Saturday, 25 May 2013

Small is Beautiful : Butlers Lane

The Station's one Great Asset ...
... was Joe. He lived (perhaps "worked" would be better?) in a hut on the up (to Bimingham) platform and he sold tickets and gave good advice. Joe was a keen railwayman and he would sell you a ticket from anywhere to anywhere and advise on the best deals. He would also tell you about any disruption to service or potential problems in the City centre. He was a mine of useful travel information. Alas, his hut is but a memory but its strong and secure foundations (?) can still be seen at the foot of the station steps.
Joe has long-since been replaced by a nice modern waiting area and ticket office ...
... opening for much, much shorter hours ...
... supplemented by an electronic Joe ...
... here being used by a visitor from the Bahamas! Whilst fbb has no evidence whatsoever, he very much doubts that the scope of travel information available now at Butlers Lane matches that given happily and patiently by Joe!

 Diesel units (from 1957 onwards) ...
... and many subsequent varieties thereof ... 
 ... begat electrics (from 1990) including some Network South East cast-offs ...
... but the line is now equipped by smart class 323 units.
The original diesel frequency of two trains an hour to Four Oaks and one extended to Lichfield has improved somewhat!
The Monday to Saturday timetable provides a train every 10 minutes from Four Oaks to Longbridge. Four of these six trains start from Lichfield (two an hour from Trent Valley) giving four trains an hour (spaced at 10 and 20 minutes) at lowly Butlers Lane. At the southern end of the Cross City line, two trains an hour continue to Redditch.

So who says the railways were better in the "good old days"?

Of course, remembering yesterday's picture of trainspotters eagerly brandishing their notebooks (see yesterday's blog - read again), Butlers Lane would not make an ideal base for today's ferroequinologists unless they were avid collectors of class 323 unit numbers.

But there is occasional variety. Cross Country Trains train can be diverted to avoid engineering work on their traditional route via Tamworth High Level ...
... and there are a couple of scheduled services that run non-top between Birmingham and Derby via the Lichfield Line.

Of course, over the years, various visits to the line would provide a goodly collection of logos and branding.

BR sausages:-
West Midlands PTE easy-to-understand:-
Centro's multi dimensional Calabi-Yau space manifold:-
And a return to something more akin to sanity with ...
... "n" for no trains today; "n" for normal service; "n" for nice station or, possibly ...
"n" for Network West Midlands

Not to be confused with ...
... which is a bus company owned by National Express. Which used to be West Midlands Travel.

 Next Bus Blog : Sunday 26th May 

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