BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Station’

#365daysifbiking 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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#365daysifbiking Kind of blue

January 30th – I came back to Shenstone to a glass hard dusk: It was well past 5pm and the light hadn’t yet drained away leaving the sky to the west a beautiful deep blue.

It’s so good to see the lengthening day – soon sunset will be well past 5pm – and this means I’ll be entering the season of the commute sunset, which I always enjoy.

It the mean time, Shenstone again reminded me of what a wonderful place it is to come back to.

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#365daysifbiking Disasterous design

January 17th – It’s rare I’m negative about anything over much, but the new footbridge at Telford Station is an utter design failure and in my opinion, a fiasco.

Still very much unfinished, the build quality in places is very poor, the finish terrible and when I arrived mid morning, both lifts had failed.

With no lift on the westbound side, and the utter design failure of no ramp, I had to shoulder my bike and carry it up the steep steps.

The old bridge had no lifts – but ramps both sides. Although not good in a wheelchair, they at least were continuously available. If the westbound lift fails here now, wheelchair uses are stranded.

The situation is so bad there is now a hastily drawn up plan for calling for help if  the lift fails.

The powers that be have spent 10 million pounds to make the situation far, far worse for wheelchair users than it was before they started, ostensibly to improve things for them.

Telford and Wrekin Council and Network Rail should hang their heads in shame.

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#365daysofbiking The Crossing:

December 13th – A bright, glass hard, cold day saw me in Telford mid-morning, and in the week or two I haven’t been here, the new footbridge has opened.

Man, is it a curate’s egg.

First thing is, someone clearly booked the possessions and plant to remove the old bridge for a fixed date, and the new one had to open. Regardless. So it’s not in even a nearly finished state. Brick cladding is still being laid. The access ramp to the cycleway on the Priorslee side is still being built. Bits of it haven’t been surfaced properly or at all. Workmen still mingle with commuters. It’s a bloody mess if I’m honest.

The bridge itself is an interesting, open construction that’s light and airy. It makes the journey between platforms one hell of a lot shorter. The lifts are welcome. It feels stable and the thing seems to be a nice, rigid design.

But there’s a huge, massive, glaring issue.

There is no ramp access to the Shrewsbury side of the station. So wheelies and those not able to use steps are confined to the lift. If that isn’t working, someone alighting here from Brum or Wolves will be stranded on a platform next to a 6 lane road with no means to cross it. There is no simple way around.

I can’t overstate how bad this is if it’s the final design.

If the bridge does not eventually provide ramp access to the Shrewsbury platform, then it will have failed in its primary objective – to make life easier for those that found the old ramp too steep. The designers will have spent 10 million quid making the use of this station for those with limited mobility much more of a gamble.

I hope I’m wrong and a ramp is sorted. If not, the council and Network Rail really need to rethink this urgently.

The bridge is nice, but too reliant on lifts, and at the moment is very much unfinished. Open too soon, and at the moment, looking critically flawed.

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#365daysofbiking Into the madness:

November 28th – Telford, that evening, viewed from the Euston Way.

Telford looks best at night. The station is crowded due to a cancelled train. The train I’m expecting is late. This is not going to be fun.

The lights, the steel and glass, the pretentions to being internationalist, commercial, vital and a centre for financial business work best at night.

In reality, Telford is an industrial and commercial sprawl, but it ain’t all that.

But it could have been a contender.

Oh well, into the madness…

#365daysofbiking Stationary traveller:

November 28th – Birmingham New Street, not long after dawn on a grey, wet, miserable winter morning.

Despite it’s faults, despite it’s awful turd-polishing in the Grand Central fiasco, despite it’s continual propensity to be host to disappointment and frustration, this subterranean station is in my heart and soul, and feels like home.

The lights, the people, even, no – especially the steel horse.

I love this city. I love this place. With all my heart. But often, it feels unrequited.

#365daysofbiking Portal:

November 27th – Coming down from Priorslee in Telford along the cycleway to the station past nightfall.

The lighting here is still shrouded by the last remnants of the summer’s greenery and was changed at some point in the year for new LED fittings.

The combination of the much more specifically directional light and the tree overhang was some remarkable tonight that I had to stop and take a picture. 

This image hasn’t been doctored in anyway. 

#365daysofbiking Electric night:

November 26th – A quick shot passing through New Street station in the evening.

The skyline from here, considering how low you are from street level, is remarkable, and I love the way the machinery, lights, signals and surfaces mix.

A real late night feelings shot.

#365daysofbiking Either end:

November 19th – Working late in Redditch, I found myself waiting for the train homewards in a brightly lit, but sparse station, surrounded by the light of the Kingfisher Shopping Centre and bus station. It really is a most odd place at night. It barely feels like a station at all.

At the other end, leaving Blake Street and slogging up the Chester Road in unexpected rain was very hard, grim work.

I was just glad to get home tonight.