BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘public transport’

#365daysofbiking Hard days

Monday January 18th 2021 – I’d had to go a long way for work. It was tough. I left early and called in to Birmingham on my way back to collect my bike which had been left in safe keeping for my return at a nearby work site, the better to avoid commuter trains.

It was around 6pm, and the city I’ve always loved, my home, my heart – was dead. After a day of travelling, empty stations, closed cafes and lonely trains, a deserted, almost post-apocalyptic Birmingham was very nearly the straw that broke me.

There were people about. People who were fearful of contact and closeness of others – understandably. I was like that too. Masked, hostile people.

Trams and buses swept past, nearly empty each one.

But then I stopped, and I looked: The lights were the same, the wet sheen on the tarmac. This is still my place. It’s still beautiful – if now more eerily so in it’s sparseness – but it will return. The spirit lives on. We’re just in hard days.

I did what I always do – got on my bike and rode home.

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#365daysofbiking Dead quiet

March 18th – Every day the streets are a little bit more dead. People are wary of each other. Public transport is emptier and emptier as worried people abandon their journeys and work from home.

I had to go to Telford.

I’m using sanitiser, obeying instructions. New Street and the train services I caught were eerily quiet.

This is a momentous time, yet it feels like it’s arriving by stealth. While everyone is… Out.

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#365daysofbiking Classical gas

March 5th – The BOC plant in Wolverhampton isn’t the most photogenic of things  but it certainly seems interesting as I grabbed this sunset from a moving train on the way home.

The huge yard with thousands of canisters and metal bottles supplies industrial gases for everything from brewing to welding. It is massive, and a bit otherworldly if I’m honest.

The sunset looked gorgeous and mat a mundane, industrial thing appear like something from a science fiction film.

You don’t get that every day!

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#365daysofbiking A late arrival

January 14th – A grim, mostly wet journey to Telford and an even wetter one coming home that really wasn’t conducive to photography.

One thing I did notice in the morning though was that after about two years of being out of order, the information display on the Birmingham bound platform of Blake Street Station is finally working again.

Excuse upon excuse was made, with vvarious parties blaming each other yet nothing seemed to get fixed. Occasionally someone would clearly have a go, as the garbage the screen displayed would change, or it would throw up network status mesages.

At long last, due to the late arrival of the display, we can now see how late the arrival of the train is.

I suppose this is progress, of a sort…

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#365daysofbiking Station to station:

October 9th – I’m curious about long term plans for Telford Station. At the moment, it’s a bit player in the huge new linkway bridge project, but for an interchange serving such a large area it’s a fairly poor facility: Just two platforms, a booking office with short opening hours and a couple of waiting rooms. 

There are just two trains an hour in each direction, 15 and 45 minutes apart which is a bugger if you miss the one and have a 45 minute wait.

The peak time trains are fiendishly busy and Telford doesn’t get a fair crack of the whip here at all.

This was destined to change with the introduction of the new timetable in Autumn with a ramping up to three services and hour with an extra, welcome, stopper: However with the Chase Line electrification not completed, the rolling stock is not yet available and the change has been postponed until 2019.

For such a large, economically powerful town Telford’s railway provision is pretty poor.

January 6th – I was caught in a sudden shower at Blake Street, and it formed an almost imperceptible rainbow and the sun shone throughout. It was happenstance that I found myself on Moor Street just as another shower ended. In both instances, I caught trains arriving. 

The train service has been lousy of late, and doesn’t look like getting any better. I know the weather’s been bad, and I wouldn’t complain if that were the cause. London Midland still seem to be suffering from preventable problems – train failures, crew shortages. I’ve only been back three days and have only caught a couple of trains on time.

My return journey from Birmingham this evening was cancelled. It made for a horrid journey home.

Every year the prices go up, we get the wearily ‘maintaining high service’ line; it’s rubbish, it really is.