BIRMINGHAM SNOW HILL is at street level, 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: BL.|
Note that some trains continue on through Snow Hill along the Birmingham - Kidderminster route.
MOOR STREET is actually two stations. The modern station shown here
has a small modern tickets, toilets and waiting room complex on the Snow Hill platform, and a second waiting
room on the opposite platform. There is a passenger footbridge on railway territory, but although the adjacent
ramps have to go out to the street beyond, the distance added isn't very much. Trains west go immediately into
tunnels and emerge at Snow Hill Station. Wheels: BL.|
The original Moor Street terminus station is just alongside, below the drawn area. It is a listed building closed many years ago, but renovation was carried out with a partial reopening in June 2003. It was intended that the restored station would eventually serve as the Chiltern Railways Birmingham terminus, and it might also be used for steam excursions. Through trains to Snow Hill and Kidderminster continue to use the current station. The photo shows the Bull Ring peeking over the restored train shed. (Copyright (c) 2003, John Green, used with thanks). More pictures
BORDESLEY If there was an award for stations the railways didn't want
you to use, Bordesley would be in the finals. True, it's signed from each end of Coventry Road, but the
entrance itself is an anonymous dull grey iron bar gate halfway under the bridge, and even the noticeboard
alongside is reticent about its ownership. Inside the gate is a climb of 42 stairs (no lift) to an island
platform whose only adornment is a waiting room distinctly reminiscent of a coal bunker. In fairness, it will
give more protection than the flimsy bus shelters now so commonplace, but if the designer had only placed the
windows a foot or two lower, people could have watched for their trains without hanging off their fingertips.
No railway parking offered. Wheels: BL.|
Some time after our visit we were advised that only one train a day stops at Bordesley station, and this provides the minimum service needed to keep the station open. The reason it is still wanted is its proximity to Birmingham City Football Club. When the Blues are playing, additional trains stop at the station to enable passengers to get to St Andrews.
SMALL HEATH is just down from the Poets Corner roundabout on the
Smallheath Highway. The station is closed on Sundays, but even during the week the heavy boarding across its
street-facing windows could easily fool you into passing it. The ticket office sits astride the line on a
passenger overbridge, but only one island (for platforms 3/4) is now in use for normal traffic. The sole access
is approximately 30 steps down from ticket office to platform. The platform has no canopy, but if the bus
shelter (6 seats) is insufficient, there is roofing over the steps. The station entrance has a drop-off point
for 2-3 cars in a short bay, but there is no official parking. However, street parking may be possible nearby
in Armoury Road. Wheels: BS.|
TYSELEY ticket office sits on the platform bridge, hard against the Wharfdale Road overbridge. Tyseley retains most of its old-fashioned Great Western Railway charm with a comfort factor (like large canopied areas) that many modern stations lack. All the lamps are still gaslamp style, though actually electric. One reason for keeping it like this might be the proximity of the Tyseley railway preservation site, but other stations along the line also remain traditional. Most services run from platforms 3-4. 1-2 are apparently used mainly for specials. There was no lift when we visited, but one may have been introduced during renovation work. You might manage street parking a short walk away, but Wharfdale Road itself has only a tiny drop-off point in front of the station entrance. Wheels: BS.|
Tyseley is the splitting point for the Leamington Spa and the Stratford-Upon-Avon routes.
ACOCKS GREEN In common with other stations along this line, Acocks
Green formerly had two island platforms but now uses only one. In this case the redundant one has been
demolished and replaced by park-and-ride parking, but the stairs down from the overbridge ticket office have
been left in place to provide ready access from car park to platform. However, there are 34 steps and no lift.
The ticket office is original and the platform shelters are quite decent examples of the modern breed with
plenty of seating and perch-bars. The whole station looks clean, tidy and cared for. The station entrance is on
Yardley Road, but the parking is reached from Roberts Road and the linking streets have traffic calmers, so
hasten slowly. The parking area has a gauge frame to keep out commercial vehicles, and while it looks tight for
bigger cars, they should fit through. Wheels: BL.|
OLTON Olton station lies immediately behind Olton's Warwick Road
shopping area. It's well signed, although the mini-roundabout sign on Richmond Road can get hidden behind
summer greenery. There are two park-and-ride areas immediately opposite the station. A short attractively-tiled
tunnel takes you past the ticket office and under the first (redundant) island platform which is now buried
under a young forest. Then you have a choice of stairs or lift to the active platform and find a small waiting
room decked out with plants. More plants are in tubs along the platform, and as with Acocks Green, you get the
feeling that people care. Wheels: BL.|
WIDNEY MANOR This looks like commuter country, with a small station
but extensive park and ride areas on both sides of the line. The ticket office is on the Birmingham side of the
line and has the most inviting seats we've seen in a modern waiting room. But we did wonder if the waiting room
was big enough on rainy days, given the size of the car parks. There are short and shallow wheelchair ramps to
the ticket office, while the southbound platform is virtually level access. A standard overbridge links the two
platforms, but of course there is another route going under the railway bridge if you have to use it.
This northward view shows the kind of shelters offered, the gray video train information, and the steps-only overbridge which continues off the left of the picture across the forest of vegetation which has reclaimed the third platform. The right hand platform has been reduced and railed by the overbridge, and the parking is just out of sight to the right of it.
|HATTON station lies between Hatton (the place), and Shrewley, and can be reached along Station Road from the B4439. It is signed on ordinary road signs, not with separate railway signs. There is free parking for about 20 cars alongside platform 1. The Birmingham-Leamington Spa line runs between platforms 1 and 2, with the line to Stratford-upon-Avon branching off at this point and using platform 3. There are small but stout shelters in decent condition on both sides of the main line, each with perch|
WARWICK PARKWAY is on Old Budbrooke Road, off the A4177. The only
local parking is that provided by the railway - about 300 spaces, plus 8 disabled spaces close to the ticket
office. The whole station is new and hence very modern, though the luxury is confined to ground level: the
platforms are up on an embankment with two draughty shelters on each side. All have benches inside. (We've been
told that the reason for this minimalism is that the land was bought from an adjacent farm and the station
was only allowed to be built on the condition that it was camouflaged as best it could be. If this is true, then
passengers shivering in bleak weather will surely be reassured that they are suffering in a good cause.)|
The two platforms are linked by a tunnel at ground level, and the platforms are reached by lift or by about 45 steps. Near the station building is a bus stop for routes 74, 75 and 76. Between the two is an information point with a Warwick street map, a Chiltern Railways service plan, and an excellent Midlands/Southern England general routes and connections map. Wheels: BL.
LEAMINGTON SPA By current standards, Leamington Spa is a grand
station, though far from modern except by the ticket office. Its marble and white stone frontage and its
sweeping curved chrome door handles suggest the 1930s. Both platforms still boast their GWR waiting rooms, one
with a large snack bar, and much of the platform area is covered by traditional canopies and a fine array of bushes and flowers in tubs.|
LEAMINGTON SPA TO STRATFORD-UPON-AVON A link line runs between Leamington Spa and Stratford-upon-Avon, diverging from the northbound line from Leamington Spa at Hatton (see route plan and station notes above), calling at Claverdon and Bearley, then Wilmcote on the main Stratford line, then Stratford-upon-Avon itself. For clarity the four stations from Claverdon onwards are all listed here. There is also a link and a limited service between Lapworth and Stratford, again via Claverdon onwards.
As with Claverdon, Bearley is a double-track layout which has now been singled. The access road climbs up from the A3400
Stratford-upon-Avon road, with parking for a handful of cars along it. At the top of the road there is a possible parking
area, but it is not signed as
such. The road and platform are linked by a short but steep footpath with only a mesh fence for wheelchair
users to grab for support, so they'll probably need help. On the platform is a bus shelter with wooden seats
and a pay phone. The old station house still stands nearby, but is now in private ownership.
Wheels: LS. [rev 2007, photo 2007]|
WILMCOTE station is on Featherbed Lane, on the east road out of the
village towards the A3400 and passing Mary Ardenís house en route. This proximity is announced on the station
itself, which implies that tourism is a significant part of the stationís continued life, and also explains its
relatively good condition. The railway runs under the road, and there is a ramp down to the Birmingham
platform, but platform 2 (Stratford) can only be reached by the old Great Western Railway iron overbridge. The
Stratford platform has a traditional waiting room with a small canopy around it. The Birmingham platform has a
larger building with a canopy, but the platform-facing doors appeared to be sealed, giving the impression that
the building is now in private use. There are seats on both platforms, but no official parking.
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