Birmingham New Street has seen 52% more visitors since Ozzy the bull’s official homecoming to the station concourse last week. The much-loved icon of last year’s Commonwealth Games* was unveiled to large crowds in his permanent home under the station's atrium roof on Wednesday 26 July.
A public vote saw the bull named Ozzy, after Birmingham born and bred Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne. His TV celebrity wife Sharon and older sister Jean were guests of honour at the big reveal live on TV.
Over his first seven days towering above passengers and making his hourly roars, 915,145 people were recorded in the station. That’s compared to 602,512 in the same period the week before – a rise of 52%.
Steven Ireland, Network Rail Central route head of customer service, said: “We knew people loved the bull, but I don’t think the station team quite expected just how much. People are enthralled by his movements and it’s been amazing to see young and old coming to visit and taking selfies with our big beast right at the heart of Britain’s railway network.
“These latest figures show just how loved Ozzy is, and that it’s a great driver to get people onto the railway and into the city centre to see the great things it has on offer.” This time-lapse footage shows the big build of the 10-metre-high moving bull inside New Street station throughout July.
His concourse home was secured earlier this year thanks to Network Rail and the West Midlands Combined Authority. Both organisations worked together with the Birmingham 2022 Games organisers** to secure the future of the iconic artwork, when it was removed from public display last September.
In February it was revealed that New Street station would become the bull's permanent pen, and a major six-month redesign and rebuilding project began***.
- Approx 50% of the original bull retained with the other half remade.
- New mechanisms installed so the bull can move its mouth, head, eyes, eyelids, and tail, and speakers to make it roar.
- The opportunity was taken to rebuild the legs and underside which will now be seen in full 360 degrees.
- The bull being painstakingly dismantled, trucked to the station and rebuilt
- Over 7,000 hours of work to make all of this happen
People posting photographs online are encouraged to use the hashtag #OzzyNewStreet.
During Ozzy’s first week, Birmingham Festival 23 has also been taking place in Centenary Square and continues until today (Sunday August 6).
*Raging Bull featured in the official Opening Ceremony for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The ceremony was held in the Alexander Stadium on 28 July 2022. Created from the machinery from industry and factories of Birmingham and the West Country, the Bull was pulled on stage by 50 women representing the female chain-makers of the Industrial Revolution who made chains in the slave trade. This segment of the ceremony featured the women breaking free from their chains to symbolise release from oppression.
** The Bull was commissioned by Birmingham Ceremonies Ltd, a joint venture between GBA and Done+Dusted, for the Opening Ceremony under the artistic direction of Iqbal Khan. The original creative concept for the Bull was created by Misty Buckley and the structure fabricated by Artem. The Raging Bull and its Intellectual Property was formally handed over to Network Rail on 7 February 2023.
*** The original Bull was 10 metres high, weighed 2.5 tonnes and it was designed, built and mechanised by a team of more than 50 people by UK based special effects company Artem. They have been behind the rebuild of the bull so it could be permanently displayed inside Birmingham New Street station, Britain’s busiest railway station outside of London. The Bull was originally constructed of lightweight aluminium tubing but has now almost been completely rebuilt in lightweight fire-retardant glass-reinforced plastic moulds to meet fire regulations.