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Arup lines up new Central station to ease congestion in Birmingham

Arup is drawing up plans to create a 'Grand Central Station for Birmingham', in a desperate bid to ease the drastic congestion problems in the second city's New Street Station.

The engineering giant is working with developer Murray Raynor to develop an architectural competition brief for a site which 'might well' take in the location of Richard Rogers' planned Central Library.

And the Strategic Rail Authority has admitted that is has launched a review of all its plans for Birmingham, a move that would 'certainly assess the possibility of a completely new station'.

If Arup's proposals were to win SRA support, it would almost certainly sound the death knell for Alsop Architects' existing proposals to redevelop New Street.

Arup director Colin Stewart said the idea had been 'milling around for a long time. But three months ago the SRA asked us to make a presentation about our ideas and it has suddenly caught people's attention.

'When you look at New Street and then look at Manchester Piccadilly you realise just how criminal the whole situation is, ' he said. 'If we are going to spend a vast pile of money improving the rail network in Birmingham, why don't we just start again with a new station altogether?'

A spokesman for the SRA confirmed that it had undertaken the review and insisted that it would 'consider all the possible strategies for the region'.

'We would certainly look at the Central Station proposals, ' he added. 'But I'm not sure how that would leave New Street'.

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