Friday 14 June 2013

Some New New Street News [2]

Phase One : Complete (well, almost!)
To understand what has happened so far in the New Street station rebuilding scheme, we need a diagram which can be matched with the aerial view above.
The grey bits represent areas that are now closed off (permanently or otherwise) and inaccessible to passengers. The big chunk to the right is where the old taxi- and car-served access and concourse used to be. A line of dots and a little "walking man" icon shows the circuitous tramp now necessary to gain access if the unwary pedestrian were to arrive at the old entrance (far right).

Then, working from right to left, the first pink "slice" is the original passenger footway, currently unchanged in scope but bereft of any facilities.
We can now move to a larger diagram of the new bits that are open:-
From the old walkway (pake pink, right) we proceed through a "barrier" where, on fbb's recent visit, railway staff seemed to be ignoring everyone and making no real attempt to check tickets The next (pale) pink slice is now the main passenger concourse.
It runs from a brand new entrance on Stephenson Street (no ramp!) right across the platforms to a new entrance from Hill Street. Here are plenty of seats, refreshment areas ...
... the ubiquitous W H Smith (etc) and a commodious booking "office" ...
From here (and slicing further to the left) we cross another "barrier" with another set of staff largely ignoring the passing throng and move onto a brand new footway with equally spangly new escalators ...
... a repeat of the original footway but bigger and brighter.

Whilst regular users of the station may well have been able to cope with the changes, fbb has to confess to being thoroughly disorientated and befuddled. He needed his photographs (of which those in this blog are but a small selection), the diagrams, a darkened room and an ice-pack to unravel the revised environment.

Which way do I go?
These two panels are side by side in the main circulating area. No doubt it will all make sense when the whole job is completed. But for now, it's hard work!

This is from the "Bimingham Press" on-line newspaper:-
The biggest immediately resolvable problem however concerns signage, both for those arriving and departing. Signs are too small and often positioned at shoulder height, making them hard to read when a regular flow people move in front of them. One easy solution would be to put platform numbers above the stairwells to each platform. Sure there are numerous staff members around to assist customers, but most are fulfilling these duties temporarily, probably just while things bed in. More departure boards are also needed, including one at the aforementioned Navigation Street entrance, with large digital clocks placed alongside each of them, the absence of timepieces being particularly irritating.

So fbb is not the only one to feel a little disorientated?

This blog has concentrated on the much improved facilities within the passenger circulating areas; next we take a look outside and at the exciting (?) final plans.

Meanwhile, work proceeds at platform level ...
... and, for the moment at least, down there in the working bowels (what a disturbing thought), it remains a  gloomy, busy, noisy, smelly from the (diesel) engines' smoke and often crowded station.

 Next Rail Blog : Saturday 15th June 

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