BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘railway’

#365daysofbiking Waiting for a train

May 23rd – Spotted waiting for a train at Blake Street, an urbane puss undertaking some grroming duties whilst loafing on the platform like so many commuters do.

This utterly unfazed, handsome and elderly-looking cat just continued with the maintenance while a train came and went only pausing to scowl at me for daring to take his photo.

Long time since I met a railway station kitty. A pleasure to make this one’s acquaintance on such a lovely morning.

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#365daysofbiking Station approach

May 22nd – Something that’s mostly been happening beyond my notice although I pass through regularly is the rebuilding of Wolverhampton City Railway Station. All of a sudden I notice from a waiting train that steelwork has sprung up and hoardings have been erected at the north end of the old station.

I don’t get the hate for Wolves station. It’s a bland, semi-modernist, semi-brutalist station in the postwar style common in the midlands on the West Coast Main Line. Save for the signs, at Wolverhampton you could be in Stafford, Tamworth, Coventry. It’s light, it’s open, it’s dull but functional.

My only criticism really is the steep access bridge and weird separate bridge for lift access. But it works.

Now it seems we’re in for a new structure, with new facilities and it’ll be interesting to see how it develops. I hope it’s better in outlook and ambition than the risible New Street revamp, and also that it has more aforethought and usability than the monstrous, ill-conceived access bridge at Telford.

Frankly, I’m not optimistic.

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#365daysofbiking Money down the drain

April 24th – I returned in heavy rain in the afternoon to Telford Station.

Ten million pounds spaffed by Network Rail and Telford and Wrekin Council on a structure so poor that has no solution to rainwater control other than holes drilled in its deck. Water spouting down onto the platform below, flooding it’s own lift shaft.

The designers and commissioners of this fiasco should be ashamed.

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#365daysofbiking Primrose and proper

April 14th – Spotted on a morning errand, these primroses and scattered down the bank of the McClean Way, the cycle and walking route on the former South Staffordshire railway line through the heart of Brownhills, just below the Miner Island.

I remember as a child watching trains thunder through here full of coal, oil or cars. Now, the lines are lifted and after 30 years of decay, the wonderful Back the Track group led by human dynamo Brian Stringer have done an excellent job of reclaiming the permanent way for public use – and their hard work continues.

These primroses don’t seem much, but they’re a huge achievement. Take a bow, folks.

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#365daysofbiking Subterranean sunny station blue

March 28th – Always nice to get a glimpse of blue, sunny sky from the dark platforms at New Street Station in Birmingham.

Today I was waiting for a connection early, and although there were loads of trains, there weren’t seemingly too many people around. I killed time with a snack, and peered up out of the tangle of steel, concrete, wires and machinery to the surrounding architecture – always fascinating, always in transition.

And then beyond that to a blue sky – and even in this urban morass devoid of anything natural – the promise of a beautiful, sun-dappled spring.

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#365daysofbiking Slight return

March 22nd – Returning from Telford on an absolute bastard of a day, I couldn’t face the run from Walsall station and decided to get off the train at Bloxwich for a change.

Bloxwich railway station is functional – two platforms, two shelters, that’s it: A modern day, urban halt. But tonight, with stomach cramps and an aching head, it was good to arrive in fresh, cool air and look at my quiet, darkening surroundings and be thankful that I was nearing home.

I like this station, for all it’s dystopian desolation. Tonight, it felt like a homecoming, a return. The weekend ahead, peace and good company.

Sometimes, that’s all you need to make you feel better.

I made it home with the wind behind me in 22 minutes.

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#365daysofbiking Lip service

March 12th – I noticed a couple of weeks ago there seemed to be new bike parking at WalsalL Station, but only got around to investigating it this evening.

It’s in a curious, newly built compound off platform one, and isn’t like the secure hubs at other stations, which are lockable and really deter the casual thief. This is a decent enough stacking stand, with a tethered tool station nearby which is, I guess, a nice touch.

It clearly isn’t secure though, despite the claims it’s monitored by CCTV. A new looking bike lies in one station, stripped and trashed.

I’d rather leave my bike locked on Park Street – and the disclaimers are very off-putting too.

This is nothing more than lip service by West Midlands Trains, a company I’m rapidly coming to dislike.

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#365daysofbiking Feeling flush

 

 

March 11th – I had time to spare so hopped onto the restored canal at Droitwich for a mooch. Just under the railway bridges in the last entry, I noticed this relic of the Ordnance Survey.

Flush Bracket 480 is one of a range of such brackets intended as mapmaker’s datums, the slots in which were for mounting surveying equipment at a known datum – in this case 28.7490m above sea level (the Newlyn Datum).

Now redundant as cartographer’s aids, these are more a historical curiosity than anything else, but I still get a buzz from spotting them in the wild.

You can find out more about this one here.

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