Four men leading the £600 million transformation of Birmingham’s New Street station and the Pallasades shopping centre gathered together for the first time to see how work is progressing.
Construction started on the New Street Gateway project two years ago, but this week was the first opportunity for the four partners involved to go onto the building site and see for themselves how it is going.
Whilst there, they also turned the first sod to mark the start of construction work on the new John Lewis store which will anchor the revamped Pallasades and bring 650 jobs to the city.
City council leader Sir Albert Bore; John Lewis managing director Andy Street; chief executive of Network Rail David Higgins, and Mark Reynolds, deputy chief executive of construction company Mace, all said they were delighted with how the scheme was progressing.
The massive project is on schedule and passengers will be the first to get a look at the new station when the first section of the revamped concourse opens next spring.
John Lewis is due to open in autumn 2014 and the entire station is due to be completed by 2015.
Throughout the work, New Street station is remaining open with trains running as normal.
Mace boss, Mr Reynolds, said this meant the project was one of their most complex to date.
“Because 90 per cent of the UK trains are affected by any disruption at New Street, we obviously have to keep disruption to a minimum,” he said.
“This is one of our most challenging transport projects and at its height we had 90 managers and over 300 members of staff working here.”
City council leader Sir Albert Bore, who was in opposition when the work began, had his first chance to tour the site. He admitted to being blown away by the sheer scale of the engineering challenges facing the team.