'One Rule for the Rich and Another for the Poor'



On the 1 June 1854 a new station was officially opened in Birmingham.

New Street Station was a great engineering achievement covered by a huge glass and iron roof. It was a monument to the power of steam and Birmingham’s importance as a railway centre, but one history is rarely told: how the lives of ordinary people were changed.

The first railroad connections reached Birmingham in 1837 with termini at Vauxhall and Curzon Street, outside of the town centre. The existing road between the stations and the Bullring was expanded in order to take pedestrian traffic into the centre of town. However travelling into the Bullring remained inconvenient for passengers and demand grew for the construction of a new station with easier access.

Railway companies needed to secure an Act of Parliament to enable them to compulsorily purchase land. New Street Station required acres of land for lines, platforms, offices, waiting rooms and means of conveying passengers to and fro.

KEYWORDS: Railways, Birmingham, New Street Station, Glass, Iron

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