Friday, 20 September 2019

Sensible and Satisfactory : Sheffield to Solihull (2)

Stations between Leicester and Birmingham New Street aptly illustrate the nonsense of the UK's rail franchising system. The stations are operated either by East Midlands Railway or West Midlands Railway ...
... but trains from neither company call there. The only passenger services are operated by Arriva CrossCountry Trains! In another financially lucrative field day for the lawyers there must be reams of agreements and caveats sorting out who pays the bills and who gets the filthy lucre.

Just potty!
Coleshill Parkway is a "new station" opened 12 years ago on the site of its predecessor ...
... named just Coleshill, which closed in 1968.
The new facility is bigger and posher and is designed to attract motoring "commuters" from a wide area.
Buses call as well.
the fbb's train stopped but very few boarded or alighted - it may be busier at commuter times.

The old folks were aiming for Solihull and that would involve trekking from New Street Station to Moor Street Station, a journey fbb had never made sufficiently recently to be certain.

"No matter," though the misguided pensioner, "surely, as part of the rebuilding of New Street, a new walk route had been constructed to link the two."
And there it was, nailed spectacularly to the huge retaining wall on the north side of the tracks. It even had an appropriate name, Moor Street Link.
So fbb, accompanied by a bewildered Mrs, strode purposefully out of the station having ditifully followed the helpful signs.
Aiming tentatively northbound, he espied another sign on a pole ...
... which did not mention Moor Street at all. Bravely, but without indicative encouragement, the gruesome twosome toddled along the eponymous walkway.

At the end of the posh bit ...
... they were cordially thanked for using New Street Station and festooned with garlands as a small jazz combo serenaded their departing steps! (Part of the previous sentence is a lie!)

But there was not a single solitary sign guiding them to Moor Street. Should fbb and Mrs tackle the steps?
Remember, they each had a  case on little trundle wheels. I guess they would have gone that way ...
... and descended another set of steps at the far end ...
... had not a helpful Brummie advised a less arduous, but more frighteing route. "Cross the road," she said ...
... the road being the fairly terrifying Smallbrook Queensway / St Martins Queensway. There, across the road, was a dark and threatening walkway that looked as if it were once part of the road.
Other folk were promenading thus, so buoyed by safety in numbers, the fbbs persevered. It was step-free, it was level and it did, amazingly lead to Moor Street Station.
Moor Street is quite a charming, nay even quaint, station - at least it would be if it weren't almost hidden behind several hundred buses performing terrifying traffic manoeuvres!
The Brum locals seemed to know just when to start crossing, even on a red light; and none were actually killed or maimed as the fbbs watched and followed in fear and amazement.

But, exhausted physically and mentally, they just got there in time for their scheduled 1640 to Solihull.

Unfortunately the three car Class 172 was packed to the gunwales with half the academic population if the city ...
... but another wonderfully nice couple of locals offered their seats to the elderly couple who, no doubt, looked on the verge of some serious medical collapse!

But the shambles of this unmarked route is appalling. Surely even the cash-strapped Birmingham City Council could run to a few signs?

And it ISN'T all on line!

By comparison, Solihull was bliss. First call was to Newswave for sarnies and hula hoops, then ...
... all the fbbs had to do was to walk to the far end of the Bus Stands ...
... turn left along the little path ...
... at the far end of which was the B&B. And an early night!

 Next Variety Collection blog : Saturday 21st September 


  1. While as a fellow visitor I absolutely agree with signage on the Moor Street link (and like many others I've chosen the "dark and threatening walkway" rather than the route up and across the shopping centre), it is odd the lengths FBB has gone to (when revisiting this route using Google streetview) to crop out the slopes one can use instead of having to "tackle" the steps. At least four of the pictures used would show the gentle slopes available at either end if they hadn't been cropped so tightly. I appreciate it's entirely possible a weary traveller looking for signs might plausibly miss the unsigned slope at the start, but to go to so much effort to deny something exists when blogging when it clearly does is pretty shameful.

  2. No arguments over the "filthy lucre" at all: all tickets are subject to a percentage fee that goes to the seller, with the remainder going as revenue to the operator(s) in agreed proportions. Thus, SWR do not get all the money for every ticket that FBB has bought at Axminster. In fact, for the split ticketing example that the FBBs travelled northwards on, the revenue accrueing to Axminster would also have been less than if one ticket had been issued for the whole journey.

  3. Stations not operated by Cross Country Trains. The anomaly is due to Cross Country Trains not operating any stations. Thus they save a lot of money, by not having a stations department.

    The costings are the same as for any station served by another operator or like Birmingham New Street which is run by Network Rail; nothing special.