Press releases

ORR gives approval for enhancements at University station, Birmingham, to open

17 January 2024
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has authorised two new station buildings and other significant enhancements at University railway station in Birmingham, allowing them to enter into service.
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Photo of the rail link bridge and new station building at University station

This is a key milestone on the way to getting the station open in the next few weeks.

Linking the two new station buildings is an accessible rail link bridge, and there are new signage, lighting, CCTV and other systems throughout.

ORR previously authorised other upgrades to University, including wider and longer platforms, to allow them to enter into service ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

ORR’s authorisation confirms that the project has met standards covering health and safety, accessibility, environmental protection, technical compatibility, and reliability and availability.

ORR has worked with the funders, the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) from the outset of the project to guide them through the authorisation process, ensuring that important checks and surveys are carried out.

ORR’s authorisation is an important step in improving rail connectivity and the passenger experience, improving access to the University of Birmingham and Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The upgrades will see the station’s capacity increase. Originally designed to accommodate half a million passengers per year, figures published by ORR show that over 2.6 million people used the station in 2022-2023.

ORR authorises new railway stations like University station as part of its duty to authorise infrastructure and rolling stock that are new or have had a major upgrade or renewal. 

Dermot Kelly, Head of Civil Engineering at ORR, said: 

This is a significant upgrade which helps Birmingham and the West Midlands provide improved access for some of the region’s most important institutions. 

We’re pleased to have played our part in getting the station ready to open. Our team worked alongside the WMCA to advise them on the authorisation process, just as we do for new trains and infrastructure across the country.

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), is the transport arm of the WMCA.

Kate Trevorrow, Rail Delivery Director with TfWM, said: 

With the authorisation from the ORR we have completed a critical step on the way to the finish line for the University Station buildings.

We are now making final preparations and look forward to opening in the near future.

University station sign
Side of University station building with Network Rail, Transport for West Midlands, University and University of Birmingham logos
Photo of both new station buildings and the rail link bridge, with a view along the tracks.