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Birmingham Rail passengers on track to discover city’s musical roots

Rail passengers will find themselves on a route to the roots of Birmingham’s world-class musical heritage thanks to a new community project.
Musical Routes will see 30 themed maps installed at railway stations across the city, telling the story of the musical heritage of each area. They will celebrate world-class artists Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath, The Beat, Joan Armatrading, Andy Hamilton and Jamelia along with many more, as well as profiling iconic venues such as the Que Club and Rum Runner.
The project is the brainchild of Birmingham Music Archive and the rail-travelling public will benefit thanks to funding from West Midlands Railway’s Your Community, Your Fund community grant.
From left, David Wisehall from Community Project Management Ltd, Fay Easton of West Midlands Railway, Adam Carthy of SpacePlay and Jez Collins from Birmingham Music Archive at Jewellery Quarter Station
The Music Maps will be installed by the end of October and will give passengers an instant insight into the stars that were born in the city and the venues that played host to them.
Birmingham Music Archive spokesman Jez Collins said: “I’m passionate about Birmingham’s music history, heritage and culture and as a city we need to celebrate and publicise these stories of global interest.
“This project with the railways will allow us to reach hundreds of thousands of people each year, as they travel across the train network. It’s a fantastic opportunity to highlight, through truly beautiful locally-produced maps, some of Birmingham’s great musicians and venues.”
Jez said he hoped the project would be a source of pride to the communities around the stations and raise awareness about the wealth of musical talent that the city has spawned over the decades.
He added: “I want more people to know more about Birmingham and its contribution to local, national and international music history, heritage and culture. We have an incredibly diverse city and our music reflects the diversity of our communities but many of those people don’t get the recognition they should.”
The maps have been produced by designers from city-based studio SpacePlay and will feature Spotify codes to connect with the relevant music.
The Musical Routes project is part of West Midlands Railway’s Your Community, Your Fund programme, with 21 community projects receiving funding.
Fay Easton, head of stakeholder and community at West Midlands Railway, said: “The Customer & Communities Fund was designed to bring life to community projects that would benefit our customers and we are so pleased to see this world-class concept delivered in Birmingham.
“Many local people and global visitors will be unaware of the musical talent that impacted world music from Birmingham and the Midlands. This talent should be celebrated, and we are proud to have been part of this project to bring Birmingham’s musical heritage to life at our stations.”
Maps will be installed at the following stations: Sutton Coldfield, Four Oaks, Wylde Green, Chester Road, Erdington, Gravelly Hill, Perry Barr, Hamstead, Jewellery Quarter, Duddeston, Aston, Witton, Bordesley, Small Heath, Adderley Park, Lea Hall, Five Ways; Spring Road; Hall Green; Yardley Wood; Acocks Green; Stechford; Tyseley; Selly Oak; Bournville; Kings Norton; Northfield and Longbridge. University station will get two maps. University and Perry Barr stations will get their maps when redevelopment work there is completed next year.
For more information about the project, visit, and for details about those behind the project, visit
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