The below press release was issued to railway-related media over 28 and 29 May for immediate release. It’s likely to be published over the course of the next month or so.
There’s a new way for visitors to Birmingham’s historic Moor Street station to connect with its past thanks to a clever new technology called QRpedia – in fact, it’s the first railway station in the world to make use of the technology.
QRpedia codes – a variation of QR (or Quick Response) codes – are objects that can be scanned using a smartphone, which then direct you to a Wikipedia page about the object or location, in the language used by the phone – so providing multi-lingual content to overseas and local visitors alike.
A collection of eight of these codes is displayed in the Centenary Lounge cafe inside the station, directing smartphone users to Wikipedia pages about the station itself, the Great Western Railway, the Chiltern Line and the station’s cosmetically-restored GWR 2884 Class steam locomotive, among other things.
Andy Mabbett, a well-known local Wikipedian who installed the codes, said: “Wikipedia has a vast amount of local and railway history. It’s wonderful that the Centenary Lounge is helping to share this with local people and visitors to Birmingham.”
He continued: “The local community can be very proud that it’s host to the first railway station in the world to use this innovative technology. We look forward to working with railway operators and heritage lines across the UK to deploy QRpedia, which is free to use. We also encourage railway enthusiasts to get involved with Wikipedia, creating and editing content on their favourite railway topics.”
Birmingham Moor Street station is a Grade II listed building and is a particularly fine example of Edwardian railway station architecture. It closed in 1987 but was restored and reopened to widespread acclaim in 2002. The restoration project was given the Railway Heritage Trust Award in 2004 and The Birmingham Civic Society’s Renaissance Award in 2005.
Aasia Baig, the owner of the Centenary Lounge, said: “The project gives people a lot of background information on the station, and it’s particularly good for tourists. It makes the station more interesting and shows there’s a lot more to the station than just travelling. We’re even planning to get the codes printed on our menus!”
Birmingham is also home to the first church in the world to use QRpedia codes, St Paul’s in the Jewellery Quarter.