In days of old how many of my fellow City fans can remember that wonderful journey from Hull Paragon Station to Boothferry Park?
As a small boy I clearly remember the excitement of walking to the station with Dad, hand in hand to board the train to the game. What an exciting time it was, think back can you remember the excitement of being told you were going on a train?
I may be something of an anorak, but when you’re about 10 years old to board a train was always exciting. The walk from Spring Bank, down Park Street, through St Stephens Square, down the side of the bus station then into the station, wow.
The box office was just wonderful, anyone who gets the chance and wants to be nostalgic take a look at the film Clockwise, our station is shown in all its former glory. The box office always had a designated window for the trip to the match. From there onto the platform and then the train.
The journey took you some of the same way as the journey to Beverley does to this day, but veered off to the left and over Spring Bank West on the bridge that is still there today and then round past Calvert Lane and onto Boothferry. The best part was that you got off at the junction of the South Stand—no messing about.
Boothferry Park was one of only a very few that had its own platform, it was great for both the trains from the city centre, and trains from Beverley, I believe they ran, but I’m not totally sure that they did. It also brought in the away fans specials and helped the police “police” the area and make the fans match day experience better.
In my humble opinion this was the best way to get to a match, somewhat like the undergrounds in places like London and Paris. People did drive to games and the old pictures showing the number of cars parked towards the South Stand to this day amaze me.
Today I think that public transport is nowhere near as good to get to and from games on. Fans I speak to comment on trains not running as reliably on public holidays and their difficulty in getting to matches—which is ludicrous when you think of the amount of train track near the KCOM Stadium.
The park and ride on Priory Road is very good and is used by a number of fans on match days as it offers a safe place to leave your vehicle and a reasonable affordable method of getting into the stadium, but it’s not the same is it.
A far greater number of fans drive to games today and they are the ones who I feel are most affected by the changes in public transport. The Walton street carpark is an absolute nightmare to get into and especially out of. Fans are constantly complain that it takes far too long to get out after a game and they’ve great point. Plus you run the risk of driving through a gigantic pot hole and ruining the paint at the bottom of your car.
Hull Paragon station is very walkable from the stadium and many fans do use the interchange and carparks around St Stephens. Buses still run to many parts of Hull after games and fans do use them but I don’t think that they are anywhere near as effective as when I was a lad. And not when you consider that the fans who use the train from either Brough or Beverley to get to City matches actually go directly past the stadium, only to walk back again. The mind boggles.
So for this “Old Codger” times have changed we have a modern stadium with good facilities, but the infrastructure around, trains, buses, and parking have declined. Bring back the old days fans dispersed more quickly and I got to ride a train!