December 4th - Circumstances appear to have dictated that sadly, these signs are now necessary at Blake Street Station. Sometimes, it comes to me that we live in a cold, hard world.
My thanks go out for the kind, patient and dedicated work of the Samaritans. Bless them all.
Nobody need suffer alone.
November 30th - A terrible day beset by daft problems, but mainly by a rather upset stomach. I shot out for a brief ride as I saw the sunset was so good, and caught the tail end of it. I headed up onto the old railway line at Clayhanger, and even climbed the old signal post for a decent shot. A fine atmospheric sunset, and the ride made me feel better, too.
November 21st - I returned to Shenstone quite late, and the night was fascinating here, too. I never tire of that station; it’s got no facilities whatsoever, but the atmosphere and architecture make it one of the most lovely stations in the Midlands.
I’m fascinated by the feeling of isolation here at night, the islands of light and the elegant perspective.
I was captivated, too by the chap waiting for his lift under the streetlight on the corner of the car park. A long range, grainy shot, but there’s something about it I can’t explain.
November 21st - In contrast to the day before, it was bright and sunny, but there was a keen wind and it was rather cold. A typical winter morning, in fact, and today it really did feel like the inexorable slide toward Christmas was underway.
Moor Street Station was as light, airy and beautiful as ever. The flower stall in the old wooden ticket booth caught my eye; such bright colours, untypical of the location and season. The effort the lady who runs it puts into her displays is admirable, and always joyous.
I adore Moor Street Station. It’s probably the best station I use, and it’s a credit to the staff that work there.
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.
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 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.
October 23rd - Back in Leicester for the day, and passing through South Wigston station, I stopped briefly to study my favourite bit of wild land, not expecting much to be showing well. How wrong I was. Cotoneaster, a yellow berry I don’t recognise, roses, rose hips, clover all made for a fine splash of colour. The cotoneasters were particularly impressive, and they’ll make a handsome winter feast for the blackbirds.
A fine end to yet another wet commute.
October 21st - It’s going to be a hard week. The Monday morning commute saw me heading to Birmingham in a rainstorm. Visibility was bad, and I abandoned the Chester Road and headed for Shenstone, as I didn’t feel comfortable in the spray and slime of the main road. When I got to Shenstone, I realised just how heavily it was raining. It rained too, on my way home; another fraught journey where I rediscovered the lack of traction on wet road markings and the fact that my jacket waterproofing seems to be failing.
The weather forecast doesn’t seem to be predicting much of an improvement. Oh well, at least it’s warm…
October 2nd - I parked the bike and popped into the gents at Moor Street Station for a pee.
It didn’t apply to me. I wasn’t wearing a dress.
September 24th - my love affair with Darlaston is decades old and shows no signs of abating. I adore the place, from the grimy industrial backstreets, to the quiet loveliness of Victoria Park. Here, half a century ago, trains thundered through this cutting serving the freight needs of the Black Country, but now, landscaped into a lovely open space, it makes for a nice traffic free ride away from some of the worst traffic of the town centre. In spring, this spot is lined with snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils.
I always liked that footbridge, too; it’s an inspired touch.
August 31st - Chasewater Railway is a hidden gem, enjoyed by folk who know Chasewater, but it isn’t widely known outside the area. Running on a short, preserved section of the Norton Line, it goes from the south shore of Chasewater at Brownhills West to Chasetown, near the rugby club. Not a huge distance, but a great ride with lots of interesting trains and rolling stock, all preserved and run by keen amateurs. Today, I raced this fine red locomotive along the causeway. It looked splendid, and was smoking well.
A fine thing indeed.
July 23rd -By the time of my return, the sun was shining hazily, and things seemed to be drying out a bit. It was still threatening, but the ride home was dry and uneventful. At Nuneaton, the light was interesting, and highlighted the exaggerated perspective of the railway and it’s architecture. I love the accentuated vanishing point, the repetition and recursion. The forest of overhead metalwork - every member in that mess of stanchion, gantry and wire does something.
For a quite simple idea, the railway is incredibly complex and deeply fascinating.
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.