Supplement to e-BLN 1262 BLN Pictorial 6 August 2016
Ever on the lookout for something different, the recent opening of the new station at Bromsgrove has prompted BLNP to take a look at some new and
rebuilt stations. These come in all shapes and sizes, from very simple single platform branch line stations to the likes of London Bridge and Birmingham
New Street, where the rebuilding has been on a much grander scale. Members will want to judge the results for themselves - suffice it to say that you may
well find some more appealing than others! Two major continental project have been included, but it would be unfair to draw the conclusion that Liège
and Berlin have outclassed Birmingham and London - economic, political and geographic conditions are so different in the respective cities that no valid
comparison is really possible. It is, however, often interesting just to see how things are done 'over there'.
In line with recent issues, a click on the page number next to each caption will take you to the appropriate photo, and a click at the bottom left hand corner
will bring you back to the captions.
For those who were just starting to think 'he hasn't remembered' ... you'll find the answers to those clues in BLNP 1261 on pages 18, 19, 20 and 21.
4. The distinctive exterior of the new bicycle-themed Bromsgrove station's main building. This building is located a few metres to the north of the
former goods shed (now demolished) and some 300 metres southwest of the previous station. One correspondent reporting on his first visit remarks
on "Incredulous locals wondering what the £24M has been spent on". Another correspondent observes that "the ticket office building and bike
storage are circular to represent the wheels of a bike, and the tactile paving is supposed to represent both the frame and a person on the bike. You'd
probably not see it unless you're in a helicopter flying above ...". BLN Pictorial does not of course necessarily reflect the views of its editor or the
Society but is happy to help members wishing to form their own opinions and to that end suggests that those without a helicopter, but with Google
Earth, might like to search for 52°19'13.87" N 2°03'00.57" W therein! (David Guy)
5. London Midland DMU 170508 standing at platform 3 of the new station on 12 July 2016. Being in former Midland Railway territory, it is on the Down
line, i.e. heading south away from Derby. When electrification is completed in 2017 Bromsgrove will become the second southern terminus (Redditch
being the first) of the Cross City line from Lichfield. On the Right will be the new Platform 4 loop where track laying has now started . (David Guy)
6. Nearby Redditch was once a through station on the Midland line from Barnt Green to Ashchurch via Evesham. Already CP south of Redditch (CA south
of Alcester) from 1 October 1962, the line was CG south of Redditch 6 July 1964. Although slated for closure by Dr Beeching, local resistance kept it
open, albeit on a skeleton service of 4 trains per day, until 1980 when it became the southern terminus of the Cross-City line from Lichfield. Today the
line is electrified, with a new 3.2km 'dynamic loop', part of a £24.2M upgrade of the line, and has a 20 minute interval service - how times change. The
station has been relocated twice, making its way south from Clive Road, the terminus of the Redditch Railway opened on 19 September 1859, to the
site of today's bus station on 4 May 1868 when the Midland extended the line to Evesham, and then north on 7 February 1972 to the former goods
yard. This September 1962 picture shows a Lichfield-bound DMU at the station south of Bromsgrove Road, where the bus station now is.
7. After rebuilding and electrification, and the rapid expansion of Redditch following its designation as a New Town in 1964, this rather basic building
has to suffice to serve a town of over 80,000 people. (P L Chadwick [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons).
8. According to the Office of Rail and Road, Birmingham New Street was the country's busiest station outside London in 2014-15, with some 35.3 million
passenger entries and exits. Arguably, it's among the country's least loved major stations too, but it has recently received a £700M 'makeover'. Above
ground level, the changes have been impressive, with a quite dramatic frontage facing the Bull Ring Centre as compared with the drab 1960s
concrete fascia which it replaced, and a well lit central atrium which is a startling improvement on the previous, rather claustrophobic, shopping
centre and passenger circulating areas. (By Sunil060902 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons)
9. 'Below decks' at New Street the story is a different one. A big effort has been made to make the platforms lighter and more spacious and to improve
access, and this continues, with the process moving from north to south across the station and now nearing its end. But the station is still designated
for legal purposes as underground, and as this picture of the updated platform 3 on 22 October 2015 shows, it still isn't a particularly enticing
environment. It is also frequently used by diesel trains (Cross Country and Virgin Voyagers, Cross Country and London Midland class 170s, Arriva
Trains Wales class 158s, and others), with exhaust fumes often noticeable. (Picture by Sunil060902 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia
10. In the open air at Oxford Parkway the new station, currently the terminus for Chiltern services to Marylebone, looks very different from Bromsgrove -
whether its angular design is easier on the eye than Bromsgrove's 'bike' is another matter. (Picture by Sunil060902 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via
11. Further along the same route, Bicester Village, seen here on 20 December 2015, is very much on the same theme. (Picture by Geof Sheppard (Own
work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons)
12. By comparison, London Midland's recent rebuild of the former GWR station at Cosford, which exists primarily to serve the adjacent RAF engineering
training facility, is much more modest. Here 158826 is seen leaving the Down platform with a Birmingham-Shrewsbury train on 15 July 2015. The
buildings in the background belong to the RAF Museum, home to the National Cold War Exhibition. (Dave Cromarty)
13. Also on London Midland territory, a very similar style is evident at Coventry Arena station, which finally opened on 18 January 2016 after a lengthy
series of delays. Only single unit trains serve the station, resulting in its closure for an hour either side of major events at the arena. In a recent
development, however, Vivarail announced on 22 July 2016 that agreement had been reached to lease its prototype 3-car DMU, converted from
former London Underground D stock, for use on the Coventry-Nuneaton line starting later in 2016. (Photo by Sunil060902 (Own work) [CC BY-SA
4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)
14. The reopening of the former Waverley route as the Borders Railway, as far as Tweedbank, has been a notable success, with over 125,000 passengers
using the line in its first month after public services commenced on 6 October 2015. The terminus at Tweedbank, seen here with a class 158 arriving
from Edinburgh on 27 July 2016, will hopefully one day be an intermediate station en route to Carlisle. The train is entering the preferred platform 1,
platform 2, on the right, being much less frequently used. Tweedbank is in effect a suburb of the larger Galashiels (though the combined population
is little over 14,000), where a new bus station has been built across the road from the railway station, producing at least a semblance of the
'integrated transport' so often spoken of by former Deputy Prime Minister, Baron Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull. (Photo by G-13114 (Own work) [CC
BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons).
15. In 1992 'Construction News' reported : "British Rail plans to build a massive £50 million railway station in Birmingham Heartlands, about two miles
east of the city centre. InterCity trains, which currently stop at Birmingham New Street, will use the new station. International trains will also use the
Heartlands station after the opening of the Channel Tunnel. New Street station would be cut to just six platforms for use by local and inter-urban
trains." In Belgium, a provincial city, possessed of a particularly run down and dismal 1950s main station, did build a completely new one, though
unlike the Heartlands proposal, only a few metres east of the original. Opened on 18 September 2009, Liège Guillemins (temporarily adorned with
advertising material for a local event in this 27 April 2012 photo) was the result. (Dave Cromarty).
16. Another impressive Continental project was Berlin's Hauptbahnhof (main station), built in the city centre at the site of the former Lehrterbahnhof,
opened in 1868. Lehrterbahnhof was severely damaged in the Second World War and only partly repaired subsequently, being closed and
demolished over the period 1957-1959. The adjacent Lehrter Stadtbahnhof (roughly, suburban station) was retained, and indeed listed in 1987, but
eventually demolished in 2002 to make way for the new station. This was part of a grand plan conceived after the fall of the Berlin Wall and bearing
a certain resemblance to our own Thameslink and Crossrail concepts, in that the existing east-west main line dating from the late 19th century was
to be complemented by a north-south link at a lower level. During the Cold War, Lehrter Stadtbahnhof was at the eastern edge of West Berlin, close
to the Wall and not far from the Brandenburg Gate. The new station was fully opened on 28 May 2006 following a ceremony 2 days previously. Since
opening, development has continued, initially with a short Aldwych-style connecting line, U55, on the U-Bahn (underground) system opened on 8
August 2009. Perhaps Waterloo and City-style would be more apt, as currently rolling stock has to be craned to and from the line, though extension
is under way and a connection to line U5 is scheduled for completion in 2017. Tram lines M5 (14 December 2014) and M8 and M10 (29 August 2015)
have also now been extended to the Hauptbahnhof. (By User:Angr (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
17. We finish with interior views of Liège Guillemins (left, on 27 April 2012) and Berlin Hauptbahnhof (right, on 17 July 2006). The Berlin photograph
shows the complexity of the five levels of the station, looking south with the east-west lines at the top, the three levels of 'retail opportunities' in
between, and the north-south lines below. (Dave Cromarty).
Turning back to our 'puzzle' issue 1261, here are the station nameboards featured in that issue, with the operators' details on the Handforth boards
restored, the clues explained, and the mystery countries revealed...
1 : An operator saying 'non' to lower case.' The 2. It might connect two urban rail systems. 3. British Isles, but not UK. The obvious
lettering is upper case, and it's the French Urban rail system = Metro, and connect = link, candidate is Eire, and this is indeed Iarnród
operator, SNCF . so Metrolink. Éireann (Irish Rail)
4. Four Rail Bar - oh dear. Four rails, of course, 5. Arriva is the main Telford bus operator, and 6. Northern Ireland Railways (Translink) are
on much of London UndergrounD they're owned by Deutsche Bahn. joint operators of the 'Enterprise' service.
7. Not LU this time, but Merseyrail which also 8. The Barrow boy - bank robber Clyde Barrow. 9. The (driverless) Docklands Light Railway.
has a Northern Line. A wide valley - strath. So, Strathclyde.
10. Those stations are all on the Hong Kong 11. Back to Eire for the Dublin metro system, 12. Göd station is on the line from Budapest to
Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system. Luas (meaning 'Speed'). Vác, in Hungary.
13. This Hatton is in Sri Lanka, where tea 14. Westerham is on the Rosenheim- 15. The well-known Hell station is in Norway, on
remains a major crop, still marketed as Kreutzstrasse line in Bayern (Bavaria) in the Meråkerbanen line from Trondheim to
'Ceylon tea' rather than 'Sri Lanka tea'. southern Germany, where there was a head the Swedish border.
on collision on 9 February 2016.
Also from 'puzzle' issue 1261, here are the answers to Ian Delgado's 'milepost' clues : 2. I hear it's not known for late arrivals :
Earley - pronounced 'early', and not rhyming
1. John Balliol was awarded the crown with dearly.
on this very spot : Berwick-upon-
Tweed - the station was built on the 4. Stopping here may help you zero in on this
site of the Great Hall of Berwick Castle location : Haymarket - one of the increasing
where King Edward I of England in number of stations to have a platform zero.
1291 arbitrated between the
claimants for the Scottish throne. 6. You would almost kill to get this one :
Kilgetty - there aren't that many stations
3. Where the underground crosses over that are over 269 miles from their
the overground : Farringdon - the measuring point.
Metropolitan, Circle and
Hammersmith & City lines pass over
the Thameslink line as it dives into the
tunnel at the north end of the station.
5. Come here to go thither? : Hither Green - the
broken post on platform 4 and the walkway to the
depot behind the fencing will be familiar to many.
7. The DLR stops short of here : 8. Is the waiting passenger checking the
Plumstead - originally, the plan football results : Wembley Stadium - the
was to run the DLR to Chiltern station colours may have 'given
Plumstead; instead, Woolwich the game away'.
Arsenal was chosen as the
9. There's a racecourse in this 10. Déjà vu? : We've seen this station before.
town, as Kevin Atherton It's Haymarket again - the two mileposts are
would have you know : on platform 4 and mark the distances from
Wolverhampton. Dr. Kevin Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow
Atherton is the artist who respectively.
designed the horse
sculptures which can be
seen between here and
Birmingham, including the
one at the southern end of
Our thanks again to Ian Mortimer for the Handforth pictures and Ian Delgado for the milepost photos and his ingenious clues.
And finally - while we're on the subject of stations, what could possibly fit in that long thin space at the bottom of the page? Let's think now ...
(From a photo by Traveler100 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia)