I have not been on a train adventure for a couple of weeks, for no real reason other than many parts of the UK have been underwater due to heavy rain. My own home town of Burton on Trent had a severe flood warning last week, but thankfully the flood defences by the River Trent held firm, and it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, although many people were affected.
It is still raining today, but I planned a trip to Tamworth, the next station southbound from Burton on Trent. I had been to Tamworth a couple of times by train before, both times were back in 2010 when I went to see my football team Aberdeen take on the local then-Conference team Tamworth FC in a friendly in July (it finished as a 1-1 draw), and again later in the year to do a day’s data entry work at a company which manufactured train components. I think I may have been taken to Tamworth by my parents sometime in the 1990s, but I don’t really remember much about it.
As usual, the journey started at Burton on Trent station. Rather than my usual departure point of platform 1, I waited at platform 2 for the south bound train towards Birmingham New Street. There is a half-hourly service during the day between Burton and Tamworth. The return ticket cost me £7.40 for a ten-minute ride each way. However, if I was to go to Lichfield Trent Valley by train, it would be £6.80 for a return, but I would have to change at Tamworth. How does that work?
I caught the train, and stood in the vestibule all the way to Tamworth, where I arrived around ten minutes later. Maybe it’s just me, but I find Tamworth Station very confusing. I ended up at platform 2, the London-bound platform, before sheepishly making my way back up the stairs to the platform where I had got off, and then I decided to actually follow the signs to the exit.
Tamworth railway station was originally opened in 1839 by the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway. The lower level Trent Valley Line opened in 1847. In the early 1960s, the original station was demolished and replaced with the soulless concrete and brick structure which stands today. Tamworth is not an aesthetically-pleasing station, in my opinion. There are many facilities, though. All four platforms have a waiting room, and there are lifts between the higher and lower levels. A staffed ticket shop is located in the main concourse by the entrance.
Once I eventually got out of the station, I walked across the car park towards the roundabout, from where I walked down Victoria Street towards the town centre. There’s a lot to see and do in Tamworth, including the Snow Dome, a cinema and a shopping centre beside the River Anker called Ankerside. I had a look around the shops, but my ultimate destination was Tamworth Castle.
Tamworth Castle and the grounds are open to the public with free entry. The castle was first built in the 1080s. The River Anker passes between the castle and the grounds, and access is via two footbridges. I had a walk through the grounds, and then up to the castle itself. There is a spectacular view from the castle, but it was incredibly windy up there, so I didn’t hang around for long.
The weather wasn’t great in Tamworth today, and so I made my way back to the station from the castle, from where I caught the train back to Burton. This time, I managed to find the platform with no trouble at all. Maybe I’m finally getting the hang of Tamworth station. I will definitely be coming back to Tamworth when the weather is better.
I’ve got a few more trips planned in the next few weeks, so I will be writing those up for the blog as soon as I’ve done them. In the meantime, you can follow the blog @martyns_blog on Instagram, and on Twitter @martynsblog, and also on Facebook.
Thanks very much for reading.