Posted by: travelrat | July 10, 2009

National Express


New Bus Station


Digbeth Street/Is the street

Where all the northbound coaches meet

In Birmingham

(apologies to Spencer Williams)

In the past, I’ve often ranted … nay, fulminated … about the squalid tip that was the Digbeth Street Coach Station in Birmingham. The armpit of the universe, I once called it, a place with all the charm of an abandoned multi-storey car park. A seedy cafeteria, manned by a runny-nosed immigrant who spoke little English, and 20p. to use the toilet.

The only good thing there was ‘Katie’s’, a bright, cheerful pie and sandwich shop just around the corner; truly a rose among the thistles! But, that only catered to the lunchtime trade, and closed about 2 pm.

So, imagine my surprise when my northbound National Express bus pulled into a new facility. A light, airy hall, information boards, a shop and an Upper Crust franchise. Thins were looking up … the only fly in the ointment was you still have to pay 20p. to use the khasi. You could, of course, use the one in the bus before you get to Birmingham … but, try it when the bus is schlepping down the motorway at 60 mph. That’s why most experienced bus-riders keep it for the gravest emergencies.

Pleasant as this is … it’s only temporary, while they build a new, purpose-built coach terminal on the site of the old Digbeth Street terminal. And, if the model in the temporary facility is to be believed, that’s going to be quite something!

On the way home, our coach broke down in Chester. I was impressed with the way the driver dealt with it, and ensured we all got to Birmingham in time to make our connections.

And, here is a picture of our replacement coach … only joking; it just happened to be at the bus stop when we limped in. But, it was working; our state-of-the-art, four year old coach wasn’t … and it is rather good, isn’t it?

New Bus



  1. That is fantastic. And it has a Bisto sign on the front. I love it!!

  2. It’s not the genuine article … you can see from the number plate that it’s a replica, built on a bus or truck chassis from the late 50s/early 60s.

    But, a good authentic one nevertheless


    Can anyone translate, please?

  4. Yes, Keith. This is very easy, The Polish gentleman is merely commenting that he spends every major Polish feast day at Digbeth Street Coach Station, unless his hovercraft is full of eels, in which case he prefers to go to his grandmother’s place instead.

    The key to this knotty translation problem is the cunning use of the Polish word WREXHAM which I suspect the gentleman used very purposefully to deceive amateur translators who have a less-than-perfect appreciation of the Polish language. Some might assume that Wrexham refers to a Welsh town (that most English folk wrongly judge to be in England). Not at all…. it is a Polish colloquialism, often heard in our part of the world, that refers to a hovercraft that is full of eels.

    I trust these few comments help in shedding light on the thoughtful and erudite comment so kindly left by one of your Polish readers.

    Nicky Gardner
    Berlin, Germany

    • Hi, Nicky! Nice to see you here!

      I was in two minds whether to approve this or not, but, as far as I can make out, it’s not offering a degree on the cheap, a Polish bride or other ‘delights’ I won’t mention here … if it did, I could ‘unapprove’ it easily enough.


      I’d like to send greetings and good wishes in your own language, but I don’t speak a word of it!

      Cheers, anyway!

      BTW, I had a Press release from National Express the other day. Their new PERMANENT coach station in Birmingham will be opening later in the month … I don’t have any plans to visit any time soon, but will post when/if I do.

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