Dear Editor, Am I right? On Midlands Today (Thur, Sept 18), did Birmingham’s council leader really say that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with New Street Station and that it’s just tired and lacks capacity? Does he live in the same world as those of us who regularly use it?
There has always been one major glaring fundamental defect with the current New Street Station, which we, as passengers, find ourselves buried under for far too much of the time – the awful low concrete ceiling. It looms over a consequently darkened majority of the platform area, holding down fumes and noise such as diesel engines and occasional squealing brakes. This alone makes Birmingham New Street the worst main railway station in the country.
According to their own publicity (including proposal pictures of the platform area), the only thing New-Street-New-Start propose to do about this, in their plans to replace the Station, is make things worse by having a public square above more of the platform area, although they will paint the consequently greater ceiling area white. If this is so, then not enough of a new start for £600 million and a waste of money. Apparently, they also want to make the concourse more like an airport. We all love those, don’t we?
It may be very convenient for them that many people won’t remember an earlier, and far superior, design. Learning from history, we find that the companies responsible for the original Victorian station allowed high open roofs, which were beautifully arched and glass-panelled. For extra passenger convenience, they also provided The Queen’s Hotel.
It’s time that those responsible learned from their Victorian superiors, by putting railway workers and passengers first. Please let’s have a first rate railway station (maybe with a hotel), rather than a second-rate airport compromised by a shopping centre sitting on top.
The Paddock, Coseley.
Roll on demise of regional quangos
Dear Editor, Is it any wonder that the West Midland Business Council is appealing to the House of Commons Business Select Committee on Regional Development, not to abolish Regional Development Agencies such as Advantage West Midlands (Post, Sept 30).
As many know, but apparently not your reporter, the West Midlands Business Council would not exist without the financial support it receives from its mother quango, AWM.
To say that “business leaders” are calling for this is highly inaccurate, as many “business leaders” in the region would not wish to associate themselves with an offshoot of a quango such as the WMBC, that also consumes taxpayers’ hard earned cash for little result!
Roll on the next election I say - after which there will be no AWM and therefore probably no WMBC – and I am sure that we can rely on committee members like Peter Luff MP and Julie Kirkbride MP to arrive at this same conclusion too.
Part of a much greater integrated transport policy
Dear Editor, The announcement of plans for high speed links to mainland Europe from other parts of the country, including Birmingham, was inevitable. That it has come from the Tories at their conference here has to welcome, added to the idea that it would reduce air traffic considerably if a third runway at Heathrow loses support.
The Birmingham Post has published reports of possible rail links before, so whether we have to wait for hidden plans to emerge remains to be seen. Hopefully the raising of the issue in a national context will strengthen the local debate which has been lively for quite some time, not least in The Post.
One thing clear from that ongoing debate is that there’s quite a lot of detail to be thrashed out. The use of the Chiltern Line route is one factor which should be resolved easily. New Street capacity is a different matter, so there’s quite a bit of detail that is yet to emerge.
The other matter is local transport and the failure to advance that over the four years that the Tories and Lib-Dems have been in control. The always fanciful underground has delayed the Metro, but without any plan B.
If you ask politicians for their answer they talk about the bus, but that, after an initial introduction of “show case” routes is compromised by the failure to take any effective measures against congestion. This is important because more Birmingham people depend on a good local infrastructure. This applies equally to the wider region.
As for the Metro, I use it because it is a much more comfortable ride than the bus. It is reliable and quick and there are conductors who add to its safety and security. An announcement is due whether it will be extended to New Street in time to link with the new station. No sign of that yet though.
While I applaud the announcement, it has to be part of a much greater integrated transport policy which we yet have to see from anyone.