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23 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Airlines gone but not forgotten at Birmingham Airport: Thomas Cook Airlines

Another airline popular for holiday destinations was Thomas Cook Airlines. Sadly they went out of business back in September 2019, along with all of their High Street travel shops. Founded in 2007 from a merger with Thomas Cook Group and MyTravel Group. It operated services from Birmingham Airport and other UK based airports. They were known for the yellow heart symbol.

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Airlines gone but not forgotten at Birmingham Airport: Thomas Cook Airlines





Another airline popular for holiday destinations was Thomas Cook Airlines. Sadly they went out of business back in September 2019, along with all of their High Street travel shops. Founded in 2007 from a merger with Thomas Cook Group and MyTravel Group. It operated services from Birmingham Airport and other UK based airports. They were known for the yellow heart symbol.


Thomas Cook at Birmingham Airport

Thomas Cook Airlines operated flights from Birmingham Airport for many years. Founded in 2007 from a merger between Thomas Cook Group and MyTravel Group. There main bases was at Manchester Airport and Gatwick Airport . In 2013, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium, Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia and Condor all merged under the name of Thomas Cook Group Airlines.

The airline collapsed in September 2019. Over 165,000 passengers were stranded overseas (more than the 65,000 of Monarch), that had to be flown back to the UK.

While I've seen Thomas Cook at Birmingham Airport, we had never flown with them.

 

One of my first Thomas Cook plane photos was taken while I was on a walk around Erdington. I was on the Chester Road during May 2014. It was probably an Airbus A321-200.

Not a great photo of a Thomas Cook plane, as it was behind trees as it came into land at Birmingham Airport, back in March 2016. But this was on the day of the first Emirates Airbus A380 landing. And I went to the Sheldon Country Park to see it. After I left I went to Marston Green Station, and got this view from the second footbridge before I got to the platform.

The first up and close photo I got of a Thomas Cook plane was at the departures at Birmingham Airport during June 2016. The windows to the gates can be a bit fuzzy to look through. A Shell tanker was near the Airbus A321-200 plane. We were on the way to get a Flybe flight to Milan for the Lake Como holiday.

In December 2016, I saw this Thomas Cook plane taking off from Birmingham Airport, while I was in Car Park 5. There is a plane spotting area there, but if you go further back, you won't have the perimeter fence in the way.

Back in August 2017 I was in Sutton Coldfield on the Big Sleuth bear hunt. While in Boldmere (after leaving Sutton Park) I saw this Thomas Cook Airbus A321-200 plane.

Later back at Sutton Coldfield Station (August 2017), I saw this Thomas Cook plane coming into land at Birmingham Airport. Sutton Coldfield is on the flight path into the airport. Was also an Airbus A321-200.

A close up view of this Thomas Cook plane during June 2018 at Birmingham Airport. In departures, heading to the gate to get a Jet2 flight to Pisa in Italy, for the Florence and Tuscany holiday. Another Airbus A321-200. Behind was several Flybe planes.

Another good station for seeing planes taking off or landing from Birmingham Airport was Stechford Station. I saw this Thomas Cook plane from Stechford during October 2018. Also an Airbus A321-200. This one was taking off.

Also in October 2018 was the visit to Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens, where I saw several planes coming into land at Birmingham Airport. This one was an Airbus A320-200.

It may have also been with Condor at the time. It left the UK Thomas Cook fleet during 2018 (the Airbus A320-200's).

Back in August 2019 was when I last saw Thomas Cook planes at Birmingham Airport. This view was from the X1 National Express West Midlands Platinum bus I'd caught from South Yardley to the airport. At the time there was also a pair of TUI planes to the left.

I popped into Car Park 5 where I saw this Thomas Cook Airbus A321-200. The last time I would see it there before the airline went bust in the following month.

Now for a bonus photo.

In May 2011 having just landed at Nice Airport in Frane with BMI Baby, I saw this pair of Thomas Cook Belgium planes (before I got off the BMI Baby plane). This airline was founded in 2001, started operating from 2002 and ceased operating in 2017. These were Airbus A320-200's. The planes were later transferred to other airlines, including one to the UK based Thomas Cook Airlines.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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50 passion points
Transport
16 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Class 168 on the Chiltern Mainline from Birmingham Snow Hill to Leamington Spa

Chiltern Railways operates the Chiltern Mainline from Birmingham Snow Hill (or Moor Street) towards London Marylebone. Their main diesel multiple unit trains are the Class 168 Clubman. They do also use Class 68 with Mark 3 carriages, but here we will be looking at the Class 168 from Birmingham Snow Hill towards Leamington Spa. Stopping at Solihull and Warwick Parkway.

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The Class 168 on the Chiltern Mainline from Birmingham Snow Hill to Leamington Spa





Chiltern Railways operates the Chiltern Mainline from Birmingham Snow Hill (or Moor Street) towards London Marylebone. Their main diesel multiple unit trains are the Class 168 Clubman. They do also use Class 68 with Mark 3 carriages, but here we will be looking at the Class 168 from Birmingham Snow Hill towards Leamington Spa. Stopping at Solihull and Warwick Parkway.


I've not been on a train since lockdown came into force during late March 2020. Before then I went on the Chiltern Mainline from Solihull to Leamington Spa at the end of February 2020 (to go on the branch line to Coventry). The last time I went to Solihull Station in the middle of March 2020 was get some trains to Aston (to see the turnable in Eastside).

The photos below were taken between 2009 and early 2020.

Chiltern Railways have been running the Chiltern Railways franchise since 1996. The mainline is between Birmingham Snow Hill and London Marylebone. In late 2010, the terminus platforms 3 and 4 were restored to Birmingham Moor Street Station, and many Chiltern trains now terminate there.

The Class 168 Clubman DMU trains were built between 1998 and 2004. They were refurbished in 2007-8 and from 2013 onwards. There is 4 types of Class 168. The

  • 168/0 (built in 1998)
  • 168/1 (built in 2000)
  • 168/2 (built in 2004)
  • 168/3 (built in 2000 as Class 170 for TransPennine Express)

Birmingham Snow Hill Station

Seen at platform 2 during September 2013 was Chiltern Railways 168216. It would form a service to London Marylebone. Seen in it's new livery at Birmingham Snow Hill Station, while I was at platform 3.

Chiltern Railways 168002 had just arrived at platform 2 at Snow Hill Station during November 2014, having come from London Marylebone. One of the oldest trains in the fleet, in it's new livery.

Chiltern Railways 168217 was seen at platform 2 at Birmingham Snow Hill Station during May 2016. From my usual view from platform 3. In the new standard grey livery.

Seen inside of Birmingham Snow Hill Station at platform 2, during December 2017 was Chiltern Railways 168 329. It would form the Chiltern Mainline service to London Marylebone. This was one of the trains that Chiltern inherited from TransPennine Express, which used to be a Class 170, before it was converted.

Birmingham Moor Street Station

Seen at platform 4 at Birmingham Moor Street Station during November 2011, was Chiltern Railways 168108. Behind was Selfridges, the Rotunda and what used to be the Pavilions (which it was at the time). The old blue livery would last a few more years after this. These restored platforms opened at the end of 2010. Part of Chiltern's Evergreen 3 project (during Phase 1).

Chiltern Railways 168110 was seen at platform 4 during April 2015 in the new grey livery. The inside of these trains had been refurbished as well. Can just about see Selfridges from here.

Arriving at platform 3 at Birmingham Moor Street during December 2017 was Chiltern Railways 168004. In the new grey livery, but was looking a bit dirty at the time.

In January 2020 from platform 1 at Birmingham Moor Street. Chiltern Railways 168106 had just left Birmingham Snow Hill. And after a stop at Moor Street, was heading on it's way to it's next stop at Solihull, on it's way towards London Marylebone.

Solihull Station

Departing Solihull Station during May 2013 was Chiltern Railways 168216. At the front was also Chiltern Railways 172 103. It was heading to London Marylebone. In the old blue livery.

In December 2013, I was at Solihull Station when I saw Chiltern Railways 168108. It was heading for Birmingham Moor Street (which would be it's final stop and terminus).

In May 2016 at Solihull, I saw Chiltern Railways 168218 heading towards London Marylebone. It was a wet weekend, and this might have been a Wembley Special weekend (the FA Cup Final was that weekend at the time). I've been on a Chiltern train when it's been packed full of football fans going down to Wembley.

In July 2019 an unidentified Chiltern Railways Class 168 is seen crossing the Low Bridge on Blossomfield Road in Solihull. While a pair of buses cross under it towards Solihull Town Centre. I had just got off the no 6 bus, which was the red single decker bus on the right. The bus with NXWM was 1914. Landflight bus on the left was on the 8W.

Warwick Parkway Station

I got the train down from Solihull to Warwick in April 2019, and walked up the Grand Union Canal. Getting off near Warwick Parkway Station. This was my first time using the station, although I've passed through it many times in the past. Seen departing from Warwick Parkway for London Marylebone was Chiltern Railways 168 323 and 168 321.

Both Chiltern Railways 168 323 and 168 321 had been part of the former TransPennine Express fleet (it ended in 2016) that used to be Class 170, before they were refurbished and change to a Class 168/3.

After a wait at Warwick Parkway, Chiltern Railways 168 326 arrived at the station.

Chiltern Railways 168 326 would be my ride back to Solihull from Warwick Parkway. Sit in the Quiet Zone. It is so comfortable on these trains.

Leamington Spa Station

Back in October 2011, I got the train down to Leamington Spa Station for the first time for a photo walk around the town. Seen at the opposite platform was Chiltern Railways 168112. After stopping at Leamington Spa, it would resume it's journey down to London Marylebone.

In March 2018 on another visit to Leamington Spa Station, I saw Chiltern Railways 168108. This was the first time I had got a train from Coventry to Leamington, going past Kenilworth (which hadn't opened at the time). I would go back when Kenilworth Station opened for the first time. Meanwhile this Chiltern train was heading down to London Marylebone after a stop at Leamington Spa.

On Leap Year Day at the end of February 2020, I caught a packed Chiltern Railways train down to Leamington Spa from Solihull (heading to Coventry on the branch line). Got off before the train got too busy with football fans. Chiltern Railways 168215 seen heading on it's way down to London Marylebone. That day, Chiltern should have put two trains on of 8 carriages. But was only a crowded four carriages.

After I got back to Leamington Spa from Coventry (with Cross Country, as would have been a long wait for West Midlands Railway), Chiltern Railways 168003 arrived, and it would take me back to Solihull. Much quieter and less busier. This was the last time I travelled with Chiltern Railways before lockdown and the current restrictions.

From the 15th June 2020, if you travel on the train (or bus) you have to wear a mask over your mouth and nose. But travel is still "essential travel only". So I don't know when I'll be going on a train, or even a bus again (any time soon). Not been on either in 3 months now (since March 2020).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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50 passion points
Squares and public spaces
15 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Classic Car Meet at Kings Heath Village Square on the August Bank Holiday Monday 2019

On Monday 26th August 2019, I was changing buses from the 50 to 11A, when I spotted a Classic Car Meet at Kings Heath Village Square near All Saints Church, so went to check it out, before walking to the next 11A bus stop on the Vicarage Road. Was a variety of classic cars there that day. It was the August Bank Holiday Monday.

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The Classic Car Meet at Kings Heath Village Square on the August Bank Holiday Monday 2019





On Monday 26th August 2019, I was changing buses from the 50 to 11A, when I spotted a Classic Car Meet at Kings Heath Village Square near All Saints Church, so went to check it out, before walking to the next 11A bus stop on the Vicarage Road. Was a variety of classic cars there that day. It was the August Bank Holiday Monday.


Classic Car Meet at Kings Heath Village Square

Kings Heath Village Square opened in October 2011, and is suitable for any kind of event. During normal times, the square was available for hire. The square is at the corner of Vicarage Road and High Street in Kings Heath near All Saints Church.

On Monday the 26th August 2019, it was the August Bank Holiday Monday, and one such event was using the square. There was a Classic Car Meet on that day.

I had got off the no 50 bus and was going to switch to an 11A when I spotted this car meet and went to check it out before getting my bus home that day.

This view was taken from the 11A bus as it waited at the lights. Wythall Transport Museum were also having their usual Bank Holiday Weekend heritage bus rides up and down the Alcester Road. There was an old Metrobus to the right. Which I didn't notice until I first saw this photo on my computer.

When I first arrived I saw this Ford F 150 pick up truck, made in 1977. It originally came from Texas.

Another view of the Ford F150 from the 11A bus.

This is a Austin Six from 1929.

This Riley Elf was near the bushes close to Vicarage Road.

This old car was either a Rover 2000 or the Rover P6.

Various old cars near the All Saints Centre including the T48 Corsa Spyder.

A line of about 5 classic cars. The red car to the left was a 1977 Triumph Stag Mk II.

On the Labyrinth in the middle of the square at the time was this live band. With a drum kit and a guitar.

Close to All Saints Church was a 1966 Volvo Amazon.

The orange car with the boot open was a 1972 MGB GT.

Next up was this Volkswagen Type 2.

A classic Volkswagen Beetle

For a similar post click: Austin Seven's in Victoria Square (April 2012).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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80 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
11 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct and the Edstone Aqueduct on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal

Recently I've had the chance to go to the Edstone Aqueduct in Warwickshire for a walk up the Stratford-on-Avon Canal. Didn't quite get to the Wootton Wawen Aqueduct this time around, but I popped over it several years ago. Wootton Wawen built in 1813 and Edstone in 1816. This canal links Kings Norton to Stratford-upon-Avon. The Edstone Aqueduct is the longest aqueduct in England.

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The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct and the Edstone Aqueduct on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal





Recently I've had the chance to go to the Edstone Aqueduct in Warwickshire for a walk up the Stratford-on-Avon Canal. Didn't quite get to the Wootton Wawen Aqueduct this time around, but I popped over it several years ago. Wootton Wawen built in 1813 and Edstone in 1816. This canal links Kings Norton to Stratford-upon-Avon. The Edstone Aqueduct is the longest aqueduct in England.


Wootton Wawen Aqueduct

The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct is a Grade II* listed aqueduct dating to 1813. It crosses the A3400 Stratford Road in Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire near The Navigation Inn. It was restored in 1960. It was built by William Whitmore for the Stratford Canal Company. Made of a Cast-iron trough with integral towpath with cast-iron railings. The Southern Stratford Canal was built from 1793-1816. The canal was leased by the National Trust in 1960 from the British Waterways Board. They also acquired the freehold of the canal in 1964. The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Seen from the Stratford Road in July 2014, near The Navigation Inn. There is a plaque in the middle with an 1813 date.

Seen during late April 2017, some time before 8pm in the evening before sunset to finally cross the Wootton Wawen Aqueduct for the first time.

This aqueduct is quite short, so it doesn't take long to cross it.

The Navigation Inn see to the left. Beyond was a garage.

To the right of the Wooton Wawen Aqueduct is Anglo Welsh Waterway Holidays. Where you can hire a narrowboat.

The steps takes you slightly below the level of the water.

This aqueduct has been here well over 200 years, and has had some modifications since then.

I'm not sure what this archway was for though.

Edstone Aqueduct

The Edstone Aqueduct is a Grade II* listed aqueduct dating to 1816. It is the longest canal aqueduct in England at a length of 475 feet (145 m). It crosses Salters Lane, the Shakespeare Line (between Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon), a minor road and the trackbed of the former Alcester Railway. It was built from 1812-16. It was made of English bond grey brick piers, and regular coursed stone and brick abutments. With some late 19th century engineering brick. It carried what was formerly called the South Stratford Canal. It is between Wilmcote and Wootton Wawen, and is also near Bearley (sometimes also called the Bearley Aqueduct).

This visit was on the last day of May 2020, as lockdown restrictions were eased. It was warm but not too warm in the morning. Arriving near the car park on Salters Lane. Was a brilliant blue sky that morning in Warwickshire.

It is the longest canal aqueduct in England.

Got some brilliant shadows from the railings onto the towpath here.

It didn't even feel scary or nervous to walk over this aqueduct compared to some other ones I've been on. Then again it wasn't too high.

The Shakespeare Line crossed underneath. Also known as the North Warwickshire Railway. Or the Birmingham and North Warwickshire railway. I kept hearing trains, but didn't get to this spot on the aqueduct in time to see them.

The view of the Edstone Aqueduct from Bearley Lock No. 39. From here it looks quite small.

Later on the walk back down the Stratford-on-Avon Canal, saw the rare sight of a narrowboat (on the move during lockdown). Behind was an inflatable dinghy. Then again this was my first canal walk in more than 3 months.

Due to social distancing, we had to wait for other people to cross the aqueduct before us.

I found a hill with a wooden banister and popped down for this view. Wasn't really a path, so had to drag myself back up to the canal along the banister.

Time to cross the Edstone Aqueduct again.

One last look before we returned to Birmingham. The car park is to the left. Good point to start walks, take your dog for a walk, or bike rides.

There is at least one or two other aqueducts on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal that I've yet to walk over. But waiting until the late Spring to go over the Edstone Aqueduct (even under lockdown) was worth it. And was best to wait till now, as in the winter, it might have been muddy on the canal. Some of the towpath was really dry, and the mud or soil was cracked (and hard to walk over).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

 

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70 passion points
Transport
11 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Airlines gone but not forgotten at Birmingham Airport: Flybe with their Embraer E-Jet's

Flybe went out of business in early March 2020 as the pandemic took hold on the world. They were founded in 1970 (as Jersey European Airways). They had routes all over Europe and connected England to Scotland and to Northern Ireland by plane. To Europe they used the Embraer E175 and E195 jets. 

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Airlines gone but not forgotten at Birmingham Airport: Flybe with their Embraer E-Jet's





Flybe went out of business in early March 2020 as the pandemic took hold on the world. They were founded in 1970 (as Jersey European Airways). They had routes all over Europe and connected England to Scotland and to Northern Ireland by plane. To Europe they used the Embraer E175 and E195 jets. 


flybe

I previously covered the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 in this post here: Flybe Bombardier Dash 8 Q400: The fastest way from A to Flybe - Faster than Road or Rail.

This time we are going to cover the Embraer E-Jet planes that Flybe used in their last decade of operation.

The Embraer E-Jet is a narrow-body short to medium range twin engines jet airliners, carrying 66 to 12 passengers commercially. Made by Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer. Flybe had the Embraer 175 from 2010. And the Embraer 195 from 2005 until 2020.

 

Seen at Birmingham Airport during June 2012 was this Flybe Embraer E-195 plane. We were at the airport waiting to catch our flight to Naples with Thomson Airways at the time.

I saw this Flybe plane take off from Birmingham Airport from the Sheldon Country Park during February 2015. It was an Embraer E-195.

This Flybe plane was seen from Stechford Station taking off from Birmingham Airport, during September 2015. Another Embraer E-195.

In March 2016 from the Sheldon Country Park. After I saw the Emirates Airbus A380 landing at Birmingham Airport for the first time, saw this Flybe plane taxiing to the runway ready to take off.

As before it was an Embraer E-195. Shortly after this it took off from runway 15.

Another Flybe Embraer E-195 had just landed and was taxiing back to the terminal building.

I was walking back to Marston Green Station. There is a good view from the path, if you can see planes on the taxiiway.

At Birmingham Airport in June 2016. In the terminal building heading to the gate to get our Flybe flight to Milan Malpensa Airport on an Embraer 175 for the Lake Como holiday in Italy. The window was a bit obscured if you want to take photos of the planes.

Having boarded our flight to Milan, saw another Flybe Embraer 175 next to our plane.

The plane wing of our Flybe plane, and the tail end of the one next to it.

One week later back at Birmingham Airport at the beginning of July 2016. Our plane had just arrived back at the terminal building. Meanwhile luggage was heading to the other Flybe plane next to ours, as we waited to get off this one.

Back to the Sheldon Country Park in November 2016. A bit of lunchtime plane spotting. Saw this Flybe Embraer E-175 take off.

Turning around as I saw the Flybe Embraer E-175 go on it's way.

In March 2017, I was walking down Church Road in Sheldon, when I saw this Flybe Embraer 175 taking off from Birmingham Airport.

Back at Birmingham Airport in June 2017 for another holiday. This time flying to Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport for Burgundy in France. Passengers seen boarding this  Embraer 175, going up the steps at the front. Seen through one of those fuzzy windows in the terminal building, as we headed for the gate.

Saw another Flybe Embraer 175 as I waited in the area near the departure gates.

It was raining that morning at Birmingham Airport. As I saw another Flybe Embraer 175 come in.

In October 2017, I was on a train heading for Coventry, seeing the last of the Monarch planes (after they went bust). I also saw this purple Welcome to Yorkshire livery on this Flybe Embraer 195.

There was also a Qatar Airways plane to the left. Was steps at the front of the Welcome to Yorkshire plane, but I don't think it was set up for passengers to get on board. Maybe just the airline staff.

During August 2018 I headed for the plane spotting area near the Coventry Road, on the A45. The walk from the Holiday Inn, crossing at the traffic lights, then walking around the semi circle, until you are on the path over where the planes take off from runway 33.  One of the planes to take off at the time was this Flybe Embraer 175.

There area is called the Birmingham Airport Viewing Area South End. I've only been to it once. And it is possible to walk beyond here to Catherine-de-Barnes. The Flybe plane goes on it's way to it's destination after leaving Birmingham Airport.

I was back at Stechford Station in October 2018, as the clocks went back to GMT. While waiting for my train, saw planes taking off from Birmingham Airport. Saw the purple Welcome to Yorkshire Flybe plane again. Was an Embraer 195. Probably the same plane I'd seen from the train in October 2017.

Was also this Flybe plane in their normal sky blue and white colours taking off. This one was a Embraer 175.

A Flybe plane takes off from Birmingham Airport in August 2019. Seen from the local bus stops, I was waiting for an X1 to Birmingham, but ended up getting an X12 to Solihull Town Centre instead. This is a sight you will no longer see sadly from Birmingham Airport (a Flybe plane taking off).

The last time I saw the purple Welcome to Yorkshire Flybe plane landing at Birmingham Airport was from Stechford Station in December 2019. The airline would go out of business 3 months later. It was the same plane that I saw before in previous years. Was at Stechford to see the last of Virgin Trains before they handed over the West Coast Mainline franchise to Avanti West Coast. Was also delays with the trains on London Northwestern Railway, so was at the station for about an hour.

Next time we will cover Thomas Cook Airlines, who also recently ceased to exist.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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