I was in Birmingham recently during April and May 2013. In April I arrived at Birmingham New Street Station by London Midland Train from London Euston. It's a Midlands local service stopping at Marston Green (Birmingham Suburbs), Birmingham International (For the NEC and Airport), Hampton in Ardon, Tile Hill, Coventry, Rugby, Long Buckley, Northampton, Wolverton, Milton Keynes Central, Bletchy (For Bletchy Park) and Leighton Buzzard. The journey took approximately 2 hours and the journey cost me 6.00 gbp (April 2013, one way and booked in advance). Please click on the London Midland website for more information including schedules and fares.
The following month I arrived at the by Virgin Trains from London Euston. It was a faster service than the London Midland and took approximately 1.5 hours and it cost us 7.50 gbp each (May 2013, one way and booked in advance). Please click on the Virgin Trains website for more information including schedules and fares.
Birmingham New Street is where most travellers to Birmingham by train will arrive. With 13 platforms, it is one of the largest rail hubs in the country and is the second busiest non-London railway station in the country by passenger volume.
Due to its central location, New Street serves local, regional and cross country routes to every part of Great Britain including the English, Welsh and Scottish capitals.
Birmingham New Street station is often described as quite dark and unwelcoming but it is nice to see that some investment has gone into trying to make the station more visitor-friendly. Nevertheless, it is not a great station to spend a lot of time hanging around at. For ongoing travel, there is a large taxi rank outside the station and the station is only a short walk to the Bullring centre and the other shopping amenities in the city. The Moor Street rail station (a much nicer station with a traditional feel) is also only about 5-10 minutes walk away.
Many train services run into Birmingham city centre and around Birmingham and surrounding areas.
Going by train is the fastest way to get from 1 place to anohter and see Birmingham to the full.
Most main attractions can be reached by train, and if not they aren't far away from the train stations.
If you are going to an evening event at the NEC / LG Arena consider using the train from the city centre. If you travel after 18.30 you can get a return from New Street Station to Birmingham International (the NEC station) for £2 return. Bargain!
The journey takes about 10 - 15 mins which gives more than enough time to arrive for an event starting at around 19.30. Return trains run regularly until about 23:45 -check timetable for your journey.
Birmingham's rail infrastructure is relatively undeveloped compared to other English cities such as Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield or Newcastle.
Whilst the graphics inside local trains make it look as if the West Midland has a metro system, this is not the case.
A number of lines converge on the seventh ring of hell - otherwise known as New Street station. You will always need to consult a timetable (especially at weekends) if you are planning to use the train, and expect delays.
The only exception to this is the 'Midland Metro' that runs between the centre of Birmingham and Wolverhampton (see other tip).
The 'buzz' (Bus) is the true backbone of public transport in the West Midlands.
Birmingham's new street station is the main train station that leads you into and around Birmingham city centre. This train station is the main point of the midlands railway network.
Birmingham New Street Station is located off Smallbrook Queensway.
It can also be accessed from the Pallasades Shopping Centre and Navigation Street.
The intercity trains to/from Birmingham are very quick and a lot quicker than car/coach. By train will only take 1 hour to/from London compared to 2hours by car. Birmingham is centrally located so a direct train can be taken to most locations without having to change.
The main west coast train line connects Birmingham and london. Expect to pay a King's ransom for a ticket, unless you book six months in adavance, online, and wear one blue sock on a Tuesday before travelling.
The alternative is to look at Chiltern railways who run a slower (but cheaper) service from Marylebone station in london (Vigin use Euston) to Moor street or Snow hill in Birmingham (Virgin use New Street). Expect a journey of over two hours, but significant savings. The cheapest restricted fare by this method works out at only a fiver - see deals section.
The cheapest rail ticket at present is the Chiltern e-ticket which costs £5 single each way from London Marylebone to Birmingham Moor Street or Birmmingham Snow Hill. It has to be booked 7 days in advance. In July 2005 it is only available on the 10.54am or the 8.40pm trains from London.
The return tickets have to be booked separately and the departure times are 10.40am or 7.10pm from Snow Hill and 3 minutes later from Moor Street.
The next cheapest ticket is the Just £15 ticket available on the day for any train leaving Marylebone after 11.00am. This is a return ticket.
If there are 3 or 4 of you travelling together a GroupSave ticket allows you all to travel for the price of 2 people.
The e-day ticket is available at http://www.chilternrailways.co.uk/ and you print off your own ticket and present it to the conductor on the train.
Chiltern Rail provide the cheapest service from Birmingham to London. This service was extended north and westwards out of Birmingham to Stourbridge Junction and from September 2002 further west still to Kidderminster.
All of the local trains to Stourbridge and Kidderminster from Birmingham go to and from Moor Street and Snow Hill and NOT New Street Station.
24.2.03 Chiltern Rail was named the Train Operator of the year for the 2nd year running.
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