Natural light has reached the floor of the new concourse at Birmingham New Street station as the final layer of concrete was broken through today (December 2). More than 4,000 tonnes of concrete that made up the roof of the old shopping centre has been removed already and preparations being made to remove the final 2,000-tonne layer roof of the old concourse.
The new atrium will be the centrepiece of the new station.
“Piece by piece, the design and concept for the station is being brought to life and it’s great to see natural light reaching the concourse for the first time,” said Chris Montgomery, Network Rail’s project director for the redevelopment project.
To keep noise levels down during nighttime work, a special machine has been designed, known as the ‘Mega Muncher’, that ‘eats’ the concrete. This method is significantly quieter and less disruptive than traditional jackhammer-type methods.
Demolition engineers from Coleman & Company have worked over the past two months to remove the thousands of tonnes of concrete.
Mark Coleman, managing director at Coleman & Company, said: “To demolish 6,000 tonnes of cast reinforced concrete from the centre of a busy city centre construction site, above a live operational rail station, without noise, dust and disruption is a huge engineering challenge.
“Some of the beams we have removed weigh more than the equivalent of 30 Range Rovers. Our engineers have been working closely with Network Rail and Mace, assessing the structure and crunching the numbers, to ensure that all works are completed to the highest standards.”
Richard Brown, development director of Grand Central Birmingham, the retail and dining destination that will sit above the transformed New Street station, said: ”This next phase of the project is incredibly exciting for Grand Central Birmingham. As the natural light breaks through onto the concourse it will reveal an insight into a unique shopping and station experience with shops and restaurants surrounding a stunning atrium-roofed concourse for the railway station, created out of the former Pallasades shopping area.”
The redeveloped Birmingham New Street station and Grand Central Birmingham development are due to open in 2015.