BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘Grand Central’

January 27th – Awful day. Horrible commute in rain and a headwind, loads to do then I had to nip into Birmingham. Coming back, New Street was rammed, the train back was awful and I just wanted to be home.

The top photo really illustrates the hogwash on ‘Grand Central’ – or the ‘remodelled’ New Street. The platforms are still cramped. It’s still very, very dark down there. The new cladding only covers bits that can be seen from the street. And nothing has been done to alleviate the terrible train congestion that dogs the station.

Climbing off at Walsall, I was expecting a following wind, which didn’t show up. But Walsall Station, splendid in it’s isolation, was as haunting as ever.

Those Late Night Feelings again.

November 27th – Passing through New Street mid day, I was again struck by the contrast between the media hype of a reborn station, and the grim, badly maintained reality of the place itself. Those brick arches are probably the oldest remainder of the original station, and it wouldn’t surprise me were they to be Victorian. They should be made a feature, but they are decaying, stained and lie mostly unnoticed. Even some of the lights above them have given up.

Closer to the central area of the same platform, a gap in the above-platform construction lets the rain and wind howl in, concentrated and focussed by the angles and surfaces. No shiny cladding here, as it’s not outward facing. Just original 60s concrete and cheap white cladding.

A notice on the platform says ‘Mind the gap’ – the credibility gap is more hazardous.

November 19th – The Queen herself today travelled to Birmingham (by train, which won’t have been delayed and will have had a working toilet) to open a station that hadn’t closed and has merely been subject to having a retail opportunity badly assembled on top, and is still unfinished.

Brenda won’t have had to walk up a static escalator, or pull a pushchair up the stairs. She won’t have seen the dingy, grim end of platforms where the 1980s access bridge hasn’t even been granted a clean down.

Someone once said that Royalty must think everywhere smells of fresh paint. In Birmingham tonight, on a late journey from home, the overpowering smell was more reminiscent of the farmyard.

Oh, and Phil – we do speak English. Chances are Shakespeare would sound more like our tongue than the fabricated received English of the Windsors (and spousal attachments).

October 21st – The ‘New’ New Street, theoretically and somewhat  risibly renamed ‘Grand Central’ wasn’t looking very new mid morning on this very wet autumn day. Leaks dripped through on to the concourse, the steps and platforms were slippery, and at the end of Platform 8 there was little sign of any of the multiple millions this misguided, lousy project has gobbled up with next to no improvement in passenger experience.

It’s about time Birmingham woke up and realised it’s new Emperor is stark bollock naked.

February 26th – Mind you, I say Birmingham is getting better at change, but… this is the real face of the ‘New’ New Street and the preposterously named ‘Grand Central’ project. This place constantly has leaks. Often when it hasn’t rained for days. To walk through the station now is to squelch through wet patches on concourses, platforms and passageways.

This cannot, in any shape or form, be a good sign.