I know people who live in other cities take this sort of shit for granted, but Nu-New Street is a very nice railway station (with the Brum-obligatory shop on top).
It needs a clock – call me old-fashioned, but no great romance ever started with the words, “I’ll meet you outside Five Guys. Yeah, the one opposite Pret”, and there are no chairs anywhere. Perhaps they’ll come, but probably not. I think it’s designed so that you spend your waiting time in the retail paradise on the upper deck. Oh, and it also needs free/some Wifi (there was no way I was getting fooled into joining the unsecured network. Not after last time), but the fact that it has space and natural light is quite something, and once you get down on the platforms you can see across to other platforms, and that blew my Brummie mind.
The escalator I went down was empty, so I can’t confirm whether Brummies will be inspired by their new station to start using them properly. I think we all know the answer to that one, though. Once the shops open next week (accessible by more escalators) it’ll be business as usual, and you can stick that ‘stand on the right’ shit where the sun didn’t used to shine.
A measure of the sea change compared to what we had before is the fact that I even had to buy a fucking ticket, rather than simply waltz on to any train I liked in full confidence that no-one would check. This is just one more reason why we’ll never produce another Dexys Midnight Runners. But that’s progress for you.
Public/Private space gripes aside, it’s a genuine ‘Well done, everyone’ from me.
As for the name, I hope Grand Central doesn’t stick. It’s stupid, and it’s a shop. We should name it after Jeff Lynne or Ron Saunders. Or maybe Kevin Rowland.