In November 12 projects from across the UK which had triumphed at their own regional awards were entered for a new national People's Choice 2016 award. The refurbishment of Birmingham New Street station project was the West Midlands' nominee.
During November ICE ran a sustained campaign to generate public interest in all 12 projects. ICE West Midlands region threw itself behind the campaign to highlight the benefits of the Birmingham New Street project to the general public. Using social media (#ICEpeopleschoice) regional printed media and on-line coverage we reached out to promote the project as widely as possible. With the support of Network Rail and Atkins we set up a People's Choice stand in the Grand Central atrium to distribute People's Choice posts cards and promote the project, and the engineers who designed it.
ICE's regional support team, and staff from Atkins and WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff engaged with member s of the public during the three days the stand was in position.
Notable visitors to the stand included prospective West Midlands' Mayoral candidates Andy Street, and Beverley Nielsen, and Hala Lloyd, Interface Design Manager and Technical Design Coordinator from the Atkins team who designed the station.
Andy Street cast his vote for the project and said: "As the person who signed on the dotted line for the John Lewis Partnership to become the anchor for the New Street development, a project which underpins the new scale of regeneration that we are seeing in Birmingham and the wider Midlands region, I want to thank the team who have helped to realise the original vision."
The stand attracted interest from a wide variety of visitors ranging from author, Spencer Vignes, using the station to commute north from Cardiff. Spencer remarked that he'd just written a book about railway inspired music called 'The Train Kept A-Rollin'. He was inspired on a trip through Birmingham by seeing the name 'Grand Central' which reminded him of the iconic New York building. Others who stopped at the stand were holiday makers from as far afield as South America, and Asia. Local commuters, students and pensioners also stopped by to express their support for the project. All were full of praise for the project and were enjoying using it as a shopping destination and meeting place, as well as a station.
Voting closed on 30 November and the winner of the People's Choice Award 2016 will be announced in January. ICE West Midlands thanks all those who took part and we're keeping our fingers crossed for the project to win.