All Change at New Street – With Difficulty

New Street lifts (Geograph / Creative Commons licence)

Two Push Bikes members have contacted us about the new passenger lifts at New Street. They are just big enough to carry one bike placed diagonally, along with its rider. There might be room for one other person, but it will be a squeeze. This is going to make a quick platform change at New Street with a bike difficult, and those of us who use the station regularly know just how often trains mysteriously switch platforms just as they are arriving.

Push Bikes believes these lifts are a very expensive mistake. Lifts so small are going to be a huge bottleneck in what is one of the busiest stations in the UK. It wont be just cyclists who will be held up, but wheelchair users and people with push chairs. If cyclists increase in numbers, as the City Council hopes, these lifts will rapidly become totally unfit for purpose. Unfortunately the station in general is unfit for purpose, handling as it does vastly more train movements per hour than it was originally designed for. It could be that there is simply no more space available for larger lifts. Unfortunately the government has shown itself to be highly unwilling to spend sufficient money upgrading stations outside London. Other major interchange stations, such as Stockport, have similarly small lifts.

What should you do if these lifts cause you problems? New Street station is managed by Network Rail, so complain to them; ask for financial compensation if the delay results in your missing a train. Other stations are managed by different organisations, so you will need to find out who before complaining. Start bothering the staff; ask them if there is a goods lift, or (in the case of New Street) if you can use the tunnel under the tracks. And of course, contact us with your experiences so we can make a complaint as a group.