In news that is unlikely to surprise anyone who has had to stumble through its dirty, dark passageways, Birmingham New Street has been named Britain’s worst railway station.
A recent survey conduced by the independent Passenger Watchdog Passenger Focus saw the Stygian station receiving the lowest satisfaction rating among passengers.
The study rated stations on criteria such as standards of cleanliness, security, helpfulness of staff, platform information and car parking – and not surprisingly, the Brummie hellhole came bottom.
Sadly, Birmingham’s 1960s concrete monstrosity replaced a truly grand 1854 station whose immense glass-covered roof drew comparisons with New York’s Grand Central (see 1885 New Street view below).
Most of the modern New Street station is underground with an oppressively low, soot-covered concrete roof adding to the claustrophobic effect.
Noxious diesel fumes waft through this unventilated area, with the sound of idling locomotives adding to the general cacophony.
And things have got even worse recently, with a new renovation being described as ‘a cross between The Krypton Factor and Logans Run’
Birmingham New St is also quite famous for its rapidly changing platform allocations, resulting in repeated mass exoduses as passengers scramble up and down escalators.
View of New Street station from the Rotunda in the Bullring.
Also languishing behind Birmingham in the list of crap stations was (in descending order) Maidenhead, followed by London Bridge, Romford, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Preston, Birmingham International, Wimbledon, and Grantham, Lincs.
Birmingham Moor Street, May 2012.