BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘railway’

#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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#365daysofbiking Semaphore

March 11th – A trip to Droitwich made a pleasant change.It’s not often I come out here these days – the younger folk in the team generally do it those jobs now, but sometimes I like to pay a call for the adventure of it.

Droitwich Station is interesting – the line here hints at a much busier past, with derelict sidings and a large signal box, but today the line is pretty sleepy and rural.

I’m interested to see that here, old mechanical semaphore signals are still in use, which always seem terrifically heath Robinson to me. They are a masterpiece of rods, wires, rollers and mechanical interlocking and it’s a wonder how they keep working so long.

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#365daysofbiking A sign of failure

 

February 25th – Telford station, Monday morning.

I notice we now have an ‘Official Procedure’ for when the lift on the new pedestrian bridge breaks down.

‘Complimentary’ taxis will run the stranded passengers from one side of the station to the other.

If you spend nine million pounds on a new bridge to fix disability access issues, then omit a ramp and replace it with an unreliable lift meaning punters can become stranded if it breaks – you have failed as a designer and actually made the problem you set out to solve worse.

This is an idiotic disgrace. Those that allowed this to happen should be ashamed.

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#365daysofbiking More to it than that

February 18th – Returning from a work trip to Stafford, I got off the train mid day at Coseley, to ride back to work. On the station platform there, there was a poster advertising cheap returns to … Coventry.

These three pictograms are apparently what the City of Coventry has to offer.

Well, the cathedral’s in a bit of a state, can’t find the penny farthing hire and as for nude women riding horses…

Can a city sue? Asking for a friend.

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