BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘railway’

#365daysofbiking Pieces of the night

April 18th – I took a ride down the McLean Way – the cycleway that runs down the old South Staffordshire railway line through Brownhills, being converted by Brian Stringer and pals from Back the track.

From what was a rubbish filled cutting, I must say the volunteers have done very well. It’s a credit to them and their hard graft.

What I’m liking also is the work of the graffiti writers who ply their trade at night under the A5 bridge. There is some seriously impressive artwork down there.

It’s great to see such affection for the NHS too.

Clearly a very talented artist.

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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 Going green

March 10th – On a brighter evening, on a better day than the previous Sunday, I was returning home along the canal and passed the same Victorian former railway bridge I’d admired yesterday.

Unlike then, in the gloom and darkness of a bad day, today it looked green, fresh, uplifting and springlike. The narrowboat nearby gave the scene a jigsaw like quality and in that moment, the whole thing was beautiful and the problems of the world were miles away.

What a difference a day or so can make.

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#365daysofbiking Wet and quiet

March 8th – I pottered back down the canal to Brownhills. Thankfully, the toads seem to have disappeared, leaving behind wet, muddy and rather unpleasant towpaths.

The old railway bridge near Pelsall Road looked imposing and solid in the gloom.

One of the very few listed structures in Brownhills, it rots gently without the railway that once crossed it – now a cycling and walking trail called the McLean Way which is being created by (mainly elderly) volunteers and is a truly wonderful, community effort.

I guess we’ll never get the railway back – but McLean Way is certainly a great replacement.

In the wet and silence of a miserable Sunday night it was a warming thought.

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#365daysofbiking Tenacity

February 14th – Having missed a train at Blake Street station, I took refuge from the cold in the waiting room.

It’s perfectly neat, tidy and cleaned well: But it’s noticeable a visitor from outside is being allowed to come in from the cold.

I loved how this ivy frond  which looked healthy and seemed to be growing well has worked in through the window frame and climbed down the electric cable.

The tenacity of plants is fantastic.

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#365daysofbiking – Gaining gradually

February 13th – Food, sleep and love made me feel better, and heading home on a nicer and mercifully shorter day I took to the McLean Way that follows the old South Staffordshire Railway line from Ryders Hayes to Brownhills, for a change.

It really is a gorgeous route and when a bit drier I’ll use it loads more. The birdlife here is terrific, as is the relative solitude and peace.

A real gem.

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#365daysofbiking The ends of the day, ending

February 12th – Around 9pm at the far end of the same day. Bloxwich station.

I felt really tired, and can barely recal riding home. My stomach was uncomfortable and I needed home, tea and a hug.

But I’d done it, and I’m back up and at it. Things, like this train, were moving in the right direction.

I hate being ill.

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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 Listed

January 5th – I went for a spin up the McLean Way – the rail to trail cycleway that Brian Stringer and Back the Track have been reclaiming on the old South Staffordshire Railway line that runs through Brownhills.

It’s a bit muddy in places but easily rideable on a mountain or off-road bike. The mud is shallow, and sits mostly as a 3 inch layer on top a solid ballast base, so once you cut into in, it rides well.

On the whole it’s brilliant, it really is and a credit to all involved.

This aqueduct over the former railway conducts the Anglesey Branch Canal from it’s terminal feeder point at Chasewater to Ogley Junction. The bridge is a nationally listed building, considered almost unique in construction and style.

It’s in a sorry state, and I think the Canal and River Trust will have to do a fair bit of maintenance before too long.

But it’s a beautiful thing, and incredibly well thought out.

Unusual to see if from underneath.

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#365daysofbiking Post haste

January 1st – In the grey murk of an overcast, darkening evening, the McLean Way really is more rewarding than one would think: There are delights along it’s length from the A5 to Walsall, from hand made benches, to spectacular views and curios like the landmark restored signal post at Clayhanger Marsh.

For me, it always looks better on a grey day, the better to imagine locos hauling coal, rumbling through here, climbing to the peak by the rear of the Swan pub before coasting down to Lichfield.

There might have been a young boy on the Brownhills Bridge, waving to the driver and giggling at the ground shaking.

But that’s all in the past now, ond on a dull new years day, this is a great place to take a breather and remember what was lost, and what was found.

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