We were planning to visit Crewe when the opportunity arose, but instead we found ourselves there one evening, literally through an accident. The entrance is on the middle of a bridge and has a very small taxi and set-down area, so there will be little time to linger. The area is level access, with the ticket office to your right as you enter. For such an important station, it may seem surprising that the booking office is closed in the later evening but for many passengers it will only be a journey interchange point. But there are machines near the entrance to sell you tickets to a large variety of destinations if you brought your credit/debit card.
|CREWE is one of the major interchange points on the railway system. And for a century it was the manufacturing heart of the largest railway company in the country. The yellow route diagram below shows its importance to the system.
From the left of the entrance, you reach the main platform overbridge, which is simpler than you expect: most of the platforms are additional limbs of the two main ones, 5 and 6, with platform 12 being the only separate one. This means that there are only three ways down to platform level (stairs and lifts are available), with platform 2 being the farthest walk. The platforms are also linked by a second passenger bridge (steps only) near the southern bays. Electronic screens display train arrivals and departures with voice announcement as well.
The station dates back to 1837 (though largely rebuilt as it expanded), and its architecture still stems from its great Victorian and Edwardian days. But there is fresh paint around and a good percentage of the platforms have canopy cover. The two large buildings provide indoor shelter in snack bars (closing at or shortly before 9.00 p.m. on weekdays), and there are also vending machines available for the unearthly hours. There is no parking immediately by the station, but if you go down off the plan below and turn right (i.e. northwards), the streets there lead to short and long-term parking including a 20 minute free parking area for the station (which has a £10 charge (in 2009) for late return). Wheels: all routes.
We have not yet visited Alsager, so these are notes drawn from third-party sources and should be checked before relying on them. Alsager station lies a short distance south of the main road across the town. It is apparently unstaffed, so there is no ticket office. It has two shelters, which suggests that the main building (on the Crewe platform) is not in public use, and its canopy may be the shelter referred to on that side. The station is easy access and apparently offers a small amount of parking. Wheels:
Kidsgrove is a Y-shaped station with the junction hard against the middle platform (2/3). The west (left) fork goes to Crewe, the right fork to Manchester (non-stop trains thunder through on this line, so take care), and the base of the Y is for Stoke-on-Trent. A stepped overbridge links the platforms, with no alternative access. There is level access to platform 1 only, at right in the photo, which is where the (1960s?) ticket office is. That is open early morning to mid-day, but not Sunday.
|This building has canopy shelter, there is what appears to be a small waiting room on platform 2/3 in the vee, and a small bus shelter on platform 4. Outside the ticket office, the car park has about 50 spaces including 3 disabled slots. Wheels: 1234.
The photo looks north from the base of the Y with the Crewe line curving away. The overbridge is the only access to platforms 2-4.
Not yet visited. Wheels: Not known but thought to be poor.
||STOKE-ON-TRENT station is a grand example of North Staffordshire
Railway architecture along its road frontage (if less inspiring on the platforms), and is a rare Midlands
survival of a traditional overall trainshed roof. There are two main line platform faces plus a bay
platform, and the passenger link is an underpass. Wheelchair users can get across the line using a lift to an
overbridge. Stoke-on-Trent has a full set of services - waiting rooms (including a separate
first class waiting room), food, newspapers, toilets, and so forth, though most are on the southbound
The entrance hall has been modernised within the old North Staffs shell, and is carefully observed by a
statue of Josiah Wedgwood directly across the street.
Apart from a small set-down area by the entrance, there is no station parking and very little street parking, though a pay-and-display area was being completed along the street when we visited. Alternatively, there is a taxi rank to the north of the station entrance.
Stoke also serves the Stoke-on-Trent to Derby and Nottingham line.
WEDGWOOD is a trestle-built station which exists essentially for the
Wedgwood china works nearby. The road access ("Welcome to Wedgwood") is from the unnumbered Barlaston-Trentham
road, and while there is no obvious obstruction to public use of the station, there is no public parking at
all. Also note that the road is longer than shown on the plan, and has speed bumps and a dead-slow blind bridge
hump. The station itself has ramps to the platforms from the adjacent level crossing, and large bus shelters on
the platform, but apart from timetables it has no other facilities. Wheels: BC.
BARLASTON station is at a level crossing on a rising slope by a
petrol station-cum-shop, a little over half a mile east of the A34 trunk road. The main building has been shut
down, so the features today are limited to a bench sheltered by an open-fronted brick shelter on the southbound
side, and an al fresco bench on the north side. Both platforms have ramp access from the level crossing.
Road traffic here is allowed to do 30mph, but this is a main line and through trains can do 90, so take note of
the warning lines on the platforms. Wheels: BC. |
Stone station lies in the north-western section of the town, and is
signed rather spasmodically. If you follow the central ring road signing that takes
||It's sad when architecture like this begins to decay. But businesses
must rid themselves of time- expired assets to stay viable.|
| you along Newcastle Street, be sure to turn right at Margaret Street (then left along
Station Road). Without that, you find yourself out on the A34. Just where Station Road meets a level crossing,
go left along Station Approach (unsigned). There is no railway car park, but the approach has room for at least
30 cars - and possibly double that. |
The station is set in a junction of routes, with its lovely old North Staffordshire Railway building going
derelict and now fenced off for renovation for non-railway use. This still gives canopy shelter to the
southbound platform though the platform is narrowed there by the fencing. A modern steel overbridge gets you to
the north platform (but not if you're wheelbound) where an open-fronted brick shelter gives perch-bar seating
for about 18 people, with standing room for more. The station does not serve the tracks that go through the
level crossing. There is no ticket office, and no other facilities. Wheels: BC.
NORTON BRIDGE station is a single island platform marooned in the
middle of the West Coast Main Line. If there are signs to the station, we didn't see them, but "Station Road"
is a reasonable hint, and failing that you can follow the wide cutting full of steel masts that support the
power supply for the trains. There is parking for about 15-20 cars, a train information board, and a steel and
concrete overbridge across to the platform. The only feature there is a substantially-built waiting
room with seats for about 12, plus standing room for maybe 20. The internal decor is tatty, and not helped at
all by dismal graffiti apparently written by retarded 6-year olds. Train service is at roughly 90 minute
intervals through the day. Access is difficult for prams and non-existent for wheelchair users.
STAFFORD station was probably rebuilt as part of the West Coast
electrification scheme in the early 1960s, and its challenging concrete just looks dingy and ugly now. That
apart, the station is well appointed with a bright concourse and ticket area, plus a travel centre,
newsagent and snack bar all to hand. Every platform has waiting rooms at the outer ends of each canopy and -
unusually - there are seats on the overbridge to watch the busy procession of trains in comfort (along with
a further waiting room over tracks 4 and 5). Stafford (the place) seems small to warrant this provision,
though the station obviously has heavy |
commuter use and may also be a transfer point. The overbridge is 32 steps up, and while it has no public lifts the goods lifts close by can be used with staff assistance. There are timetables, overhead monitors, station plans and local street plans dotted around the
station, but don't look for platform 2 - there isn't one. Outside there is pay and display parking at daily
rates (£6.00 in May 2007), plus a very small short-stay collection point. Nearby is an Arriva bus stop
serving several routes.|
Stafford also serves the Stafford to Rugby line via the Trent Valley.
PENKRIDGE Penkridge station lies just south of the village centre,
and is signed off the west side of the A449. Station Road (longer than shown in the sketch) is a tight access
because the station is attracting commuters but only has space for about 24 cars. The spill-over is therefore
clogging the narrow residential streets. The platforms are on an embankment, reached either by new ramps (using
a new underpass for the north side) or 21 steps alongside the closed station building. At first sight, the
half-gates down the ramp are to prevent runaway, but their frequency is a hindrance and makes it more likely
that it's an anti-skateboarding feature. Nevetheless, the station is far more accessible than it was even in
2002, though it's still pretty basic on seats and shelter - especially for northbound passengers.
WOLVERHAMPTON is one of the region's principal stations, located just
beyond the town's main bus station, and reached by its own road (Railway Drive) which also gives access to its
multi-storey car park (not free). In late summer 2004, a swish new platform (platform 4) was added to the station,
along with a new passenger overbridge at the north end of the station, with stairs and lifts serving all platforms.
This is a welcome addition but it's a long way to platform 4 if you cut your timing too tight. The old overbridge still
links platform 1 to 2 and 3.|
The old platform 4 has now become platform 6, and is a bay at the north end of platform 1, while platform 5 is a bay
at its south end. As with other long stations, some of the platforms are lettered 'a' and 'b' to allow two shorter trains
to stand at different points along the same platform face, so check the arrival/departure screens to ensure you're at
the right end. Wolverhampton's facilities include a cafe and a small newsagents, and substantial areas are canopied. [rev 2007]
Wolverhampton also serves the Walsall-Shrewsbury line. Click here to transfer to our guide for that line.
The photo shows the overbridge carrying Gough Road, the ramp down past the ticket office on the left to the platform and its modern waiting room. On the right platform is the ramp to Havacre Lane; the thin slash of light marks the steps, and beyond that is the canopied shelter.
COSELEY has its ticket office close to Gough Road, beside a long ramp down to Birmingham-bound trains. Wolverhampton trains are reached from Havacre Lane with steps and a zigzag ramp both available. The Gough Road overbridge links the two. Parking areas are provided in Havacre |
Lane, just past the Wolverhampton end of the station; and down from the ticket office, on the opposite side of Gough Road. The station is a short distance down the hill from Roseville on the Birmingham New Road, so it's not too far from the 125 and 126 bus services between Wolverhampton and Dudley/Birmingham. Routes 525 and 545 actually pass the station, but are less frequent. [rev 2009]
Tipton station is adjacent to the level crossing on St. Alexandra Road. Station access is from either side of the line by the crossing, and there is an underpass linking the two sides. The Wolverhampton platform has a ticket office. Park-and-ride parking is right beside the level crossing on the opposite side from the station, adjacent to the small town centre shoppers' car park. Be warned: motorists with local knowledge and any choice in the matter always avoid this busy level crossing - and many of the bus routes do as well.|
Wheels: BC. [rev 2009]
Dudley Port is a single island platform. Wolverhampton-bound trains normally arrive at the platform side which faces the nearby canal. The platform is reached by a subway from beside the ticket office, then steps up. There is lift, and the long sloping approach from the road may be a trial for the less athletic, but there are park-and-ride facilities. Note that the main road below the station (also called Dudley Port and linking Dudley to Great Bridge) is prone to traffic jams. The 74 bus runs on this road
and is a quick link to Dudley town centre (when not stuck in the jams, of course). Wheels: BC. [rev 2009]
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Only local services stop at the island platform, but main line trains thunder straight through, practically at your elbow. Automated train announcements give you warning, however, and you can see a long way down the track in both directions. The view also shows the train displays and the shelter over the staircase down to the underpass. Hidden beyond that is a reasonably protective bus shelter-style waiting room.
|SANDWELL & DUDLEY is the principal station between Wolverhampton
and Birmingham in the respect that it gets called on by long-distance as well as regional trains. The station is above road level beside a bridge over Bromford Road, about 10 minutes walk from Oldbury centre. It has a road-level underpass (with a street exit on the south side) with separate lifts and stairs to each platform and to the ticket office.|
plenty of bus services. Wheels: BC. [rev 2010]
|The ticket office is at half-height between road and rail, but it is approachable on the level by car, and the lift on that side stops at all three levels (and has three sets of doors, so pay attention!). The sizeable free main car park and the now well-used overspill car park on the opposite side of the approach road demonstrate the success of this relatively new station. There is a bus stop by the bridge, but no direct route to Dudley - and services get much thinner from 7.00 p.m. But Oldbury is only 2-3 bus-stops away with
Just gone 6.02 p.m. - dusk in March 2010 - as the photo catches a Walsall-bound train coming south into Sandwell & Dudley. Both platforms have proper waiting rooms (usually warm) and there are perforated metal benches outside for sunny days. Given the level of commuter traffic at this station, there is too little seating for waiting passengers, but the elevated site probably makes it difficult to add more. The square tower marks the lift for the southbound platform, and the ticket office and a tiny news and coffee cubicle are on the same side below the waiting room.
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
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.
The photo (from Birmingham New Street end) shows how the platforms for the
Kidderminster line pass crosswise over those for the Wolverhampton line at Galton Bridge. The two brick towers
house lifts between levels.
Click here to transfer to the Birmingham - Kidderminster line.
SMETHWICK ROLFE STREET lies at the point where Rolfe Street branches
off Tollhouse Way. The ticket office is at road level, to one side of the railway passing underneath. There are
steps only (no lifts) down to the platforms, and access to the far platform is from the public pavement, not
from the ticket office foyer. Rolfe Street has no park-and-ride facilities but limited street parking is
available. Wheels: BC.|
BIRMINGHAM NEW STREET has a full description page to itself here. When you've viewed it, click the Back button that you'll find at top or bottom of the page to return here. For simple convenience, however, this is our main plan. We've labelled the east and west ends, but trains can go in almost any direction from either end - and when under pressure, they do!
Please note: the notes and sketches are intended only to give a general impression, and should not be
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