Excavating the ‘world’s oldest railway roundhouse’ in Birmingham Full steam ahead
Archaeological investigations ahead of the construction of a station to serve the new HS2 network of high-speed trains have revealed traces of far earlier rail journeys. Carly Hilts visited the site of the old Curzon Street Station in Birmingham to see what has been uncovered.
During the 1830s, Britain was undergoing a railway revolution, with rapid expansion of the rail network meaning that people, post, and goods could travel further and faster than ever before. The manufacturing powerhouse of Birmingham was among the many Victorian cities to benefit from this boom: its Curzon Street Station hosted termini for two major companies, the Grand Junction Railway (connecting the city to Manchester and Liverpool), and the London and Birmingham Railway, which provided a link to the capital.
In the days of steam, this latter 112-mile journey could take over five hours – a far cry from the 86 minutes that carried CA from London Euston to Birmingham New Street last month. It was railway-related matters that had brought us to Birmingham: we were visiting the Old Curzon Street station site, which is set to be transformed into
BELOW Overlooking the excavation of what is thought to be the world’s oldest railway roundhouse, on the site of Birmingham’s Victorian Curzon Street Station.