Birmingham New Street

Birmingham, (United Kingdom)

Journeys from Birmingham

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About the station

This guide to taking trains from and to Birmingham New Street focuses on the less obvious aspects of arriving and departing from this station by train.
It encompasses a weight of detail, because how to take a train from Birmingham New Street is distinct, from any other station ShowMeTheJourney has ever used.


Summary of the long-distance train services from Birmingham New Street:

Train Operating Company:

Destinations and routes:

Avanti West Coast

(1) London* via Milton Keynes – the fastest trains between Birmingham and London
(2) Edinburgh or Glasgow via Preston, Lancaster, Oxenholme-Lake District, Penrith-North Lakes and Carlisle


(1) Edinburgh via Derby, Sheffield, Leeds, York, Durham and Newcastle
(2) Newcastle via Derby, Sheffield, Doncaster, York and Durham

(3) Manchester via Stoke-on-Trent
(4) Nottingham via Derby
(5) Stansted Airport via Leicester, Peterborough, Ely and Cambridge
(6) Bournemouth via Oxford, Reading, Winchester and Southampton
(7) Penzance via Cheltenham, Bristol, Taunton, Exeter, Totness, Plymouth and Truro
(7) Cardiff via Cheltenham and Newport

London North Western Railway

(1) London via Northampton and Milton Keynes (slower than the Virgin Trains)

(2) Liverpool

West Midlands Railway

(1) Hereford via Worcester
(2) Shrewsbury

TFW Rail

(1) Aberystwyth via Shrewsbury and Welshpool
(2) Pwllheli via Shrewsbury, Welshpool and Porthmadog
(3) Holyhead via Shrewsbury, Wrexham, Chester, Rhyl, Llandudno Junction and Bangor

Birmingham’s main station New Street has a fabulous location in the heart of the city, made possible by the fact that the part of the station that the trains use is below street level, so trains travel through tunnels beneath the city centre in order to access the station.

And it’s a great building in which to take a train, as the station now shares its location with a very smart shopping mall named ‘Grand Central’.

There are also multiple access points to and from the trains – perfect for its regular users, but a tad bewildering if you have never previously taken a train to or from here.

ShowMeTheJourney’s guide to using Birmingham New Street may seem somewhat eccentric with is references to ‘a’s and ‘b’s and multiple ‘Lounges’ – but trust us we have tried hard to help you make sense of what can initially seem a complex space.

To that end -  the SEVEN key things worth knowing about Birmingham New Street station are:

(1) The 12 platforms (tracks) are divided along their lengths into ‘a’ and ‘b’ sections – meaning that most trains depart and arrive from a specific ‘a’ or ‘b’ platform.

On the departure screens for each ‘Plat’ (track) you will usually see the likes of 6a and 11b etc (and there is also a platform 4c).

Though the longer trains, including the Avanti West Coast trains to and from London use the full length of the platform (track) occupying both the ‘a’ AND the ‘b’ sections – so for these departures and arrivals, only the number is used.

(2) When you’re on the platform, if the ‘a’ or ‘b’ zones are at the opposite end to where you find yourself, you can simply walk along it, they’re a matter of steps apart – so it doesn’t particularly matter how you access each platform, as long as you’ve got the number right.

(3) The station is in effect divided into four parts, the main concourse and the three ‘lounges’, the Blue, Yellow or Red.
The main concourse is also in effect the ground level of the Grand Central shopping mall, on one side of which, beneath the main departure board, is the ticket office.

However, to access the trains from the main concourse, or the passages that lead to/from the multiple entrances, you have to pass through one of those three lounges – each of which provides the optimum access to different sets of platforms (tracks).

It’s these lounges which makes using New Street station a unique experience.
An assumption is made that you’ll know what their function is, but if you are first time user of Birmingham New Street, you won’t have encountered this method of navigating a station.

What can be a tad confusing, is that you won’t see any information on the departure screens, which will say something along the lines of ‘go to the Blue Lounge’ etc.

These lounges function in a similar way to the gates at an airport, they’re interim locations in which you can wait for a train to depart, once you know from which platform (track) it will be leaving from.

(4) Ticket gate lines form barriers between the lounges and both the concourse and the main entrance to the station on Smallbrook Queensway.

If you enter the station from Smallbrook Queensway, the Blue Lounge is over to the right and the Yellow Lounge is over to the left.
There are departure screens just inside this entrance, so you can use them to check which platform (track) your train will be leaving from and then go directly to the respective lounge: Blue = platforms 1-5; Yellow = 6 – 12.

(5) Though once you have used your train ticket to access a lounge by opening a gate, you cannot use it again to re-open a ticket gate in order to head back to the main concourse or another part of the station.

(6) The station toilet (rest room) facilities are located in each of the three lounges.
The signs on the station concourse will suggest that they can only be found in the Blue and Yellow lounges, but there are also facilities available in the Red Lounge.

Why do you need to know this?
You ideally need to have checked which platform (track) your train will be leaving from, before you use these facilities – because you will need to pass through the ticket gates in order to access them and your ticket won’t re-open the gate.

If you don’t yet know which platform (track) your train will be leaving from, enter the Red Lounge and use the facilities there, as from that part of the station, you’ll then be able to subsequently access any platform (track) that the trains leave from.

(7) Because the platforms (tracks) are below street level, escalators, lifts (elevators) AND stairs connect the Blue and Yellow lounges to the platforms (tracks).
However, the Red Lounge is only connected to the platforms (tracks) by escalators and lifts.

1st Class Lounge
Bus Station
Car Hire
Information Desk
Left Luggage
Step Free
Taxi Rank
Terminus Station

Useful links

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Departing by Train from Birmingham New Street

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Arriving by train at Birmingham New Street

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Changing Trains at Birmingham New Street

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To Birmingham Moor Street station from New Street station

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