National Express Opens the Doors to its New Coach Station
National Express will open the doors to its £15 million Birmingham Coach Station on Monday 14 December following two years of redevelopment.
The first coach service, en route to London, will depart the new station at 8am, driven by Ray Wicketts who was also the last employee to drive a coach out of the old site.
National Express’ flagship coach station is now one of the most important gateways to Birmingham, with three million travellers passing through annually. It will also spearhead the redevelopment of Digbeth by delivering visitors from throughout and Britain and Europe.
Designed by SBS Architects, the new Birmingham coach station features a sweeping canopy, copper facade, an open plan concourse, 16 coach bays and retail outlets Starbucks, WHSmith and Upper Crust. A prominent feature of the coach station is the dramatic new contemporary artwork which surrounds the site.
Paul Bunting, Strategic Sales and Marketing Director for National Express said: “We are so proud to welcome people back to the new Birmingham Coach Station.”
“Just two years since the old station closed, Birmingham’s exciting new transport gateway is open and the people of Birmingham will be proud of it for many years to come. People will be able to travel to hundreds of destinations throughout the UK from the new station and we will be launching some exciting new changes to some services in the New Year.”
“We’re delighted to be spearheading the redevelopment of Digbeth, Birmingham’s birthplace, with the new station and the innovative public arts project. “
The site is on track to become the first coach station to receive a BREEAM excellent rating for environmental build. The station features a number of impressive green benefits including:
- Rainwater harvesting which provides 100% of the water for customer toilets
- Sustainable construction methods and materials used throughout the project
- Use of “green electricity” from sustainable sources
The coach station will also play a key role in the National Express coach network with the majority of cross country services passing through the site and providing a glimpse of Birmingham to millions of people.
Last week National Express also unveiled the highly anticipated Digbeth Arts project which has run parallel to the development of the new station. The project consists of two art installations – the 181 metre long ‘Boundary’ fence and an Irish inspired artwork mounted on 321 Bradford Street.
The new art works have been developed through community consultation and recognise the importance of Digbeth as a gateway to the city whilst reflecting its rich cultural heritage through contemporary art.
‘Boundary’ comprises of 320 steel haunches, which wrap round the new Coach Station, inspired by Midland Red and the Avery weights factory which once stood in Digbeth.
The other major piece is the Irish Quarter Artwork based on the traditional Irish greeting. ‘One Hundred Thousand Welcomes’.
The journey of the Digbeth Public Art Project has been documented in a short film which will play in the coach station waiting area as a permanent digital media installation.
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
Office space above the station will accommodate the National Express UK head office
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
New toilet facilities
The Official opening of the coach station will take place on 18 December 2009. The England Manager, Fabio Capello will open the coach station together with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham.