November 25th - Sorry, but it was a great sunset. I was late for my train, and took a short cut through an industrial park. As I cut through the access tunnel, the sun pulled me up short. In the winter days, light is short and precious, which is why I think the sunsets are so much more beautiful to me. Within ten days, I’ll miss the sunsets completely.
November 19th - Yesterday’s sunset was clearly unfinished business. Sorry for the repetition, but I do love this view. Tonight, there was less cloud, and more smog, which sat as a band over the distant city centre. I love the gradual colour transitions and trains, like a Hornby set in the dusk.
November 18th - I came out of work, and just caught the tail end of an incredible sunset over Tyseley station. I hurried caught these shots in the four or five minutes before my train arrived. It ws gorgeous, and I was glad I caught it.
November 14th - Now winter darkness is upon me, that Late Night Feelings thing is haunting me once again. I pitched up at Tyseley station this evening on the threshold between day and night, and all it took between the two was the journey downstairs to the platform.
The lights, the skyline, the signals. Bright, warming, steady, reassuring, control. The glistening, ever-crossing parabolas of the rails; the ever present shadow of the incinerator, innocuously operating unnoticed in the dry warm air of summer, but now with it’s dirty secrets revealed into the chill air in the form of a plume of steam.
Cityscape, geometry, light. Can’t stop the fascination, I really can’t.
October 30th - So, they do clean them occasionally. Alighting at Tyseley on a sunny autumn morning, I happened to look up the track to the train wash. I’ve never seen it in use before. Seems to be doing a good job - this 153 ‘Dogbox’ positively gleams. Bet the inside still smells of mould, though…
October 29th - A the risk of being repetitive, now we have cooler, drier weather, the sunsets are great. This was (again) the view from Tyseley this evening. I never tire of that view of central Birmingham - ever changing, yet changeless. Such a fine sky tonight, too.
October 28th - The shift from BST to GMT and the earlier fall of darkness is always depressing, but it did allow me to catch a great sunset sky over Birmingham on my way home tonight. The inclement weather had left the door open for the cold, and it felt like winter out there, cold, dark and intemperate.
Better get used to it quickly, I guess…
October 24th - In Tyseley, I left the station in the mid-morning, with a bright autumn sun cheering me up and making me feel positive rolling the past few days of rain, mud and wind. I stopped on the bridge in Wharfdale Road to look back up the line towards the city. I’ll nvere tire of that view over the rooftops of Small Heath and Bordesley.
The pall of smoke was from a steam locomotive under test at the rRailway Museum. I couldn’t see it from where I was, but I could hear it and it’s lovely steam whistle.
Setember 5th - Tyseley, about 6:30pm, heading for Darlaston. There was a soft sun, combining with city haze, smog and no wind. The shapes of the city looked gorgeous. I’d forgotten over the summer that it could look like this. I was tired - blitzed, to be honest - but this pulled me up short. I don’t think anyone else noticed.
I love this city. This place. This moment in time. The rooftops, spires, tower blocks, chimneys. It felt like the city was mine. It’s nice when that happens.
July 17th - Further up the road in less salubrious Tyseley, the incinerator that destroys Brum’s non-recyclable rubbish is still running flat out. A workmate said the other day that he hadn’t seen it running for weeks. I pointed out that you only see vapour from the flues in colder temperatures. The incineration is so thorough that very few visible particulates remain in the fumes generated.
The huge furnaces of the waste (sorry, ‘energy recovery’) plant overlook the lost gem of Hay Hall, hidden amongst warehouses and back-street lockups. This is why I love Birmingham: jarring contrasts around every corner.
July 16th - I noticed something today that’s puzzling me. I doubt many others have ever registered it, and even fewer probably care, but it appeals to my sense of lost history. I noticed today that Tyseley Station once had a lift, or at least, the evidence points to it.
I noticed some time ago there was a tower attached to the station building, contemporary with the rest of the structure, that had no apparent door or way in. It’s a few metres taller than the main building, and is about the size of a lift shaft, but there’s no evidence of it in the booking hall, where the tiles and fittings look original and undisturbed from new.
Down at track level on platforms 1 & 2, there is a low, bricked up doorway with a modern door built in. The platform island ramps down to it. It’s the only access to the tower I can see.
At pavement level, three sides of the tower are plain, and blank (the terracotta paint is covering graffiti, note the continuous texture of the brickwork underneath) - the other side of the tower can be seen in this image series from last week.
I do hope some passing railway buff can help with this. Was it a lift? If so, why? What did it convey? Who used it?
It’s an odd little mystery all of it’s own.
July 9th - One of the best things about sunny weather is it makes yo pay attention to shadows, and the way sunlight passes through things you might not ordinarily notice. Today, leaving Tyseley station, I noticed the supporting steelwork for the old glass canopy on the station front. There can be no doubt that when it was erected, this station was in a prosperous area, and was a grand affair. These days, the heavy, hand-wrought and hot riveted scrollwork is incongruous on a down at heel, suburban station.
It speaks of a better past, and is rather gorgeous.
June 12th - An awful commute from a weather point of view. The wind was dreadful in the morning, and the rain caught me on my return. I only took photos in Tyseley, in a rainstorm. Everything was wet; the station, the commuters, the trains. I felt miserable, and didn’t enjoy the journey at all - yet strangely, the Tyseley photos have an odd, lonely kind of charm.
It’s difficult to love the weather this week.
June 11th - Back in Tyseley, and a change in the weather; it was dark and overcast, but rather warm as I dashed to the station. The changeable weather was reflected in the view of Birmingham City Centre from the railway bridge. Patches of light, and dark, dark clouds, threatening rain. I love this view, and everything it contains; it is Birminghame for me. The train tracks, trees, transmission towers and pub clock, giving way to office block and skyscraper.
Birmingham is a patchwork.
June 6th - If you’re a cyclist, when summer comes - I mean, truly comes - you can feel it in everything and see it everywhere. It’s not just, or even sunshine; it’s not only warmth in the air. It’s the way people dress, the way commuters are at stations. It’s views that have been harsh, and clear and dark, suddenly being green and hazy. It’s the air of growth, and pollen and lazy meadows. It’s like a beautiful, vague infection that laces all it touches with languor and grace. It renders the ugly, beautiful. It makes dull journeys once more a delight. It’s joyful, and noisy, with birdsong, laughter and insect buzz, be it the riot of open countryside or the human din of an inner city street.
Welcome back, old friend. Stick around this year, you’re very welcome.