The first railway station to open in Birmingham was Vauxhall station, which opened in 1837 as a temporary railway shed. It served as the temporary Birmingham terminus of the Grand Junction Railway from Warrington. Curzon Street railway station opened in 1838 as the permanent terminus in the city and Vauxhall became a goods-only station until it was rebuilt and opened in 1869 under the London and North Western Railway (LNWR). The Curzon Street station entrance hall remains today in its original form, designed by Philip Hardwick, mirroring his design of the Euston Arch at the London terminus of the railway line. It is Grade I listed and is the world’s oldest surviving piece of monumental railway architecture. It closed to all railway traffic in 1966.
- The A38(M) which links Spaghetti Junction to the city centre
- The M5, connecting Birmingham to the south-west of England
- The M42, which connects Birmingham to Tamworth and the East Midlands
- The M6 Toll, which enables through traffic on the M6 to bypass Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
Birmingham, unlike London and Manchester, does not have a single orbital motorway. Instead, three motorways form a box which surrounds most of the city. These are:
- The M42 which forms the southern and eastern sections. In the middle, the M40 terminates, which has its junction built with priority for traffic going from the M40 to the M42 west, instead of M42 east-west priority. The M40 goes off south to Warwick, Oxford, High Wycombe, Uxbridge and London.
- The M5 which forms the western section.
- The M6 which forms the northern section. The M5 terminates on the M6.
Other major roads passing through Birmingham include:
- The A34 from Manchester to Winchester
- The A38 from Mansfield to Bodmin
- The A41 from London to Birkenhead
- The A45 from Birmingham to Thrapston (formerly to Felixstowe)
- The A47 from Birmingham to Great Yarmouth
- The A4540 ‘Middleway’ ring road
- The A4040 Outer Ring Road
oaches and Underground system
Birmingham is also a major hub in the National Express coach network, whose headquarters are in Birmingham. The group operates services from its hub at Birmingham Coach Station, a new coach station on the site of the former Digbeth Coach Station. A temporary coach station was located in nearby Oxford Street whilst building work was undertaken. The company’s flagship NXL Shuttle service operates services to London with frequent services to all major airports and cities in Britain. Many of these are cross-country services operating from north to south, for which Birmingham provides interchange facilities. Birmingham also has a Megabus service to London.
In the early 1950s, the government planned to protect essential communications by building a series of hardened underground telephone exchanges. Construction of the Anchor exchange in Birmingham started in 1953 with a cover story that a new underground rail network was being built. Work progressed until 1956 when the public were told the project was no longer economic; instead Birmingham got its underpasses through the city to help relieve congestion. An underground exchange and tunnel system 100 ft below Newhall Street had been completed at a cost £4 million. The main tunnel runs from Anchor to Midland ATE in Hill Street, from there the tunnel continued under New Street Station and on to the exchange in Essex Street.