a milestone in the construction of Birmingham’s new coach station today, as Lord Mayor Chauhdry Abdul Rashid JP conducts the ceremonial ‘topping out.’
The Lord Mayor will be joined by Senior Executives from National Express as he lays the final brick on top of the £15 million development, set to open in November 2009.
National Express’ coach station is one of the largest gateways into Birmingham with nearly two million people passing through it last year. The new station has been designed to lead the regeneration plans for Digbeth and the Eastside and will be wrapped in copper cladding with a sweeping canopy above the customer entrance.
Richard Bowker, Group CEO for National Express, said:
“The Lord Mayor Chauhdry Abdul Rashid JP is now part of National Express history by marking the ceremonial ‘topping out’ of the new coach station.
This development will be a major gateway to Birmingham, essential to attracting visitors and tourists to the city and serving millions of coach customers every year. This occasion is a great opportunity to congratulate the hard work of everybody involved in the new station.”
The new station, which measures approximately 5,000 square metres, was designed by SBS Architects and built by Midlands based Ashford Construction. It will feature an open plan concourse for customers with 16 coach bays with automated gates for safety, three retail outlets and a mixture of customer service desks and self service ticket kiosks.
National Express is also spearheading an innovative public art project as part of the coach station redevelopment together with EC Arts. The 190 metre long artwork entitled ‘Boundary’ will act as a perimeter to the site, and is constructed of individual strips of steel which lean, and change shape, as visitors move around the fence. Each strip will be painted with red enamel gloss and be lit from beneath by spotlights.
The £300,000 project is being funded by National Express with contributions from Birmingham City Council, the British Arts Council and the Birmingham Irish Forum and Irish Quarter Regeneration. A documentary about the artwork has been produced by students from the Voice of Aston Community Centre. It will be on permanent display inside the new coach station to show the site’s rebirth and development.
The new coach station will include:
- Spacious and airy concourse design with a high canopy
- Temperature controlled, enclosed waiting area away from the coaches, with comfortable seating and electronic passenger information screens
- Information centre providing tickets and as-it-happens travel information
- Café and shops facing on to Digbeth, with dual access from both the coach station concourse and the street
- Additional office accommodation above the main concourse
- Short stay customer car park with 15 spaces (including two dedicated disabled bays)
- ‘Meet and greet’ drop off zone on Mill Lane, adjacent to the new main entrance to the coach station
- Dedicated taxi waiting zone
- 16 coach bays, (two more than the old station), and four layover bays, allowing for potential and predicted growth in coach travel
- Toilet facilities
National Express is currently using a temporary coach station on the site of the former Volkswagen showroom on Oxford Street, on the other side of Digbeth High Street. This site is known as Birmingham Central.
Note to Editors:
For photos of the topping out ceremony or artists impressions of the new station please contact Carly O’Donnell on 0121 460 8867.
As Britain’s No 1 coach operator, National Express and its sister company, Eurolines provide passengers with the flexibility to visit more than 1,000 UK and 500 European destinations. National Express also operates a high frequency service to all major UK airports.