The Brief:

New Street is the sixth busiest railway station in the whole of the UK, and as such required a redesign to ensure it was both fit for purpose and a suitable, modern home for the busiest interchange outside London! 

The brief for the project arrived at Glass & Stainless doorstep via our partner Simco, who had already begun work on the project designing and implementing the facades. Simco reached out to Glass & Stainless for assistance with the balustrades for the station, as balustrades are both essential for safety in public spaces by UK law and famously a speciality of Glass & Stainless. 

The brief was initially for Glass & Stainless to supply the entirety of the glass on the main walkway of the building itself. This demanded high-spec 21.52 glass, printed and laminated to ensure an aesthetic continuity with all the other glass in the station. The glass needed to feature a custom sandblasted line running through all the panels, to tie in with the existing glass work as a recognisable and instantly identifiable feature of the station. This was particularly important in the main entrance of the station due to the high footfall that passes through each day; in addition to the quality of the materials, the architects wanted to prioritise a consistent and iconic design theme. 


An image of the side of Birmingham New Street Station from the side, depicting glass walls and the mirrored roof.

The Challenges:

The primary challenge of this project was the nature of the construction! Situated in Birmingham’s busy city centre, this refurbishment project involved delivering tonnes of glass to a station that remained fully operational – whilst at the same time co-ordinating deliveries to avoid local road closures which were facilitating the construction work! 

The location and the traffic of the site posed logistical difficulties for the Glass & Stainless team; both on the practicalities of getting the glass to site and the health & safety issues of completing the work with thousands of people passing by each day. 


An image of Birmingham New Street Station looking towards the Grand Central hotel, Birmingham, UK.


Glass & Stainless decided to choose some unusual timeslots in order to cope with these challenges: drop-offs took place at 3-4am to ensure the delivery vehicles could safely and easily access the site. The volume of materials needed meant that they needed to be stored safely until it was time for them to be used. 


The handrail installed by Glass & Stainless sits within the Birmingham New Street Station.

The Work:

Once materials were in place, Glass & Stainless got started with the work itself. The initial tasks of a new balustrade were further complicated by existing handrail that was in situ already. Glass & Stainless needed to therefore remove, and in most cases, replace the handrails with our high-grade stainless steel system.

At the same time, we were tasked with installing LED light systems to illuminate the balustrade, various other walkways. As part of the work on site we installed an LED system to light up the iconic war memorial, an unexpected addition to our work on site to an essential part of Birmingham’s legacy and culture.


The war memorial by New Street Station in Birmingham, UK, is shown with the handrail installed by Glass & Stainless.


As part of the work on site we installed an LED system to light up the iconic war memorial, an unexpected addition to our work on site to an essential part of Birmingham’s legacy and culture.

A priority for Glass & Stainless’ on the New Street project was the implementation of a new safety barrier on the tram-side entrance. Prior to our involvement, passengers would walk out of the New Street station door directly onto the tramline – as part of the overall remodelling this needed to be fixed!

The tram-side platform had stainless steel bollards running all the way down, Glass & Stainless was able to retro-fit glass panels in between each one. However, because of the ‘crowd loading’ that was required– both for normal footfall and particularly for busy times such as commuting, local events, and football matches – meant that the balustrade and glass configuration was carefully considered and tested to ensure it was strong enough to withstand the load bearing required.

Finally, the entirety of the pavement had to be lifted so that Glass & Stainless could bury the balustrade channel underground and fit the glass in between all the posts.

The walkway complete with Glass & Stainless powder-coated railings either side.

The Materials Used:

Principally, Glass & Stainless used high-grade 31.5 toughened laminated glass, with custom sandblast etching in a central line, in order to tie in with Transport For West Midlands collateral. 


The Partnerships:

In this project, Glass & Stainless worked closely in conjunction with:

  • Simco
  • Transport For West Midlands, and 
  • Birmingham City Council