Solihull station serves thousands of passengers every day and links the town centre to key destinations such as Birmingham and London. To ensure we continue to accommodate increasing future demand, and changing travel patterns, Solihull Council is leading on ambitious plans to completely redevelop the station.
Working with partners, we want to transform Solihull station into a fully integrated transport hub, incorporating several modes of transport, including two new Sprint bus routes as well as new cycling and walking routes. The new station will act as a gateway to the borough and the town centre, providing passengers with modern, easy-to navigate new facilities and supporting continued economic growth in the town centre.
Based on early illustrative designs the new station will be set around an enlarged new internal public concourse and feature sustainability at the heart of its design.
In 2018 consultants, Mott MacDonald and architects Hawkins Brown, were appointed to produce an outline design and business case for the project with the following objectives:
- To accommodate forecast growth in passenger numbers up to 2050 and not preclude future four tracking and electrification of the line
- To provide a quick, safe and seamless interchange between multiple modes of transport, providing the highest quality of passenger experience, with modern facilities, provision of customer information and comfortable convenience and waiting facilities and which meets the highest levels of safety and environmental standards
- Provide a strong sense of place and a clear sense of arrival, with a landmark building which complements its surroundings
- Respond to, and facilitate, the economic growth anticipated by the Solihull Town Centre Masterplan
- Facilitate the transformation of the connectivity between the station and the heart of the Town Centre
Responding to these core requirements three high level options were developed, and a preferred option (Baseline Masterplan) was shared with passengers, residents, and key stakeholders as part of a public consultation over the Summer of 2021.
The preferred option provides a simple, easy to navigate station for passengers and aims to achieve BREEAM excellent accreditation, with numerous sustainable design features including onsite energy generation, electric vehicle charging, biodiverse planting and efficient energy systems.
Key features include:
- Establishment of 3 distinct zones within the site. By positioning the station at the centre, in approximately the same location as the existing station, this allows the site to be split into 2 halves; one dedicated to the transport interchange and the other to a new public realm, with enhanced green space that can be enjoyed by station users.
- Design of the surrounding public realm to allow intuitive access into and around the new station development. An abundance of green space and planting will be provided and pedestrian routes around the site are designed for easy, safe navigation and clear sight lines, accommodating both pedestrians and cyclists.
- A landmark building which complements its surroundings. The development of a single storey building with an elevated platform in the same organisation as the existing station, but larger in scale. A generous internal public concourse space that includes ticketing facilities, public toilets and commercial spaces.
- A new widened underpass, along with a new lift with twice the current capacity and an additional stairway to platform level. Ticket gates at either side of the underpass and a new and improved rear entrance.
- A decluttered platform design achieved by centralising the accommodation facilities around the lift and stairways. The existing accommodation and canopy structure is to be replaced with a new building, which is kept within the footprint width of the stairways to improve passenger circulation.
- New canopies over the platform to ensure weather protection, improving safety and passenger comfort during inclement weather. The elevated nature of the platforms and track provide clear views for onward travel routes, and views directly into the new concourse space are provided through the station building's glazed gable end.
- Prioritisation of active and public modes of travel. The interchange, located to the north of the station building, takes the form of a loop in order to establish single entry and exit points for most vehicular traffic. All vehicular movements are consolidated separately to pedestrian movements and where crossings are required, these are clear, prioritised and enlarged.
- Sustainability at the core of the design. Preliminary analysis has shown that the project has potential to go beyond Net Zero Whole Life Carbon, being highly energy efficient and fully powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources. Timber is proposed for use internally within the station building and has a key role to play in the building achieving its net zero ambition.
The masterplan design is still conceptual, and the feedback received to date will inform further design development as the designs become more detailed. Following a period of consultation on the preferred masterplan option in 2021, additional design development has been taking place in conjunction with stakeholder and community engagement sessions.
Once the detailed design work is complete it will be possible to start applying for the necessary consents and approvals, from the Local Planning Authority, Highways Authority and Network Rail, and to prepare a full business case to secure funding for delivery.
Frequently Asked Questions
Solihull train station links the town centre to key destinations such as Birmingham and London, serving thousands of passengers every day. Working with partners we want to provide accessible, modern facilities which can accommodate the forecast growth in passenger numbers and enable effective integration with other forms of transport including new Sprint and walking and cycling routes. The new station will provide a gateway to the borough and town centre, responding to and facilitating the economic growth anticipated by the Solihull Town Centre Masterplan and enhancing Solihull’s reputation as a great place to live and work.
This is a Council led scheme. A Steering Group of key stakeholders has been established to oversee development of the project with representatives from Network Rail, Transport for West Midlands, West Midlands Rail Executive, Chiltern Trains and West Midlands Trains.
Based on early illustrative designs the new station will be set around an enlarged new internal public concourse and feature sustainability at the heart of its design. Features identified in the Baseline Masterplan include onsite energy generation, electric vehicle charging, biodiverse planting and energy efficient systems.
Work to date on this project has been funded using grant money provided from the West Midlands Combined Authority. Funding for delivery of the scheme is still to be secured and is likely to come from a variety of sources, which could include further grants, and direct funding from the Department for Transport, and Network Rail.
Following early design work and consultation we currently have a reference design for development of an Integrated Transport Hub which is conceptual.
As part of the next stage of the project the reference design will be developed in more detail. This detailed design is required to apply for all necessary consents and approvals, from the Local Planning Authority, Highways Authority and Network Rail, and to prepare a full business case to secure funding for delivery.
Where assumptions have been made to inform the concept design, more intrusive and detailed survey work will be carried out in the next stage to provide greater certainty on the deliverability, costs, and impact of the developing design.
The impact of COVID 19 has accelerated shifting patterns in the way we live, work and travel between our local centres. Despite these changes, we know that rail passenger numbers remain set to grow over the coming years. Upgraded facilities will be necessary if we want to accommodate this increase as well as the projected growth in the number of people incorporating active forms of travel into their journeys, such as cycling. Our proposals are being developed with long-term ambitions for improved accessibility in mind.
A secure cycle hub is proposed with provision for 144 bicycles as well as shower, changing, locker and WC facilities. A similar number of cycle storage points is proposed externally across the site.
The ambition of the scheme is to promote walking and cycling as far as possible. It is intended that the station will link with the proposed priority cycle route along Blossomfield Road.
The design has considered the aspiration to reopen the unused platform and therefore makes provision to ensure that can be done at a later date but is not part of this scheme.
At the next stage more detailed design work will be undertaken and we will be seeking opinions on those designs at the appropriate time. A formal, statutory, consultation will also form part of any planning application process.
The anticipated construction period is 18-24 months and will become better defined as we move through the design process.
Whilst there will be disruption during construction, an experienced contractor has been part of the project team providing constructability advice during concept design. Based on their advice, it has been demonstrated that a construction sequence is possible which maintains access to the station for all users throughout construction other than when short-term closures of the railway are needed.