(james benedict brown) on the road

Snapshot: Christmas Eve, Glasgow Central Station

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 24 December, 2008

Actually, I tell a lie. It was the evening of the 23rd when I took this photograph, the evening before I left Glasgow to travel home for Christmas. Holiday travel this winter has been mercifully painless; I hope everyone I saw rushing home made it as smoothly as I did.

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The circular strike

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 7 October, 2008

The Cathcart Circle railway line that snakes through our little corner of Govanhill and Queen’s Park is our handy link to the centre of Glasgow. It takes just six minutes and £1.35 to get from our stop into Central Station, which is both quicker and cheaper than the cynically expensive bus. The lines (and most every other one in Scotland) however, are much quieter today, as the RMT calls the first of two twenty-four hour strikes this week (from 12h00 midday today and 12h00 midday on Thursday). As with all labour disputes, there are of course two sides (link and link – thanks Monkey for the URLs) to every story.

Snapshot: the signwriter’s delight

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 21 August, 2008

Seen on the platform of the newly refurbished Queen’s Park station in Glasgow. Perhaps any signwriters reading this could let me know roughly how much it costs to fabricate a metal sign approximately 500mm square with laminate lettering that advises you to find another sign that might be able to tell you something.

Urban rhythms

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 10 August, 2008

The bright colours, strategically simplified angles and smooth corners of another urban transit map have seduced me. Having now spent two weeks in Glasgow, I’m becoming more familiar with the lie of the land and the names of suburbs, especially those distant ones with exotic names.

Unfortunately, Glasgow (like Sheffield) has passed the operation of most of its buses to the First Group. That means fares have sky rocketed for occasional users. So instead of paying £1.30 for a ride into town, I’ll stick to paying £1.05 for a return ticket on the train (note to self: remember to renew the 16-25 Railcard the day before my birthday). I’ve also established quickly that beside from bicycle, the train is the way to get around. Glasgow has the largest suburban rail network in the country; well… the largest in Scotland, if you’re a secessionist, or the largest outside London if you’re not.

Although the Cathcart Circle is partially closed at the moment while engineers fill some subsidence with concrete, the system is reliable, fast and runs like clockwork. During that closure, my nearest station is Pollokshields West (not to be confused with Pollokshields East, Pollokshaws East or Pollokshaws West). The walk home takes me across a footbridge that crosses the Barrhead line (red in the plan above) just north of the delightful sounding Crossmyloof station. Not only has my train been on time every time, but every time I have crossed that footbridge on the way home, I have looked south down the tracks to see the same train approaching at exactly the same spot. It passes underneath the footbridge at exactly the same time that a southbound train passes on the adjacent track.

Can’t they run late just for once?