BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘signals’

#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 I dream of wires

February 15th – I came back on the train via Birmingham and Walsall, and hit Walsall in a lovely blue half-light.

I love stations at night – a fact I’ve alluded to before – and Walsall, for all the criticism it gets – is actually quite fascinating at night. I love the exaggerated perspective, machinery and lights.

It’s not a bad place to come back to.

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#365daysofbiking Oddly empty

February 5th – Passing through Birmingham New Street Station on my way home, it was rush hour and the place was rammed, as usual.

Being a cyclist, I tend to hang out ant the periphery of the crowd, better to not get in the way.

I looked to my right as the train came in from my left, and realised that at peak time, the station had nobody visible and all the signals were on red.

A few seconds later, people appeared and broke the spell…

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April 4th – I’d had to call into Aldridge after working late and returned via Streets Corner. I noted that the old wall to the 60s shopping precinct on the corner had gone, and excavations were underway.

This is the preparatory work for the next stage of local junction improvements work which will see this entire junction remodelled with new signals, slip roads and crossings.

Peaceful now in the gathering dusk, but a summer of inconvenience and holdups for motorists seems to be on the cards…

Shire Oak has been massively improved, however, so it’ll be worth it in the end.

March 24th – One thing I am liking very much at the moment is the improvement works to the Shire Oak Junctions. At 8pm on a Saturday it was of course quiet, and the asphalt glistened in the light in the damp of a short, passed shower. But the new surface, more intelligent light operation and better lane markings have made a real difference, and queues along the A461 – particularly at peak times are significantly reduced.

When Streets Corner is also complete, I expect the difference will be really noticeable. 

Well done to all concerned.

December 14th – Having arrived at work, I discovered I was needed in Telford, so nothing for it, I headed for the train. At New Street, there were delays and confusion and the usual busy, frenetic chaos.

I stood at the end of the platform, wandering what I was doing there. Every signal light I could see was red.

Some days wear you out before you start.

November 9th – Passing through New Street on a drizzly, cold November evening, I caught the lights and signals of New Street mingling with the city skyline, centre stage the brilliant Brutalist gem, Alpha Tower.

One of the joys of winter is seeing this view, the signals, the reassurance of light, warmth, machinery safely in control and life above going on as normal.

Birmingham is glorious in it’s beauty sometimes.

November 30th – New Street again, but early morning feelings rather than late night ones. Seven in the morning, steady rain, not yet clear of the night before.

Something about the light, machinery, wet urban surfaces, overhead wires and signals spoke quietly of urban strength, reassurance, safety, control. Alpha Tower in the distance stood as a fixing to location.

My feelings towards this place are ambivalent these days. But this morning, on the darkest and most miserable of days, something beautiful happened and it took my breath away.

It’s what Birmingham does, and I suspect has always done.

November 19th – At the other end of a crowded journey, the barren beauty of Walsall Station at night from Platform 1. Vaguely brutal 70s red brick architecture, vanishing points, extreme perspective, lights, hard surfaces and a little rain.

It’s that late night feelings thing again.

You can keep your Grand Central new New Street. I’d rather have this, any day of the week.

October 28th – Last commute by train for a while hopefully, and the morning wasn’t the wet one predicted – in fact, it was warm, and although damp from the previous night’s rain, it was a pleasant ride.

I stood and looked for my train, and noted a northbound one in the opposite direction. The trains haven’t been too bad of late and I remain fascinated by the exaggerated perspective and complexity of the lines, overhead wires and general machinery of the rail system.

Today wasn’t the worst weather, but it made me think about just how resilient these systems are – the engineering shouldn’t be underestimated.