#365daysofbiking Stationary traveller:
November 28th – Birmingham New Street, not long after dawn on a grey, wet, miserable winter morning.
Despite it’s faults, despite it’s awful turd-polishing in the Grand Central fiasco, despite it’s continual propensity to be host to disappointment and frustration, this subterranean station is in my heart and soul, and feels like home.
The lights, the people, even, no – especially the steel horse.
I love this city. I love this place. With all my heart. But often, it feels unrequited.
April 19th – Later that same day, I popped over to Telford. When I alighted from the train, I spotted this pair of old friends on the platform.
Just two old muckers off for a break together. As you do.
It made my day.
November 19th – In Lichfield, I had a request from fellow blogger @Bhillscommoner for some images of Lichfield, and was happy to oblige. Unlike my other recent photos, these were taken with the city busy and bustling, and I like the way the people appear as ghostly witness, indistinct to the solid, defined architecture around them.
Transients before the longer lasting.
April 25th – For the last time today, I passed through the concourse at Birmingham New Street Station. The next time I pass through here, the new one will be open and much will have changed. As far as I can tell, a new entryway and bridge has been constructed parallel to this one, and switchover should be interesting, to say the least.
I took photos at both ends of the commute- the stained cream walls, hard surfaces and harsh lighting always reminded me of the grimmest hospitals. The shape and flow was always odd, but I never hated this place like others did. Yes, it’s dirty, cramped and soulless, but it’s easy to navigate (compared to say, Bristol Temple Meads or Leeds), and is reasonably compact.
I guess new lifts will be nice, and the new cafes and shops – let’s not lose sight of the fact that what is being created here is not a new station, but a retail opportunity. The underbelly, the business end – grim, narrow, diesel-stinking platforms – will not improve, nor will the space on them.
You can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter. I remain sceptical, and for all it’s faults, I’ll miss the old New Street. Another part of young Bob dies with it’s passing.
August 23rd – Rust never sleeps. A couple of years after installation, Walsall Wood’s iron cutout people look dreadful, in my opinion. Had they been coated, or made from stainless steel, they would have worked a whole lot better, but the rusted, corroding versions just look like visually confusing scrap these days. The text milled into every figure is very hard to read now, as there’s no contrast due to the oxide.
A wasted opportunity. Walsall Council paid thousands of pounds in development funds for this. Surely a more enduring use of the cash could have been found.