SideTracked - Birmingham Snow Hill
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We have Motorway Mayhem. We have A-Road Anarchy. We even have Village Vexation. But what about public transport users? SideTracked Caches are intended to provide quick cache-and-dashes at train stations. It is hoped this idea will spread across the country in the same way as the MMs.
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About Birmingham Snow Hill Station
Snow Hill station was the prestige station in Birmingham - the epitome of GWR opulence with its grand Great Western Hotel frontage, mosaic floors in the platform tea rooms and a vast subterranean booking hall and goods offices - immaculately covered with white salt-glazed tiles.
Originally built as a temporary wooden station, Snow Hill was rebuilt in 1871 as a permanent structure and again between 1906-1912 as the grand station fondly remembered by many Brummies. The station linked to Moor Street Station via the Snow Hill cutting / tunnel which was constructed on a "cut and cover" basis. Today's "Great Western Arcade" shopping mall shows some of the splendour of the original constructions over the cutting.
Unfortunately, in 1972 following British Rail's decision to electrify the routes through New Street, Snow Hill became superfluous to requirements and closed along with the line up to and including Wolverhampton Low Level and the tunnel connection through to Moor Street. The hotel was demolished and trackbed removed. However, some small hints of the old structure still remain. For instance, on Livery Street you can see one of the (now bricked up) entrances to the old station, complete with GWR insignia and crest.
Snow Hill Station was re-opened in 1987 and, along with (retro restored) Moor Street provides many of the branch line services not otherwise available at New Street Station. Some of the original features used in the Moor Street restoration actually came from 'old' Snow Hill station. Unfortunately, the 'new' Snow Hill station hasn't quite recaptured the character of its charismatic forebear, hidden as it is beneath a multi-story carpark.
However, in summer you can catch the Shakespeare Express steamtrain from here all the way down to Stratford-upon-Avon.
Unique among SideTracked caches (at the date of publication, at least), Snow Hill Station also serves a tram network, being the Birmingham terminus of the Midland Metro (which runs through the Black Country to Wolverhampton). The Metro opened in the summer of 1999. There are plans to extend the network through the city centre and up to the Hagley Road.
About the cache
The cache itself is the ubiquitous film canister containing a logbook and magnet. The magnet is not a trade item - do not take it! There is no pen / pencil so please bring your own. It's not quite a cache and dash. You'll need to do a little bit of work to get this one. The cache is at N52 2A.BC8 W001 5D.EF8. All the information you need to work out the missing values of A-F can be found in the station forecourt off Colmore Row, the listing co-ordinates.
A = The number of the building on the West side of the square.
B = x - (y+z) where x = number of large stone balls across the front of the square, y = first number in the year the building on the East side of the square was refurbished and z = last number in that same year.
C = The number of the building on the East side of the square.
D = (A-C) / 2
E = A x B
F = B x C
ZNTARGVP anab. Cvcr.