Author Topic: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed  (Read 12642 times)

Pancho

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I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« on: April 26, 2013, 05:06:34 pm »
I've not had to travel up North recently so haven't been to Birmingham since Australia played a few years back - so hadn't realised that the ghastly station is in the process of being replaced.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-22311215

Anyone seen it?

I believe I met Basil in the old one once.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2013, 05:33:32 pm »
I've been following with a usual level of disinterest, knowing that:

a) They can't change anything railway-related due to grandfathered safety standards.  There's always going to be last-minute changes and the platforms are always going to be cramped and stink of diesel fumes.  We call it Mordor Central for a reason.
b) The standard Birmingham culture of 'improving' things by building yet more identikit Retail Opportunities next to the old ones.
c) The architecture of the new entrance itself looks like a weird hybrid of the Bullring, that giant urinal outside Sheffield station and Peterborough bus station.
d) The plans to upgrade the cycle parking from the current 20 wheelbenders include parking for either 300, 160, 3000 or zero bikes, depending on who you ask.  It's definitely zero in the short term, though, as the parts haven't arrived.
e) Whatever they do, it's still going to be surrounded by Birmingham on all sides.

Consequently, while I accept that refurbishing was undoubtedly necessary, my realistic hopes for improvement are limited to better lighting and slightly higher-throughput lifts than the current efforts.


Birmingham is currently plastered with signs announcing that the old main entrance (from Smallbrook Queensway) is closing on the 28th April, while the new entrance on Stephenson Street opens.  I went for a wander round the site yesterday, to determine the new pedestrian route from Moor Street station.  It appears that there's going to be an as-yet unopened walkway round the back of the Odeon, which is a marginal improvement on a lengthy detour via New Street itself.  I also note that Stephenson Street itself is relatively cramped and overlooked. I'm anticipating that the new entrance will therefore become packed with loitering smokers (and possibly people waiting for buses?), with all the unpleasantness that entails.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Basil

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Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2013, 05:36:09 pm »
Gosh, Mr. Notresponding.  That was a few years ago.

The new bit doesn't open until next week, so not much to see yet.

I'm not getting too excited.
Quote from: Kim
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Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2013, 05:54:30 pm »
Last time I was there I followed the signs to my platform along a temporary corridor. When I got there all the signs pointed back the way I had just come.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Basil

  • Um....err......oh bugger!
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Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2013, 06:16:28 pm »
That's just a cunning plan we have to keep rif-raf away.  ;-)
Quote from: Kim
And remember that friends who organise things on Facebook aren't proper friends anyway.

Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2013, 06:29:06 pm »
I'e been there a bit recently, on my way to a bit of work at Five Ways.

Some young people in T-shirts were handing out leaflets. I asked a question - "I don't work for Network Rail, I just give these out"

I suggested that some sort of training programme to help the Network Rail "staff" at the station help the public more during the moves could be useful. "You need to go to customer services if you want to complain". "I don't want to complain, I want to suggest that there are things that could be done to help people find their way around"

"You need to see customer services"

So I went to customer services. "It isn't our job to talk about customer service" !!

"Anyway, our staff aren't there to be helpful, they are only there to despatch trains - they aren't supposed to help people" (I had noticed that much)

"But why do other stations have helpful staff?" - "We have too many trains here, we can't help people , we're too busy".

Will the refurb make a difference - what do you all think?

Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2013, 07:29:30 pm »

Will the refurb make a difference - what do you all think?

Doubt it. We are talking Brumigham, after all.

Second City ?

My arse.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2013, 07:30:39 pm »
Second City ?

As in "factory seconds"
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2013, 08:08:42 pm »
That's just a cunning plan we have to keep rif-raf away.  ;-)

It worked.


...until Monday  >:(
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2013, 08:13:13 pm »
I have to use Mordor Central next weekend to get to that London far too early in the morning.

This should be fun.

It's right up there on the crap stations list, but it used to have a canopy roof and not be in a hole in the ground





I found these here >> http://www.photobydjnorton.com/NewStreetStation.html
Somewhat of a professional tea drinker.


Regulator

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Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2013, 07:23:14 am »
Having 'experienced' it yesterday I was massively underwhelmed.   The signage is not very effective for the visually impaired, the design can confuse as to where you are, the indirectly-lit frigate grey colour scheme feels claustrophobic even with modest crowds and the really potentially very useful touchcreen info system fed us mis-information resulting in a 1 hour curry diversion in Coventry yesterday evening.

Fortunately, the curry was in fact excellent!  :)

Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2013, 08:18:06 am »
Second City ?

As in "factory seconds"

Number Two?

While I will admit our railway station is rubbish, well one of them is rubbish anyway the rest of the city is really good and often underestimated.

And I mean that seriously, I wouldn't have stayed here for 16 years if it wasn't, much better than some of the other concrete hell holes claiming to be the second city.
Somewhat of a professional tea drinker.


Jaded

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Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2013, 08:28:09 am »
I'm there right now. Luckily still in a carriage. Next to the black horse.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2013, 06:35:07 pm »
Having 'experienced' it yesterday I was massively underwhelmed.   The signage is not very effective for the visually impaired, the design can confuse as to where you are, the indirectly-lit frigate grey colour scheme feels claustrophobic even with modest crowds and the really potentially very useful touchcreen info system fed us mis-information resulting in a 1 hour curry diversion in Coventry yesterday evening.

Barakta was similarly scathing about it.  Rower40 was quietly optimistic about something called "natural light", which I assume means that of the fires of Mt Doom.  I'll try to get down there later in the week and form my own opinion.

I expect they'll fix the curry-related bugs in the information system in due course, but the rest is probably doomed.


On the other hand:

Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2013, 06:55:08 pm »
As Barakta will have no doubt told you a billion times, what an able-bodied person thinks is great for a disabled person and what a disabled person thinks are almost always worlds apart.

I recall reviewing disabled facilities for HMPS at one of their local establishments.   There was a disabled loo.   The 'room' was barely wide enough or long enough for a wheelchair so the door opened outwards.   Trouble is, once inside you could not turn around at all and thus could not close the door, nor could you get out of your chair and onto the loo easily.   If you did manage this then you invariably could not reach paper, flush, sink nor soap.   I finally got it through to the idiot who approved it by asking them to sit in a wheelchaiir and try the place out.

Even though he reluctantly agreed with my observations he said that people in wheelchairs are used to a little difficulty so perhaps they could manage anyway.   :facepalm:

The most galling factor in all of this was a women's loo with excessive numbers of cubicles and a huge open central area right next door to this cubby hole.   The reason this was galling is that it was a male prison.    Yes, there were female staff but they didn't need all those facilities.   They could have danced around their handbags in there.


Jaded

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  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2013, 05:26:36 pm »
I ventured upstairs today, whilst I was waiting for a connection. I felt like a mole that went underground in Autumn and has just surfaced in Spring.

Still, the good thing about BNS is that either just after (or as in right now, just before) I see the T junction at the end of the tunnel.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2013, 07:39:04 pm »
Similarly to Polarbear I found the NewMordor REALLY confusing to navigate, it was all wide open spaces and crowds with $Commercial-Opportunities around the side.  I was most pissed off at the increased distance one has to walk from platforms to bus stops - easily 3-5x my usual walk inside Mordor and enough to make it painful and difficult for me.  My mobility impairment is minor, I can do 2km a day on average but add crowds and visual stress hell to that mix and you probably turn it to 200m max without fucking up my balance. 

I am sure there was a better way I could have gone, but THAT was so unobvious that I think it proves my point.  WHY are the entrances not near a cashpoint (which I needed to get cash for a taxi to the MAC) and WHY are the bus stops MIIIILES (well ok some significant number of hundreds of metres vs 100-150m) from the entrances.  I don't give a flying fuck about trams which won't go where I want if they're meaning the form of transport poor people use isn't accessible.  I saw at least one disgruntled crutches user mobilising the distance from bus stops to newEntrance.

They were giving out maps and there were staff but I couldn't understand any of them cos they were too Brummie.  I'm not good at all with strangers in noisy environments and many of them didn't know more than "go that way" or "over there" so no idea where cashpoints were.

I need to go back at a quieter time and when I'm not running late and stressed and see if it's less vile but I suspect it's going to end up like Man Picc being a visual processing hideousness which is maddening.  Acoustics are probably horrendous as well.  >:( to modern "light" "airy" architecture cos that basically means no sightlines and too much bright light and bling error.


The staff I spoke to and said "This is 4x further to walk, this is a problem" didn't get it.  I'm supposed to not mind.  It may mean I can't use Mordor properly, or have to use a bus to get to Selly Oak THEN go to Mordor but that's probably just as much walking which on some days I can't do. 

Euan Uzami

Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2013, 09:24:11 pm »
have they took all those mdf/plasterboard walls down yet?

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2013, 09:37:26 pm »
No, there's more of em in different places.  Most platforms are 50% MDF walls so they're too crowded too :(

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2013, 11:01:55 pm »
Yes, but there are nice suspended lights that disappear into the aforementioned ceilings...
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2013, 08:50:32 am »

When the upgrades to New Street where first mooted I had hoped this would mean they were going to nuke the retail opportunities from orbit and turn it into a proper station. Like with natural light, and platforms that didn't involve millions of stairs lifts and escalators.

Apparently what network rail have done is cover the same crappy building with a load of cladding and shuffled stuff around a bit.  It's still a hole in a hole.

I'd much rather get a train from Moor Street.
Somewhat of a professional tea drinker.


Kim

  • Timelord
Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2013, 01:43:10 pm »
Indeed.  The only real improvement so far seems to be in the form of new lifts (which don't do that silly subway contention thing) and escalators.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2013, 06:44:37 pm »
Okay, I finally made it down there this afternoon for a wander around (at least of the bits outside the ticket barriers - you can no longer bypass them by using the lifts).

Entered via the drop-off area ramp on Hill Street.  This seems like reasonably functional car access for the purpose, with plenty of disabled bays.  There's also a short-stay car park that I didn't explore.  The signs lead you through a plasterboard tunnel and a set of fire doors to the main station foyer.

The Initial impression is that it's clean and grey, indirectly lit in a way that seems both bright and dim simultaneously.  I saw two wireless (they had big aerials hanging out the back) cash machines immediately next to the entrance (barakta had trouble finding one last week).  There's a left luggage, a Network Rail reception desk, a proto-Starbucks and a nice big set of departure screens as per the previous incarnation.  A bit further down is the new ticket area (several desks and an abundance of machines, and another 6 cash machines), then a big confusing central atrium area with paths heading in all four directions (left to the new platform access area, right to the old one), and escalators leading upwards to the Pallasades.  I can see how PB and barakta had trouble here - all you can really see at this point is grey, crowds and the prominent shopfronts of Boots and WHSmith.  A conspicuous lack of signage just where you need it, and plenty of people changing direction and standing around looking confused.

As I didn't have a ticket, I carried on towards the new entrance on Stephenson street.  This leads up a gentle slope, with signs pointing to 'Moor Street and Buses'.  There were a couple more ticket machines this side, but no ATMs.  At the top of the slope, a set of shopping-centre-style doors lead onto Stephenson Street, with the walkway (more in a minute) on the right.  I turned left here, and walked past a long row of closed doors to the new entrance area.  This was light and airy, and contained ...some stairs to the car park.  Exiting onto Stephenson Street, I retraced my path on the outside of the building, through what I correctly anticipated to be a crowd of loitering smokers.  It has a murky 'bus station' feel to it, but no actual bus stops.

Signs pointed to Moor Street station, along the newly opened walkway that passes around the back of the Odeon, parallel to New Street.  The under-cover part of the walkway acts as a wind-tunnel, and I had to push against a viscious headwind on my way through.  In the plasterboardy gloom is the new temporary bike parking: bolt on Sheffield stands.  I parked my bike here briefly in order to visit the shops, and did not find a note declaring it too ugly for the new station's aesthetic on my return, even though it has enormous alloy forks, butterfly bars and a propstand fitted.  The area is currently well overlooked by bored Network Rail contractors, and plenty of people pass through it, so I don't think anyone's likely to unbolt the stands during peak hours.  A quick attack of the bolts with a MIG welder wouldn't have gone amiss, though.

The exposed bit of the walkway has glass panelling on the station side, so people of normal height can now peer down and watch trains passing through the 'A' end of the station.  There's some raised soil on the right, which will presumably have things growing in it eventually.  The walkway emerges right up near the Moor Street underpass thingy, where the bus stops are.  From here the existing signs point the way to Moor Street station and assorted retail opportunities.  After visiting the shops, I approached the walkway from the direction of the old main entrance, and noticed that the large sign pointing to "Birmingham New Street Station" down the walkway is hidden behind a concrete wall until the last minute.  Combined with the "Bimringham New Street" sign on the exterior of the old building, I expect confusion, at least amongst people arriving by bus.  It's another couple of hundred metres to Moor Street station from here; a significant distance if you're visually or mobility impaired.


In summary: Meh.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: I hadn't realised that Brum New Street was being refurbed
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2013, 07:00:02 pm »
I have discovered that I know somebody who knows the person responsible for the signage.  The thoughtfully unhelpful retort is that the signage is standard.   

This is the sort of totsl bs that lurks within the able-bodied world and such people need their branes extracting through their anuses.   Well jobsworth, have you ever considered that what is 'standard' is in fact totally rubbish and that by consulting the right people you could become leaders in best practice?  No?  Thought not.   Lacking in commitment and imagination as usual.   >:( >:( >:(