BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Station’

#365daysofbiking Leaf it out

November 8th – Later, on the cycleways of Telford, IU was reminded of a seasonal hazard – greasy, wet fallen leaves.

When leaves lie on the ground and it rains, the action of wheels and feet mulches the whole lot into a slippery, soapy goop that can steal your wheels from under you and make stopping highly unpredictable, especially on a road bike.

I was reminded of this speeding downhill for the train. Thankfully, I didn’t come to any harm, but be careful, folks.

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#365daysofbiking Waiting for a train

October 31st – Some seasonal traditions are always more welcome than others.

One I hate to see but recurs every autumn is the half term failure of the rail system in Birngham and the Black Country.

No matter who seems to ‘run’ the local franchise – after all, we’ve had three operators now Central Trains, London Midland and West Midlands Railway – a combination of staff shortages and mechanical failures always makes for a miserable week on local rail with delayed trains and cancelled services. This week has been no exception and rail travel has been awful.

This evening I was coming from a meeting in Birmingham and needed to be in Shenstone before six. I was so suspicious of the services leaving New Street that I caught the earlier train that terminates at Four Oaks, resolving to catch the onward train if it was still on time behind.

This gave me a few minutes to appreciate the really lovely late night feelings vibe of this surprisingly large suburban station.

I love this places at night.

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#365daysofbiking Signal to noise

October 22nd – On my return that evening, I crested Kings Hill during a pink and blue sunset of the most striking kind, and grabbed a chance to catch another of my muses: The Kings Hill cellphone tower with the sky and lights of the Black Country behind.

Antenna, aerials, masts and suchlike have always fascinated me. I know how they work, yet they are still mysterious: Still yet powerful structures exchanging electromagnetic radiation with the atmosphere: Ever present, unchanging yet sinister and secretive.

And particularly beautiful against a sunset or dawn sky…

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#365daysofbiking Strange signals

September 19th – Returning to Bloxwich station, I alighted at the north end of the platform. Since the electrification of the Chase Line, I’ve been wondering about some aspects of the installation.

I note the metalwork of the light column near this signal control cabinet and the guard rail behind has been heavily insulated and screened. I’ve not seen that before. Wonder what’s in the cabinet that’s so dangerous?

The other columns are not insulated in the same way. Puzzling.

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#365daysofbiking A heritage of bridge-building?

August 9th – Back in Telford following morning rain, the new footbridge linking the railway station with the town centre seems to be confused about it’s role: is it a swimming pool or a ‘State of the art facility any town should be proud of’ as one fan of this bizarrely dysfunctional bit of civil engineering recently chided me on Twitter.

In recent weeks, someone has drilled holes in the bridge deck to drain the water. They just clog up and it still floods.

And besides, that water just swamps the platform below.

This bridge is an awful design and has no rainwater control measures whatsoever. And it cost 10 million quid.

Telford, your emperor is stark, bollock naked.

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#365daysofbiking Golden years

August 5th – I was at work in Birmingham, late. I came back on a Lichfield bound train at sunset, and stumbled out tired in a beautiful, quiet golden hour.

I’ve been riding this weary journey from work for years along Lynn Lane. Always the same story: Summertime, working late, fatigue. Climb the long, steep steps up from the platform at Shenstone carrying my bike. Look down the lane towards home and the setting sun. Become struck with the sheer beauty of the hour.

And for all those years, the joy of it, and the love for it never wanes.

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#365daysofbiking Across the rooftops

July 29th – I came back from New Street to Shenstone, a run I do less these days since the Chase Line upgrade made those trains comparatively less crowded.

I forgot how much I love coming home through Shenstone, a great station to start and end any journey from.

I note that of the twin towers of St Johns, only the modern Gothic horror is visible above the rooftops; the older, earlier tower – the last remnants of a more handsome church – is shrouded by trees as is usual in summer.

I guess I’ll have to wait until autumn to see the twin towers again.

I’ve always adored this view in summer or winter…

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#365daysofbiking Late night feelings

July 26th – All hell broke loose in the afternoon. I had to travel out to investigate an unexpected job. I returned at near enough 11pm by train to Bloxwich.

The night was warm, and the train and station quiet.

I prepared the bike and looked down the line. I was tired, no, worse than that, exhausted. But stood there  in the LED light, feeling the night air and listening to – well, nothing – I felt I was near home.

For the first time since last winter, I had those late night feelings again.

What is it with me and railway stations at night?

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#365daysofbiking Exorcising ghosts

July 7th – The sunset was the culmination of a glorious golden hour.

Birmingham and Aston shone and shimmered in the gathering dusk.

A train caught the sky and was golden: Britannia fought a pitched battle on the former hotel roof with the TV antennas. The skylines and canal spoke of quiet dignity, worship and daily life.

I spent many hours as a young man in these streets, on the canals and at this station. The ghosts that haunt me here are not scary, or hostile, but warm and comfortable like enveloping sheets of memory.

My place, my past, present and future.

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