BIRMINGHAM SNOW HILL is at street level on Colmore Row, with the entrance set well back under a green canopy. There is signing to a car park. Just inside the entrance is the access to the Metro terminus (stairs and lift, to the right) while the main station lies a further distance ahead, where there are toilets and a shop. Lifts and stairs go down to the three platform faces, and there are escalators up. The fourth platform face is the Metro approach track and is fenced off for safety, but there is a public flat crossing between the two stations. Trains are announced by overhead computer monitors which work well enough but seem to show engineering messages too frequently for passengers who might be trying urgently to locate the correct platform for their train - and even which train is currently expected. Trains east go immediately into tunnels and emerge at Moor Street Station. Wheels: BW.|
Note that some trains continue on through Snow Hill along the Birmingham - Stratford-Upon-Avon
or the Birmingham - Leamington Spa routes.
JEWELLERY QUARTER station lies in a cutting with the Metro (tramway) side-by-side with the railway. The ticket office is at street level and the foyer displays an attractive 3-D illustration of the nearby streets. A covered bridge leads to steps and lifts down to the railway platforms. The platform 2 lift can be used to reach the nearer Metro platform, and there is a flat crossing from there to the far Metro platform (platform 4). There are no park-and-ride facilities, and street parking is pay-and-display. Wheels: BW.
THE HAWTHORNS station lies in a cutting with the ticket office high on one side, and a public path on the other. A covered bridge between the two has lifts down to the two railway platforms. The adjacent Metro has no lifts, but the nearer Metro platform can be reached by one of the railway lifts, and there is a flat crossing from there to the far Metro platform. Park-and-ride facilities are close to the ticket office, entered from Halford's Lane. Wheels: BW.
Left: one of the Metro trams pauses at The Hawthorns joint railway and Metro station.
SMETHWICK GALTON BRIDGE is on three levels. The ticket office is at road level; the Kidderminster - Birmingham Snow Hill platforms are one level down; and the Wolverhampton - Birmingham New Street platforms lie crosswise underneath the Worcester line. All platforms are accessible by lift, but two different lifts are needed to get to platform 4 (trains from Wolverhampton towards Birmingham). The lifts are in modern brick towers built at the four corners of the bridge straddling the lower line, so there is a few yards walk between them. There is no station parking, but you may find local street parking. Wheels: BW.
Left: a view from the Birmingham New Street end shows the Kidderminster platforms passing crosswise over those for the Wolverhampton line at Galton Bridge. The two brick towers are the lifts between levels.
Smethwick Galton Bridge also serves the Birmingham-Wolverhampton line.
OLD HILL station has a passenger overbridge and a park-and-ride car park, but the only access is a climb of 20-odd steps and no alternative. In fairness, it would be expensive to put things right on this site, so if you do have a pram or mobility problems, head elsewhere if you can. Wheels: BW. (rev. 2007)
The Station is 5 minutes walk down Lower High Street from the town's shopping area. It has a busy level crossing at one end with no underpass, which can be a nuisance if you arrive late, and may hamper disabled access if you're on the wrong side of it. But this is the only flaw in a station that otherwise does its best to be pram and wheelchair-friendly. There is a passenger overbridge between the two platforms, the bus station is right outside the ticket office in Forge Lane, and next to that is a park-and-ride car park. Wheels: BW.
Above: A train heads north out of Cradley Heath, across the level crossing that can prevent disabled users getting to their train in time.
Lye from the footbridge. The sun-shadowed ticket office has the approach road and parking behind it, and the electronic train information screen is further along the platform. The road bridge, ramp and north-side shelter can also be seen.
|Stourbridge Junction is an old station under modern, widely enveloping canopies. So on a rainy Sunday when the waiting rooms are locked, the outside seats will still be dry and you'll be able to read the electronic train information in comfort. The ticket office is at the opposite side of the station from the large parking area provided, but connected across by the original underpass and steps to the platforms. The underpass even includes a list of local bus services and the nearest bus stops you can catch them at.|
HAGLEY station's southbound side is still very much the sturdy Great Western Railway station it was back in 1947, complete with a ticket office. A traditional GWR canopied passenger overbridge links to the northbound platform, but we saw no access for wheeled users. Still, we're pleased to see that its old shelter has been replaced by a modern open-fronted one since our last visit. There is parking in the station forecourt, and pedestrian travellers have a staircase down from the road overbridge on this side only. We didn't notice any signing from the main road, but the road name is a clue. Wheels: BW. (rev. 2008)
HARTLEBURY is just a short distance from the village centre, up Station Road. Road and rail meet at a level crossing, with the station on the right hand side. The Birmingham platform has a smooth approach from a free parking area for about 15-20 cars, though the land itself is on a slope. The other platform has a short ramp to the road by the level crossing. There is no overbridge. Both platforms have large bus shelters with perch-bar seating. The original station building is still present, but now belongs to a commercial company. Wheels: BW. (rev. 2008)
DROITWICH SPA station lies off the A38 at Union Lane. From there, there is a small amount of parking, plus Monday to Friday daytime (7.00am-7.00pm) use of the Salvation Army's adjacent car park. The access road then drops down to the ticket office, and the bottom end of the road is double-yellow-lined to protect dropping-off and turning room. The ticket office includes seating space, and further along the building is a small window selling sweets, etc. A bus shelter provides refuge and a few seats when the station building is closed.
The Worcester side of the station is separately reached from the adjacent Acre Lane which crosses the line to a tee-junction, with the left stub going down alongside the station, giving parking on both sides of the road. This side provides two more modern bus shelters, and there is a passenger overbridge from the Birmingham side. Both platforms are accessible by wheelchairs and prams, although the low kerb outside the Worcester platform is liable to be blocked by parked cars. Wheels: BW. (rev. 2007)
Northbound trains may also reach Birmingham via Aston Fields (Bromsgrove), Barnt Green and Birmingham New Street (on the Birmingham - Redditch & Worcester line). Click here to follow that route.
WORCESTER FOREGATE STREET The railway strides across the northern end of the town centre on a GWR crested viaduct over Foregate Street. The station entrance is at ground level, and there is also a travel centre. 48 steps take you up separate staircases to the two platforms above, and both have lifts. The lifts came recently to an awkward site, so the one to the north-side platform had to be sited in a little alley, reached from the main road. But it's there, it's signed, and it does the job.
Platform 1 has a cafe, there are waiting rooms, and most of the station is canopied for weather protection. Signs warn you that the two platforms are each bi-directional. Trains calling at Worcester Shrub Hill use one platform; those that don't will use the other. There is no official railway parking. Wheels: BW. (rev 2006)
Photo: view towards Hereford. The station buildings butt right up to the bridge over the street the station is named for - it's just visible beyond them.
As the two-level arrangement was complex (ok - a pain!) to illustrate in a single sketch you have the unusual benefit of a second sketch to show the street level arrangement.
Click here for Worcester to Birmingham via Bromsgrove
Click here for Worcester to Hereford
Click here for Worcester to Oxford
Shrub Hill retains a lot of the grandeur it had as a major station on the Paddington-Birmingham main line in steam days - most of it on platform 1 (right).
Click here for Worcester to Cheltenham and Bristol
Otherwise Shrub Hill has the same connections as Foregate Street above.
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