April 29th - In contrast, old British Rail. Where else would one find a springtime shadow like this? Tyseley may be down at heel, but it has a real, old-school charm.
April 16th - Today, passing through Tyseley, I noticed a work crew of lookouts and technicians were on the tracks as trains passed by slowly. I wondered what they were doing, and stopped to take a look. The one chap has a measuring gauge, and is checking carefully the distance between the rails around a set of points.
It never occurred to me that this was necessary, but once thought about, the geometry of the tracks must have to be perfect. It seems a whole industry of measuring equipment exists specially for the purposes of checking the tracks.
I love the way the guys work as a group - I saw five - with some being lookouts stationed with horns to warn those engaged in the task that a train may be coming.
he work practices of the railway fascinate me.
April 12th - Back in Brum for the day, and I loved it. I don’t mind commuting further afield at all - an enjoy it when the trains work OK - but it’s nice to be in Birmingham, my city is always a joy. Today started damp, and somehow I managed to just miss the rain all day. But every leg of my travel was threatened by dark, heavy cloud.
It was lovely, though. The skies were dramatic and photogenic, and the air of grim threat made my legs spin a tiny bit faster. But most of all, it was warm. I don’t think it reached ten degrees, but after recent weeks, the wind was warm. The air was warm. I cycled with an open jacket.
That’s what was lovely, even though the wind was against me all the way from Walsall.
March 25th - Today was actually rather beautiful. I skipped into Walsall on ice-free roads, zipping past lines of stationary traffic. It didn’t feel overly cold, although the wind at my back was bitter. As I reached Tyseley, the sky was blue and the sun was out.
Snow upon this urban landscape makes everything old new again. I love the way it picks out rooftops and reflects the goodness of the sun back to me.
March 18th - A day of misty light and skyline silhouettes. My journey this morning was shrouded in a thick fog of the variety that condensed into frost on my clothes and bike, yet once on the train to Birmingham, it was as clear as a bell and sunny by Four Oaks.
At Moor Street, the morning light was hazy and yellow. Digbeth looked beautiful as the train glided above it on the viaduct towards Small Heath.
I left work late, and caught the view from Tyseley as darkness was falling. Again, the light was lovely; the city skyline was enchanting, and the station remains fascinating in its faded, jaded, days-of-the-empire style. Down on the platform, as a high-speed intercity shot through, I really got the Late Night Feelings vibe again.
Jewels in an otherwise awful day.
15th March - After a couple of dry, largely sunny days, the rains returned. It rained on me on the way to work, and again as I travelled home. In Tyseley, what was a light shower became a downpour as I left Walsall; by Shelfield, I was soaked, it was still hammering it down, yet over to the north, the sky was clearing and the sun was out.
Commuting on a bike on days like these is hard - damned hard. The hardest bit of winter is often the endgame; this year’s is beginning to seem endless.
March 13th - Anyone know the number of a good plumber? On the southeastern side of Tyseley Station, there’s a train wash, where trains from the nearby depot are cleaned after daily service. When I passed this morning, there appeared to be something of a malfunction. Water (I assume it was water) was issuing from a pipe joint on the control cabin right onto the track.
Looks like a split pipe. I wonder how long it had been going on? It was fixed by my return, 7 hours later.
Mach 11th - A remarkable, and strange day. Periods of bright, clear sunshine interspersed with sudden, sharp and heavy snowstorms. They’d last for 15 minutes, then the sun would come out again. All the while, a bitter, biting wind came from the east. It really was viciously cold.
On the way home, I boarded a train at Tyseley in a blizzard, then ten minutes later cycled through Birmingham City Centre in bright sunshine. Coming home from Shenstone with the wind (thankfully) behind me, the sun was bright, but the sky to the easy was dark and threatening.
I sped home, hoping to avoid any oncoming snow - thankfully, the sky didn’t fulfil it’s promise.
An odd day to commute, and little sign of spring, although the light was gorgeous.
March 8th - There’s not much, photographically, you can do with a day like this, except record it as it was. For the second day running, it was wet and foggy. The traffic was still acting strange, and I was glad to get home. It’s not really cold, and the cycling was surprisingly good due to the still conditions - but the flat, grey outlook, devoid of decent light, is relentless.
Please, spring, come back! What on earth did I do to scare you off?
February 18th - It was a beautiful day, and one of the first of the year when, having started and finished work at a normal hour, I cycled home in the light, rather than darkness. This day is always momentous, for me, it symbolises the optimism of the opening out.
Despite the sunshine and beautiful light, it’s still winter. It was jolly cold on Tyseley station, but the light was nice, andI still love the air of faded grandeur the place presents. I like how, when looking down the platforms, the station buildings look precariously balanced over the rails beneath.
The old chap had nodded off, and his companion gently woke him as the train rolled in…
February 14th - Today was spring-like again. When I went to bed the night before, there was still snow on the ground. When I awoke, the snow had gone and we’d rebooted into spring again. An odd season, this.
As I dashed late from work, I noticed the sun over the city, and a decent sunset. Snatching a couple of quick shots, I dashed for my train.
The season’s wheel is really turning now; when I got back to Walsall, it was just about still light. I think there’s hope awhile yet…
February 12th - After a protracted and tortuous journey to Telord to undertake a five minute task, I needed to be in Tyseley that afternoon. The snow remained, and it was really quite cold and grey. A succession of delayed trains, grim light and relentless chilliness darkened my mood all day, so much so that when the time came to go home, I was glad.
I’ve been away from Tyseley for just over a week. I’ve really missed it. Looking from the Wharfdale Road bridge, I liked the snow on the terrace roofs stretching out beyond the railway to Camp Hill, whilst down on the platform, the railway signals twinkled in the mist.
Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day.
January 30th - The sun came out today, and it felt springlike, which I didn’t mind at all. I guess I’d been mourning the passing of the snow - at night, it makes the landscape light in a way that’s almost joyful, and when the thaw comes, it’s like being plunged back into darkness. I’d felt it keenly since Sunday; the weather has been bloody grim, and to turn out on a sunny morning - even with a wind crafted on Satan’s back step - was a joy to the heart.
I’ve actually found a ramp down to the Solihull platform at Moor Street, which I thought had been closed years ago. As I made my way to it today. I looked at the road system, and the buildings around. I can remember the old Bull Ring well, the network of 60s subways and overpasses. But I can’t place any of it, which I find sad. I know Manzoni Gardens was here somewhere, but…
Brum was also showing beautifully from the overbridge at Tyseley. With decent light, I could zoom right in, and I noticed something I’d not done before; before the mosque, and the shiny modernity of the city centre, there are rows of terrace roofs and chimneys in Small Heath and Sparkbrook. I found it fascinating.
January 24th - The thaw started today, just a little. Fragments of the day were almost spring-like, if one avoided the snow. The melting wasn’t dramatic, but it formed long, threatening Damacles daggers that hung ominously from gutters and eaves. By the time of the sunset, it was well below freezing once more. The sunset itself was beautiful and dramatic, and I caught it hurriedly, rushing for the train at Tyseley. Some times, it’s hard to beat a good, urban sundown.
I got to Brum about 4:45pm. And it was still light, more or less. We really are opening out now.
January 23rd - I think this is the worst cold snap I’ve known since the early 80s. Have to say, I’m loving it; the snow remains to some depth, even in the city, and I like the way it paints everything a new shade of different. As I arrived in Tyseley, it was snowing very heavily. For a few minutes, I stood on the platform in silence, just listening to the gentle susurration of large snowflakes hitting the canopy above my head. Magical.
The temptation this week has been not to go to the station at all, but just to cycle past it and explore, off into white…