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The Architecture The Railways Built - Series 3 starts 13 September on Yesterday


Paul.Uni
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21 minutes ago, 5050 said:

Is that the 'American'  one that is infesting rivers and killing off the native variant?  They appear very off-putting to me!


Yes.  It's an ecological disaster.

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1 hour ago, Phatbob said:


That was a signal crayfish.  A nasty invasive species that we really could do with getting rid of.  The underside of the claw is distinctly orange as it happens.  The rest is more of a dull grey-brown for camoflague purposes.  So not a very appetising appearance.

 

Only a two-aspect signal crayfish then.  

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10 hours ago, Edwin_m said:

Only a two-aspect signal crayfish then.  

 

I take it you mean as in "home" -  when you'd probably prefer it to be "distant", or preferably very distant?

 

Seriously though, I could imagine some people having mixed feelings about seeing those things in rivers.

 

The fact that they're there is bad news. On the other hand, the fact that it's possible for them to survive there suggests that the water might not be as polluted as it might have been.

 

I wonder if somebody might be thinking in terms of taking steps to remove certain alien species from places like that - so they can be replaced by native species.

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On 04/03/2021 at 04:34, Huw Griffiths said:

I wonder if somebody might be thinking in terms of taking steps to remove certain alien species from places like that - so they can be replaced by native species.

The series on Chatsworth House has featured the staff catching them in the river and ponds.  They reckon the species are capable of walking considerable distances between sttretches of water.

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I enjoyed this week's episode - especially the stuff about Bristol Temple Meads.

 

I must admit that some of the inside of Brunel's train shed was somewhat familiar to me - but nothing wrong with that. A number of years back, there used to be model railway exhibitions inside this building - although I seem to recall it looking a bit rougher at the time.

 

Also of interest were the tunnels underneath the main station - again, I remembered bits of these - again in connection with model railway exhibitions. A number of years back, I was faced with long distance rail commuting. One of the few compensations of this was using my season ticket at weekends - which often meant Saturday trips to Hereford, Gloucester, Swindon or Bristol.

 

As well as the "business end" of the World Snooker Championship, "May Day" weekend usually meant the Bristol model railway show at Thornbury leisure centre. About 20 years back, this coincided with track work between Temple Meads and Parkway - so the vintage bus to and from the show operated out of the basement at Temple Meads (and some of the tunnels that appeared in this week's episode).

 

To follow, we were treated to what could be viewed as a TV trope - straight out of the "Danny Forster school of TV presenting".

 

In case anyone doesn't know what I'm talking about here, Danny Forster is an instantly likeable American architect, who did a superb job of presenting a number of series of "Extreme Engineering" (later rebranded as "Build It Bigger").

 

I think most of us have seen this sort of thing before - a first-rate TV presenter, who's very interested in the subject, but who likes heights about as much as I do (in other words, not at all) - finds themselves expected to walk around on the roofs of a series of tall buildings.

 

This time, we also got comments about the roof of Bristol Temple Meads behaving a bit like a sail, just as Tim could be seen holding onto some railings for grim life.

 

To be honest, though, both Tim and the guy showing him around emerged from this in a good light.

 

Excellent TV, though - and I'm looking forward to the repeat, midnight on Friday.

 

 

Huw.

 

 

Edited by Huw Griffiths
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Tim seems to be turning this series into a series of self punishments for his fear of heights! Is he after a more informed and cultural version of the jungle thing?

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I was pleased to finally have my curiosity satisfied as to the identity of the platform with the long canopy that had appeared in so many of the linking bits. Haapsalu looked really lovely and whilst I realise the programme is about the architecture it would have been nice to hear a little bit more about the museum. Still, we have the wonders of the internet: https://www.salm.ee/muuseumid/raudtee-ja-sidemuuseum/.

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I guess there needs to be some material available for a future series.

 

There's already one more series commissioned - I wouldn't be surprised if there were more. I'm certain there'd be a decent audience.

 

 

Huw.

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Agree the Bristol TM section was fascinating. IIRC the intention, some years ago now, was to restore Brunel's train shed to operational use to provide more capacity ? The sight of that, with OLE inside (if electrification ever gets to Bristol) would be interesting !

 

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Another good program.  Glasgow Centrals got to be a potential subject . I know we have a program about it up here in Scotland I don't know if its shown dahn sarf  but it concentrates on the personalities of people running it rather than the building itself . 

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48 minutes ago, Legend said:

Another good program.  Glasgow Centrals got to be a potential subject . I know we have a program about it up here in Scotland I don't know if its shown dahn sarf  but it concentrates on the personalities of people running it rather than the building itself . 

I watched it on first showing from BBC Scotland but it has since been shown in England as a re-run

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Enjoying the series immensely. It's my "Do Not Miss" programme of the week.

 

I appreciate your wariness of heights, because as I get older, I get more worried myself. But keep up the good work., it's a terrible job having to scale these heights just for our entertainment, but somebody's got to do it.

 

And your commentary on the non-UK locations very neatly and seamlessly stitches it all together. I hope they let you off the UK leash for the next series. After all, Gare Du Nord and even Avignon TGV are only a couple of stops away from St Pancras. I'm sure that Tim and the production team have plenty of ideas, but could I put forward Paris's Gare de Lyon and Gare Montparnasse, Zurich Hauptbahnhof, Basel SBB, Antwerpen Centraal, and Monaco as well as candidates for future programmes? I'm sure that others have equally worthy suggestions.

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4 hours ago, timdunn said:

Yes, we'd wanted to include the B&E offices - as well as the Midland extension and the later 1930s platforms, the rest of the vaults and even more of the Brunel building (indeed we filmed them all) but there's only so much you can cram into a 25-min TV story before it becomes too dense.

 

It sounds like we can look forward to seeing them in a future series (of which I hope there turn out to be rather more than the one already announced).

 

Quote

Next week is the Midland Hotel at Morecambe

 

Whilst you were there, did you get chance to check out the old railway station - the other side of the road - even if you might not have got chance to film?

 

The reason I'm asking is that I can remember it being rather impressive, a number of years back, when I was in the area for part of my industrial training. It strikes me as a shame that the platforms and canopies didn't also survive.

 

 

Whilst I'm thinking about my industrial training, I also spent some time in Cheshire - worked in Knutsford - lived in Northwich, very near the railway station.

 

Northwich railway station also struck me as rather good (shame the engine shed was demolished - but at least the main building on the Manchester bound platform survives, as does its canopy). There's also a rather impressive multiple arch viaduct nearby.

 

Whether Northwich finds its way into a future programme is not for me to decide - but I certainly suspect you might enjoy a visit at some point.

 

 

Huw.

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5 hours ago, timdunn said:

BTW I am the one who asks to go up on most of the tall bits - and whilst I am slightly concerned, I know it is a privilege to get access and I'd rather go up there so that we can share it on telly for others to enjoy, than not. I do have my limits though :) 

;) The sacrifice is appreciated and nice to see the excitement and ‘terror’ shown without the over dramatics of many reality shows commentary. 
Perfectly pitched for tv and it’s sent me off wandering the internet and to books for several of the subjects and added them to my list to visit if in the area. 
 

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57 minutes ago, Huw Griffiths said:

Whilst you were there, did you get chance to check out the old railway station - the other side of the road - even if you might not have got chance to film?

 

Yes! It's mentioned in the ep - and I've had drinks in there in years past - but like a few other places in Series 2 and 3 it was limited to outdoor chats. Sometimes this happens because of covid-related restrictions, or access difficulties because it's not right to ask staff/owners etc to travel to a closed location during lockdowns. So we've done our best - but there are def places where we'd have had more of a wander around inside if we'd have been able to get inside. It has been a logistical 3D chess game, and the production team has been incredible. 

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On 10/03/2021 at 13:02, caradoc said:

IIRC the intention, some years ago now, was to restore Brunel's train shed to operational use to provide more capacity ? The sight of that, with OLE inside (if electrification ever gets to Bristol) would be interesting!

Yes, there were definite proposals discussed at planning meetings about 7 or 8 years ago, which I was present at.

 

FGW (as they were then) felt that using the 'Digby-Wyatt' train shed, )sorry, can't recall the name of the actual architect that Tim mentioned), for electric IEP London services would be a definite commercial benefit, given that what would probably have become the main departure platform would only be a short, level walk from the main entrance.

 

There were discussions about putting two platforms back into the shed, but it was not clear whether these would have extended back into the original Brunel hammerbeam roof area (quite probably not).

 

But these would probably have only been a twice-hourly service to Paddington via Parkway (ie. running up Filton Bank). One of the issues facing planners at the time of the proposed renewal and remodelling of Bristol East Jct (originally scheduled to have happened by now, but still hasn't), was that the electric services via Box would still have to depart from the far side of the station.

 

There was quite a discussion on the feasibility of accessing all the platforms at Temple Meads from both the Down Filton Main and the Down Filton Relief and what crossover provision there should be. In the end, the cheaper version got chosen, not the 'operators' layout that I would have preferred, had it been my model railway and someone else was paying!

 

So I'm not quite sure what happened in the end, regarding the use of the old train shed for electric London services. It certainly would have had to have waited for Bristol resignalling, so that the Panel building could be removed. In the end, I retired before I could harangue the suits in Swindon any more, about what was or wasn't being planned.

 

 

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I notice that Tim's guide (Simon Gyde of NR) mentioned the refurbishment of the main roof at Temple Meads in the programme.

 

This was also being planned at the same time as Bristol East, Filton Bank and Bristol resignalling. In those discussions, it would have involved a complete, 'false roof', which would have formed a kind of 'working floor' above the operational tracks. 

 

Contractors access via the Motorrail Dock and Platform 2 was much discussed and I found it necessary to emphasise the (then) stabling needs of Great Western and other 'operational requirements', involving the use of the few remaining sidings in the immediate Temple Meads area.

 

Certainly the works would have involved the temporary closure of the Up Middle Siding (between the Up Relief and platforms 5 & 7), to support the temporary roofing/working floor structure.

 

Once again, the project suffered delays and I then retired, so I'm not sure exactly what the timescales and methodology will be, but it will be great to see the rooflights cleaned and restored with new glass etc.

 

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2 minutes ago, Captain Kernow said:

Once again, the project suffered delays and I then retired, so I'm not sure exactly what the timescales and methodology will be, but it will be great to see the rooflights cleaned and restored with new glass etc.

 

 

 

There's a false-floor going in, effectively - the scaffolding is going up as we speak. support all along the platforms right now - but IIRC there are no planned further major closures of running lines for significant periods after they go up.

 

 

 

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Thanks Tim, good to know about the timescales.

 

There was frequently an assumption on the part of project managers and their contractors for works like this, that the various sidings in and around the station were not important and could be closed or otherwise disrupted 'at their convenience' and I often had to put such folk straight about the operational requirements of the station and immediate railway environs.

 

In this case, during the planning for the first iteration of the roof refurbishment, I sought to obtain guarantees that the Up Middle Siding would be restored to operational use prior to the commencement of the Torbay Express running period, as  back in the day, that was where we would stable the coaching stock during the week.

 

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1 hour ago, Captain Kernow said:

This was also being planned at the same time as Bristol East, Filton Bank and Bristol resignalling

Just thinking about it, at the same time as the above projects were being discussed, there were the various meetings to discuss 'Metro West', aka the significant enhancement of Bristol area suburban services, including the reopening of the Portishead branch to passengers.

 

We even had one meeting for the Portishead project in the old Brunel boardroom, which Tim showed us in last Thursday's programme!

 

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On 10/03/2021 at 02:24, Huw Griffiths said:

I must admit that some of the inside of Brunel's train shed was somewhat familiar to me - but nothing wrong with that. A number of years back, there used to be model railway exhibitions inside this building - although I seem to recall it looking a bit rougher at the time

I remember these shows well. I exhibited 'Engine Wood' twice in the old Brunel train shed and also helped Simon Castens ('Not Jeremy') on at least one occasion with his book stand.

 

The shows that I attended, at least, were organised by Mike Bass, who I believe had a miniature railway in a country park near Bristol and was also a member of FGW train crew.

 

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I used to enjoy those Bristol "Brunel" shows.

 

OK - I know that some of them clashed with the snooker (and I've always liked my snooker) - but I could excuse this, because I liked being in this building.

 

The shows were usually good, too. The exception was the "revival" event, a number of years after the proper shows had stopped. Like a lot of "tribute acts", there seemed to be something missing.

 

What really seemed to be absent from the "revival" event was about half of the layouts, traders etc - and any "atmosphere" - everything was "stripped out" to the point of feeling "lost in space". I felt like I could have driven a bus through the spaces between layouts, stands etc (OK - I might first have needed to get the appropriate license - but I think you know what I mean).

 

Some traders were complaining (to this visitor) about a lack of customers and not even covering their parking (leave alone their fuel costs or time in getting there). I don't think some of them were planning on doing the second day of this final show, even though they'd paid upfront for their pitches.

 

In other words, this last show was a real shame - and left me wishing I hadn't gone, so I'd only remember the "glory days" of the shows there.

 

You know when a relative dies - someone from the hospital or the funeral home phones you to ask if you want to view the body - and you say you'd prefer not to, as you want to remember them from when they were alive. Well, this "revival" show left me with a similar hollow feeling to when someone drags you along to a body viewing (and I've had too many of these in recent years).

 

I just hope this isn't what (anti) socially distanced shows might look like.

 

 

Anyway, returning to the architecture, I've always liked Bristol Temple Meads - it's always struck me as one of those stations that are destinations in themselves. I've "flagged" some other stations that also give me this sort of feeling in other posts. I won't list them right now - but it's strange how they don't generally tend to be based around a "Collection of Loosely Assembled Steel Parts" ... .

 

As for my personal memories of travelling through BTM, it was usually a pleasant, interesting, place to wait (or explore). I seem to recall the bar (on the left as you go through the ticket gates) being somewhere it was possible to "chill".

 

When I was commuting to and from my last job, I was rather less keen on platform changes - especially if they meant sprinting between opposite corners of the station (not very enjoyable when you've been on the go for the last 16 hours and you're feeling"dead on your feet") - especially if the changes weren't announced until the train was at the platform and about to depart. (I had a number of those at various stations ... .)

 

To be honest, from this passenger's viewpoint, changes can sometimes be a major weak point of large rail (or bus) stations - especially if you've got to carry lots of luggage between opposite corners, up and down stairs, in a rush.

 

However, if I do need to change trains (or just wait for them), the wait can definitely be made more bearable if a station has some interesting architecture - if it's got some "character" - if it's not a couple of tatty bus shelters on otherwise empty platforms.

 

 

Huw.

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On 12/03/2021 at 12:00, Huw Griffiths said:

......When I was commuting to and from my last job, I was rather less keen on platform changes - especially if they meant sprinting between opposite corners of the station (not very enjoyable when you've been on the go for the last 16 hours and you're feeling"dead on your feet") - especially if the changes weren't announced until the train was at the platform and about to depart. (I had a number of those at various stations ... .)

 

To be honest, from this passenger's viewpoint, changes can sometimes be a major weak point of large rail (or bus) stations - especially if you've got to carry lots of luggage between opposite corners, up and down stairs, in a rush.....

New Street is just a maze, especially if you are not familiar with it. It used to be so easy to change trains there. Definitely a case where privatisation was a step backwards, and away from an integrated rail network. 

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