Birmingham Curzon Street

Location type

Station

Names and dates

Birmingham [Curzon Street] (1838-1852)
Birmingham Curzon Street (1852-1854)

Note: text in square brackets is added for clarity and was not part of the location's name.

Opened on the Grand Junction Railway.
Opened on the London and Birmingham Railway.

Description

This was not one station but two; the parallel termini of the London and Birmingham Railway (from 9 April 1838) and the Grand Junction Railway (from 19 November 1838, replacing the temporary Birmingham [Vauxhall] of 4 July 1837). The stations, originally called simply Birmingham, were built on the then eastern edge of the city. The station was replaced by Birmingham New Street, a through station, in 1854.


L&BR station


For the L&BR a fine two storey building (the 'Principal Building'), with a ticket hall on the ground floor and intended board room above, fronted New Canal Street to the west (Curzon Street borders the north of the former station site). The street side has four ionic columns with a further two at the rear. The architect was Philip Hardwick who also designed the Euston Arch at the London terminus.

Behind Hardwick's building (to its east) were the L&BR's twin trainsheds. The arrival platform was to the south, departure to north alongside the booking offices. On the north side of these the L&BR ran by a level crossing over Curzon Street to its goods yard Curzon Street Goods Station (Top Yard).

Carriage sheds were to the east of the trainsheds on a north-west to south-east axis and approached from the station. Beyond was the L&B's locomotive shed, a round house, both on the south side of the line approaching Curzon Street and approached from the terminus. This was a sixteen road round house built around a fifteen foot turntable. A tightly curved siding ran south and then east to a quay on the Digbeth Branch Canal. A straight engine shed was added to the south of the roundhouse.


GJR station


To the north of the L&B station and its level crossing of Curzon Street was the GJR station. On Curzon Street was the GJR's classically styled screen wall and its offices. To facilitate passenger exchange both the L&BR and GJR could run into either the L&BR or GJR stations. The GJR station was on a more constrained triangular site. The arrival and departure platforms were staggered, the arrival platform was further west.

Despite approaching from the north west the Grand Junction line swung round with its final approach into the station from the east alongside the London line.

The GJR's shed was at Birmingham [Vauxhall].


1840s


The Midland Railway, gained access from 1841. An additional trashed was erected to the north of the existing trainsheds.

In 1846 the L&BR and GJR merged to become the London and North Western Railway bringing the parallel termini into joint ownership.

From 1841 the main station building was a hotel, having been extended on its northern side.


New Street replaces Curzon Street


Birmingham New Street station opened on the new line from Wolverhampton in 1852. It was briefly a terminus. 'Curzon Street' was added to the existing Birmingham station's name. The line through New Street was completed allowing it to replace Curzon Street entirely in 1854. The hotel in the main building at Curzon Street closed with the station in 1854 and used as offices.

The new approach lines to New Street skirted the south side of the L&BR terminus, the lines being raised on a viaduct above the older station.


Goods station


After 1854 Curzon Street became a goods station with several goods sheds, a combination of the existing trainsheds and new structures, the layout being rebuilt in the 1860s. Turnplates to the east of the sheds served a line north-south across the entries to the goods sheds. The L&B trainsheds survived within the new goods layout.

The round house was demolished and three further sheds were erected to the south of the L&B trainsheds (and cattle sidings alongside Banbury Street). The round house had to be demolished to fit the approach lines in between the original lines and later New Street lines. The Gloucester and Derby bay platforms trainshed was to be taken down and replaced with a large brick building. Curzon Street No 1 signal box controlled access (built close to the site of the round house).

The arrival platform of the GJR station site became a metal shed, later fruit, and the departure a grain warehouse.

Quadrupling of the New Street approach lines in 1893 led to the closure of an excursion station (once the cattle sidings) in the south western part of the site.


Parcels depot


The site ceased to be a goods depot and was rebuilt as a parcels depot in 1966, a very large concrete apron being laid over the site and two large sheds erected. A new Curzon Street box controlled the approach.

The yard survived until the 1980/90s before being progressively cut back with Castle Cement latterly making use of the northern group of sidings east of the Digbeth Branch Canal. Curzon Street signal box closed in the mid 1990s. Derelict remaining sidings were removed in the late 1990s. The northern part of the site, the former GJR station, became a car park. The parcel sheds on the L&BR site, latterly used by Parcelforce, were torn down around 2006.


Today


The building on New Canal Street survives to the present day.

The site is intended as the Birmingham terminus of the High Speed 2 (HS2) line. During preparatory works the lower parts of the long demolished round house have been located and carefully uncovered.

The original building will be located on the north side, and at an angle to, the new terminus which will extend further west.

Tags

Terminus station
11/04/2020



Dates

10/03/2020High Speed 2
Announcement of the uncovering of the remains of Birmingham L&B Roundhouse, part of the former Birmingham Curzon Street terminus, by archaeologists in advance of construction work on the site.

Books


Great Railway Journeys: London to Birmingham By Rail (Through Time)

London and Birmingham Railway: 150 Years On
London and Birmingham: A Railway of Consequence