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Birmingham Snow Hill station

Birmingham Snow Hill station is a railway station located in the centre of Birmingham, England. Though only a shadow of its former self, it is still the second most important railway station in Birmingham after New Street station. It is also the Birmingham terminus of the West Midlands tram system, the Midland Metro.

Trains from London, Stratford-upon-Avon and Kidderminster, and trams from Wolverhampton (via Wednesbury and West Bromwich), terminate at Snow Hill station.

The train services into the station are currently (2003) run by Chiltern Railways (the London service) and Central Trains (local services). Although in 2004 the London services are due to be terminated at Moor Street station, at the London end of Snow Hill tunnel.


The original station was opened in 1852 on the Great Western Railway (GWR) line from London (Paddington) to Wolverhampton Low Level Station. Snow Hill was re-built in 1871 to accommodate longer trains.

Trains arriving from the south first pass through Snow Hill Tunnel, built by the cut-and-cover method, with Great Western (shopping) Arcade running above the northern end.

The station had an uneventful existence for many years until the 1960s. Then, as part of the Beeching axe closure programme, it was decided that Snow Hill station was an unnecessary duplication, and that Birmingham only needed one major station. Snow Hill was recommended for closure, and all services were switched to the former- LMS New Street Station. Local services, north from Snow Hill, were the last to run.

The station was gradually run down, until it was closed completely, and largely demolished in 1974. The line to Wolverhampton was also closed. The station site was for many years used as a car park.


By the mid 1980s New Street Station was severely congested, and British Rail decided to re-open Snow Hill station to relieve this congestion.

The new, re-built Snow Hill station opened, for servcies to the south only, in 1987, with some of the remaining parts of the original station being lost (e.g. the old parcels office) and others incorporated (notably the now- sealed entrance, with GWR crest, in Livery Street). Soon services to London Marylebone were re-started, along with many local services. A new station, Moor Street, was built at the southern end of Snow Hill tunnel, to replace the terminus adjacent to the tunnel mouth, which then closed.

The new Snow Hill station, with a multi- storey car park above it, has been widely criticised as draughty, unwelcoming and architecturally unimaginative.

In 1995, services north to Smethwick, and onwards to Worcester, were resumed.

In 1999 the line to Wolverhampton was re-opened as a light- rail or tram line, the Midland Metro.

In 2003, the original gates and booking hall sign from Snow Hill were incorporated into the old Moor Street Station, with its ticket office brought back into use, for trains using the 1987 platforms, but the old platforms remained mothballed, awaiting reopening. Watering facilites for the regular Sunday steam services to Startford-upon-Avon; and new retail units, both in GWR architectural style, were also included, in conjunction with the development of the adjacent Birmingham Bull Ring.