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Birmingham's Main Station
Birmingham New Street Train Station
Member Name: cools952
Birmingham New Street Train Station
Advantages: Great location, relatively well run
Disadvantages: Depressing platforms and in need of modernisation
Before I get too negative about Birmingham New Street Station I should say that it is in the process of having a major refurbishment soon - it has been long overdue!
The station itself is one of three in the city but is probably the most central of them for shopping and the like and it is certainly the busiest. The station forms the lower floor of the Pallasades shopping centre and one of the exits leads customers straight out in to the shopping area. The other exit leads customers out towards the newly refurbished Bull Ring shopping centre so whichever way you choose, bring your wallet!
The station has twelve platforms with "A" and "B" areas to both, thus allowing maximum train access at busy periods. In general, the station runs pretty well, but as with all things public transport-wise, expect the usual odd delay and cancellation. Each platform has a selection of monitors informing commuters of when the next train is due and where it will be stopping. Other monitors at the entrance of the platforms give general train times.
Over the past few years the station has had an updated "big screen" display at the entrance, showing which trains are next in at each platform. Despite this being one of the newer innovations, it has an incredibly dated feel to it, looking like it was possibly "state of the art" back in the early 80's!
The station is well equipped with automatic ticket machines meaning that even at peak hours, you don't have to wait too long to buy a ticket if the queues at the manned kiosks are looking busy. Tickets are required to get through to the platforms and staff are always on hand to check tickets from those going to of from the platforms.
The platforms themselves are probably the most depressing thing about this station with them enjoying very little natural light and generally being a bit dark and nasty looking. They don't appear overly clean and just seem to make your wait for that train feel even longer. Compared to many other of the major railway stations in the country, you feel that Birmingham just isn't trying hard enough.
As I've mentioned before, the station is in a perfect spot for visitors to the city as its right in the centre. Its close to either of the other stations if your connecting train departs from there and there are numerous taxi and bus services running at either exit of the station. There is a drop off/pick up point for car drivers although there is no real parking option.
The new refurbishment promises a modern station offering natural light and attractive platforms, but just like your train may be, it is long overdue!
Summary: Not a bad station but you would expect better from a city like Birmingham
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