Green travel
11 May 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Velo Birmingham at Victoria Square

On the 10th and 11th May 2019, Velo Birmingham & Midlands was at Victoria Square in Birmingham. For cyclists to register for the event, and there was also stands there with information and bikes there too. Velo Birmingham took place on Sunday 12th May 2019. Starting at Birmingham for a 100 mile ride around the Midlands. Including to Coventry and around Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

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Velo Birmingham at Victoria Square




On the 10th and 11th May 2019, Velo Birmingham & Midlands was at Victoria Square in Birmingham. For cyclists to register for the event, and there was also stands there with information and bikes there too. Velo Birmingham took place on Sunday 12th May 2019. Starting at Birmingham for a 100 mile ride around the Midlands. Including to Coventry and around Warwickshire and Worcestershire.


Over the 10th and 11th May 2019, Velo Birmingham were set up in Victoria Square. So that cyclist could register for the event, pick up their number and get a goody bag! The main event itself was held on Sunday 12th May 2019 around Birmingham & the Midlands. That was effecting road closures and buses would have to be diverted. I wasn't expecting to get out to see the cyclists riding around the city and the West Midlands, but this gathering in Victoria Square will do (I'm not a cyclist, have never ridden a bike, or owned one!).

Riders can ride 100 miles or 42 miles.

A look around Victoria Square. No sooner had the Knife Angel been installed in the square, that they set up the Velo Birmingham event all around! This to the right of the Knife Angel and left of the Queen Victoria statue.

Help Desk. Insturctions for registering for the event. Was a lot of people around.

The Cycle Republic Mini will be the events crew car.

The Cycle Republic Mini looking towards the Council House.

Enjoy The Ride! This seen at the bottom of Victoria Square near New Street and the newly opened Nandos.

Stands including West Midlands Cycle and West Midlands Network.

West Midlands Railway were there too!

Velo Birmingham & Midlands banners seen near the Knife Angel from Chamberlain Square, looking towards Victoria Square House.

The view from Colmore Row towards the Town Hall.

Good luck to all the riders taking part. (am assuming that this will go up after the Velo Birmingham event has finished).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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Transport
06 May 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Class 165 trains with Chiltern Railways, between Stratford-upon-Avon / Leamington Spa to Birmingham Moor Street

Here we will take a look at the slowest trains on the Chiltern Railways network, as seen in the West Midlands region. From Birmingham Moor Street to Leamington Spa, and also at Stratford-upon-Avon. They stop at stations such as Lapworth and Hatton, as well as Warwick, Solihull and Dorridge (not in that order).

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Class 165 trains with Chiltern Railways, between Stratford-upon-Avon / Leamington Spa to Birmingham Moor Street




Here we will take a look at the slowest trains on the Chiltern Railways network, as seen in the West Midlands region. From Birmingham Moor Street to Leamington Spa, and also at Stratford-upon-Avon. They stop at stations such as Lapworth and Hatton, as well as Warwick, Solihull and Dorridge (not in that order).


The Class 165 trains with Chiltern Railways are operated on their lines from London Marylebone towards Leamington Spa, Birmingham Moor Street and also Stratford-upon-Avon. They were built between 1990 and 1992 originally for Network SouthEast. They were refurbished between 2003 and 2005. With Chiltern they are known as Chiltern Turbos.

Seen at Stratford-upon-Avon Station during January 2013 was Chiltern Railways 165035. Passengers heading to or from London Marylebone can get the train from or to here. Tourists can come up from London to experience the tourist attractions in Stratford-upon-Avon, including Shakespeare's Birthplace, and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre etc.

In October 2011 at Leamington Spa Station was Chiltern Railways 165018. It was heading towards Stratford-upon-Avon. This was one of my earliest photos of a Class 165 train, but I would take some more at London Marylebone Station during November 2011.

Seen in May 2016 stopping at Warwick Station was Chiltern Railways 165023. It was heading to Leamington Spa from Birmingham Moor Street. I later got this train back to Solihull, and would ride it again a year latter when I went to Hatton. That weekend was the Wembley Special timetable, as the FA Cup Final was on that Sunday.

At Warwick Parkway Station after a walk up the Grand Union Canal, from Warwick Station, during April 2019. I found that the pair of Class 165's that pass this station don't stop here. such as Chiltern Railways 165005 heading up to Birmingham Moor Street. But the Class 168 Clubman's usually stop here between Birmingham Snow Hill and London Marylebone!

For another Grand Union Canal walk during March 2017, up the Hatton Locks, I got Chiltern Railways 165023 from Solihull to Hatton Station. After a walk around the Hatton area, then heading up past the Hatton Locks of the Grand Union Canal, I returned to Hatton Station. After a wait of around an hour on a Sunday afternoon (having just missed the last train), I would get 165023 again back to Solihull.

My first visit to Dorridge by train was during January 2017. Seen at Dorridge Station was Chiltern Railways 165005. I was waiting for a London Midland train back to Acocks Green, but was more convenient to get this back to Solihull instead (and then get a bus from Solihull).

Not stopping at Widney Manor Station during February 2013 was Chiltern Railways 165005. This station in Solihull is close to the M42 motorway, and near the number 5 bus route. Chiltern trains rarely stop here apart from rare evenings in the rush hour. Widney Manor Golf Club and the River Blythe are nearby to this station.

I mostly get Chiltern Railways trains from Solihull Station, my local station on the line down to London Marylebone, but in recent years I have been going to the intermediate stops in the West Midlands and Warwickshire! Chiltern Railways 165007 seen during May 2013, stopping at Solihull before resuming it's journey to Leamington Spa. Is this James Bond 007's train of choice?

I saw Chiltern Railways 165005 passing Acocks Green Station during January 2017. It was heading from Leamington Spa to Birmingham Moor Street. I was waiting for my London Midland train down to Dorridge that day. I later caught this train from Dorridge back to Solihull, rather than wait for another Class 172 train back to Acocks Green!

I saw Chiltern Railways 165020 passing Tyseley Station during December 2013. It was heading non-stop towards Leamington Spa, with it's next stop being Solihull. At the time I was doing the unusual journey from Hall Green to Solihull via Tyseley. I would normally get the bus down to Solihull. In terms of Tyseley I can get the 4 or 4A bus there on the Warwick Road (they were previously the no 37 bus). I saw this train again a few hours later at Solihull Station. Seen behind is the Tyseley Energy from Waste Plant at the Tyseley Tip (household and recycling centre for south east Birmingham). You normally see the chimney pumping out fumes!

Seen at platform 4 at Birmingham Moor Street Station during February 2014 was Chiltern Railways 165019. I had just got off this train, having ridden it from Solihull. The train headed over the Bordesley Viaduct quite slowly! These trains are small, but quite comfortable to ride.

I normally only see Class 168's or Class 172's over at Birmingham Snow Hill, so will stop here for now with the Class 165 trains.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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Green travel
04 May 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Sky Ride Birmingham 2012 and 2013

While this event is no longer held in Birmingham, there used to be a Sky Ride event in the city back in 2012 and 2013. In 2012 it was around Edgbaston. In 2013 around Digbeth. Families could ride together along the route wearing a Sky Ride yellow bib! While we haven't had Sky Ride since 2013, a few years later was replaced by Lets Ride Birmingham sponsored by HSBC UK.

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Sky Ride Birmingham 2012 and 2013




While this event is no longer held in Birmingham, there used to be a Sky Ride event in the city back in 2012 and 2013. In 2012 it was around Edgbaston. In 2013 around Digbeth. Families could ride together along the route wearing a Sky Ride yellow bib! While we haven't had Sky Ride since 2013, a few years later was replaced by Lets Ride Birmingham sponsored by HSBC UK.


Sky Ride Birmingham 2012: Edgbaston

This event was held on Sunday 19th August 2012.

Seen on the Edgbaston Park Road.

Passing Edgbaston Park at The Vale (University of Birmingham).

Passing a man with Union Jack balloons, looked like a clown with that wig on!

Near the top of Edgbaston Park Road. I think it was bidirectional on this road.

This bunch was turning from Church Road onto Edgbaston Park Road. Barriers round the corner blocked access to Arthur Road.

Sky Ride Birmingham 2013: Digbeth

This event was held on Sunday the 13th September 2013. Around Highgate, Digbeth and Eastside.

Seen on Rea Street South in Highgate. Bidirectional on this road. Many side roads were closed at the time.

Seen on Moseley Street in Highgate.

Passing the Custard Factory on High Street Deritend in Digbeth.

This was seen on River Street in Digbeth. Bidirectional on this section of the route.

On Fazeley Street in Digbeth, heading for Eastside. Hotel La Tour is now the Clayton Hotel. Masshouse on the right. Bidirectional here too!

On New Canal Street in Eastside, between The Woodman pub and Curzon Street Station. The route ended / started near Millennium Point in Eastside City Park.

While there has been no more Sky Ride's in Birmingham since 2013, Birmingham has had Velo Birmingham in September 2017. But that is for professional cyclists. The next Velo will be held on Sunday 12th May 2019 throughout Birmingham and the West Midlands. But there is an event coming for amateur cyclists, Lets Ride Birmingham. Sponsored by HSBC UK. To be held on Sunday 9th June 2019.

I saw this in the window of the HSBC UK bank on Poplar Road in Solihull Town Centre, about Lets Ride. HSBC UK are a proud partner of British Cycling.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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Transport
03 May 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

From the plane wing at Birmingham Airport

The view from the window on the planes I've been on at Birmingham Airport, usually close to the wing! Either heading off on holiday, or coming back! Airlines in the past included BMI Baby (now defunct), Thomson Airways (now TUI), Monarch (now defunct), Flybe and Jet2.

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From the plane wing at Birmingham Airport




The view from the window on the planes I've been on at Birmingham Airport, usually close to the wing! Either heading off on holiday, or coming back! Airlines in the past included BMI Baby (now defunct), Thomson Airways (now TUI), Monarch (now defunct), Flybe and Jet2.


BMI Baby

It was May 2011, and we were heading off to Provence in the South of France. The airport we were going to was Nice. First off after a delay, an Esso tanker stopped by to fill up the plane with fuel! We went to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Avignon and other places at the time.

One week later and back from Provence and Nice Airport! Next to my BMI Baby plane was an Air France by Britair jet. We had a delay in Nice of around an hour, waiting for the plane to get fuel. May have been a strike on at the time in France.

Air France by Britair seen pulling out. Aer Lingus and Thomson in the background.

Thomson Airways

In June 2012 we were heading for Sorrento and Naples in southern Italy. During the summer of 2012, the air traffic control tower had the Olympic rings on it for the London 2012 Olympic Games (it now has a Flybe sign on it). We came back a week later at night, but my camera at the time wasn't very good at taking night shots out of the plane window! So only daylight heading to Naples Airport! Went to the ruins of Pompeii on that holiday!

Monarch

In June 2014 coming back from Malaga in Spain, after a tour of "Classical Spain", which included stays and visits to Cordoba, Seville, Granada and other places. Here landed back at Birmingham Airport from Malaga Airport. SAS Airlines plane seen in the background.

Air India plane seen from the Monarch plane I was on.

The Monarch plane with yellow tip.

Flybe

Been with Flybe in 2016 and 2017. In June 2016 headed to Lake Como and we went to Milan-Malpensa Airport. This holiday also included visits to Lake Maggiore and a ride on the world famous Bernina Express from Italy to Switzerland.

Flybe wing on my plane, to the tail of the other Flybe plane.

A week later back at Birmingham Airport at the beginning of July 2016. Another Flybe plane seen next to the one I was about to get off! A year later in early June 2017 we flew to Lyon with Flybe. The airport we went to at the time was Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport. That was for a holiday in Lyon and Burgundy, including a stay in Beaune. Including visits to a few abbeys and villages as well as wine tasting in a former convent in Beaune.

Jet2.com

June 2018 and this holiday was to Florence and Tuscany. We went to Pisa Airport. A week later at the beginning of July 2018, landing back at Birmingham Airport. It was in the late evening when we got back (after a few delays at the Pisa end). That week we had also been to Volterra, Pisa, Lucca, Siena and San Gimignano.

My Jet2 plane heading to a stop. Lights on at the terminal at Birmingham Airport.

Another Jet2.com plane seen at Birmingham Airport, shortly before we got off. They have that annoying jingle on the plane, usually when you get on, an when you get off! You know, the one in the TV adverts!

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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Transport
27 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

4651 a National Express West Midlands bus in classic Birmingham City Transport colours

Recently I've kept seeing a National Express West Midlands bus in classic Birmingham City Transport livery colours. 4651 based at Acocks Green usually goes on the 1, 1A, 4 or 4A bus routes. I had a ride of this bus finally in late April 2019 from Carrs Lane, near M & S in Birmingham City Centre to Warwick Road in Acocks Green Village. I've also seen it in Solihull!

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4651 a National Express West Midlands bus in classic Birmingham City Transport colours




Recently I've kept seeing a National Express West Midlands bus in classic Birmingham City Transport livery colours. 4651 based at Acocks Green usually goes on the 1, 1A, 4 or 4A bus routes. I had a ride of this bus finally in late April 2019 from Carrs Lane, near M & S in Birmingham City Centre to Warwick Road in Acocks Green Village. I've also seen it in Solihull!


I first saw this National Express West Midlands bus 4651 in the classic Birmingham City Transport livery during March 2019. It was coming off the 1A bus route from the QE Hospital. I had gotten off the 4A bus and headed to the 11C bus stop on the Westley Road outside of Acocks Green Bowl. I quickly took this photo on my smartphone camera! I've been seeing it again ever since, usually as the 4 or 4A. Sometimes it's on the 1 or 1A bus routes as well. Based at Acocks Green Bus Garage.

I was able to get another photo of 4651 in Solihull. This is the roundabout between Prince's Way, Blossomfield Road, Streetsbrook Road, Lode Lane and Station Road. This was in the middle of April 2019. I think they may have done this livery to celebrate the end of Birmingham City Transport which ended 50 years ago in 1969 when it was taken over by the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive.

Late April 2019, and I saw 4651 as the 4 at the bus stop on Carrs Lane in Birmingham City Centre, and I caught it towards Acocks Green Village. Didn't take a photo before getting on the bus, but took this from the other side of the Warwick Road, before it resumed it's journey to Solihull Town Centre! The bus stop is close to Wilko and a zebra crossing that I use when I get off the 4 or 4A (was the 37 until July 2018).

I went up to the top deck of 4651 when the bus was at Carrs Lane. I only get photos like this when the top deck is empty (would rather not take it if full of passengers behind me). Sat at the front. Just the standard NXWM interior. Although the seat coverings may have been changed. But they haven't made the interiors look like a classic BCT bus.

Sitting at the front of the bus while on Carrs Lane, above me was the number 4651. The bus windows were more or less dry on the journey to Acocks Green, apart from the odd rain drops, due to the strong winds and light rain outside the bus!

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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Transport
27 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Air Rail Link: from Birmingham Airport to Birmingham International Station and vice versa!

Between Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International Station is the Air Rail Link, a free mono rail style car that gets passengers between the airport and railway station, or the other way around! It also means you have a convenient link from the Airport to the NEC as well! There is two cars that goes along the raised tracks. The airport end is on the first floor.

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Air Rail Link: from Birmingham Airport to Birmingham International Station and vice versa!




Between Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International Station is the Air Rail Link, a free mono rail style car that gets passengers between the airport and railway station, or the other way around! It also means you have a convenient link from the Airport to the NEC as well! There is two cars that goes along the raised tracks. The airport end is on the first floor.


The first photo I took of the Air Rail Link was from outside of Birmingham Airport during November 2015. At this point I had yet to have a ride of it between Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International Station, or in the other direction. I wasn't even sure where the station at the Birmingham Airport end was at that point!

Some clearer views from January 2017. Seen from Bickenhill Lane on my walk towards Birmingham International Station. The 966 bus from Solihull (now the X12) normally heads towards Birmingham International Station first before Birmingham Airport, so I got off the bus a stop or two before the station. The X1 bus (formerly the 900) always goes towards Birmingham Airport, before Birmingham International Station first.

Passing the car park at Birmingham International Station. The only windows that you can see out of are front and back. On the sides were Fly Emirates adverts for holidayds to Australia (not good for taking photos out of the windows, so can only do that at the front or back!).

I had a close up look at one of the Air Rail Link vehicles at Birmingham International Interchange Station during January 2017. At this point, wasn't sure if the Air Rail Link was free or if you had to pay. But I later found out that it is free to ride. So that time I ended up going down the escalators and catching an X1 bus back to Birmingham instead!

On to February 2017, and I was back at Birmingham Airport. I still wasn't sure where the Birmingham Airport Station was at this point (later found out that it was on the first floor above the departures check in area). This view was close to the local bus stops. You can catch the X1 to Birmingham or Coventry. The X12 to Solihull or Birmingham. The occasional National Express coach also stops down here.

The Air Rail Link heading past one of the multi-storey car parks at Birmingham Airport. This view was taken from the X1 bus back to Birmingham. I would later try and ride the Air Rail Link during July 2017 for the first time from Birmingham International Station towards Birmingham Airport, to see what it's like.

In July 2017, I finally got a chance to ride the Air Rail Link, while the Big Sleuth trail was on. After getting the bears at Resorts World, I was aware of several little bears at the airport. This vehicle seen from Birmingham International Interchange Station.

I somehow missed the little sleuth bears, as I went down the escalators , thinking that they were in departures near the various check in desks (they weren't). The trail of small bears across Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country was officially called "The Big Sleuth presents the Little Bears Detective Club". They were not that far from Birmingham Airport Station near one of the bars. Eventually time to get the Air Rail Link back to Birmingham International, so I could catch a train to Birmingham New Street!

The Air Rail Link car on the right heading from Birmingham Airport Station to Birmingham International Station. I was waiting for the one on the left to arrive!

And here's the one that I caught to Birmingham International Station back in July 2017. There is two compartments, and the doors have to line up with the glass doors in the station. A bit like the Jubilee Line on the London Underground. The doors must line up so that people can get off, and people can get in!

The seats at the window ends, means if you want to look out, you have to turn around, or stand up. Taking photos out of the sides were obscured by the advertisments, so out of the front window was best. I was on the car heading back to Birmingham International Interchange Station. While the other car was heading back to Birmingham Airport Station!

After arriving at Birmingham International Interchange, I took this photo after the other passengers got off, and before I got off! It's usually full of passengers, and I wouldn't want to take it with them in there! So just a quick photo, before the next load of passengers boarded for Birmingham Airport! As you can see there is only benches at the front or back ends, or standing and holding onto the poles. Even inside was an advert for Emirates to Australia!

For more photos see my album on Flickr, including the photos of the tracks. Birmingham Air-Rail Link, Flickr.

My first YouTube video that I made in August 2018 is here Birmingham Air Rail Link, YouTube. That's mostly a slideshow with the video clip at the end!

My second YouTube video is here from November 2018. Air-Rail Link from Birmingham International Interchange to Birmingham Airport, YouTube. That's the full ride towards the Airport!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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Transport
24 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Vintage buses seen around the West Midlands

I first started to spot vintage buses around Birmingham and the West Midlands around 2011, and have kept seeing them ever since. Including the buses going between Acocks Green and Yardley Wood bus garage during the October 2013 open days. Sometimes the bus just randomly goes past me when I was least expecting it!

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Vintage buses seen around the West Midlands




I first started to spot vintage buses around Birmingham and the West Midlands around 2011, and have kept seeing them ever since. Including the buses going between Acocks Green and Yardley Wood bus garage during the October 2013 open days. Sometimes the bus just randomly goes past me when I was least expecting it!


Starting with this bus on Edmund Street in Birmingham, I saw it during May 2011, and I think it's the first old bus that I took a photo of in Birmingham! Now owned by what was the Aston Manor Transport Museum (now based in Aldridge). This bus celebrated 100 years of public transport in Walsall. Reg no: JOV 714P, WMPTE 4714, Bristol VRT/SL2/6LX with Metro-Cammell H43/33F body. Dates from 1976.

During my first train trip to Bromsgrove in April 2013, on my walk back from Bromsgrove Town Centre to the old Bromsgrove Station, saw this bus at the lights on the A38. I was crossing over New Road. Reg no: XDH 516G, 116, Walsall Corporation, Daimler Fleetline. Built in 1968, was taken over by WMPTE in 1969.

Sarah's Diner spotted near Amber Way in Halesowen during January 2019. Reg no: TVP 875S, 6875, MCW bodied Leyland Fleetline, WM Travel. Formerly used on the 11 Outer Circle in Birmingham.

Now a look at the former Birmingham City Transport buses used during the October 2013 open days between Acocks Green and Yardley Wood bus garages.

There was at least 3 vintage buses that you could catch a free ride between both bus garages on Saturday 5th October 2013. One of them was this former Birmingham City Transport bus, 3225, MOF 225. Seen at the Summer Road bus stop close to Acocks Green Bus Garage in the Fox Hollies area of Birmingham.

I was going to catch a free bus ride from Acocks Green to Yardley Wood. I think the bus in front with 90 Pheasey Estate via Kingstanding on it, was getting full, so I got on the blue Timesaver bus behind. See this post for more of that Timesaver 900 - vintage bus ride from Acocks Green to Yardley Wood Bus Garages, October 2013.

A bit more close up to both buses on Summer Road, Acocks Green.

One last look before I got on the old Timesaver blue bus behind. This car was parked near the road, so the bus had to park awkwardly next to it, to pick up passengers heading to Yardley Wood Bus Garage.

Later after I had visited my first Yardley Wood Bus Garage open day, I left via School Road in Yardley Wood and saw 3225 heading past me! Still taking bus passengers between both garages.

Seen continuing on it's way towards Yardley Wood Bus Garage on School Road, Yardley Wood. Shortly after this, I would get a no 3 bus back towards Swanshurst Park.

Here 3225 had just arrived on Yardley Wood Road outside of Yardley Wood Bus Garage. I myself had got off the blue Timesaver bus behind (before I went into the bus garage for the first time). The bus was already full.

Sometimes 3225 goes past you unexpectedly like when I was walking up the Warwick Road in Acocks Green, around about the time when National Express West Midlands was going to renumber the 37 as the 4 and 4A, so seeing this old Birmingham City Transport bus going up here was not expected during July 2018!

Forgive the quality of this photo, as it was a mobile phone photo taken on James Watt Queensway during November 2017 (I have also cropped it). 3225, MOF 225 seen passing Aston University and the Law Courts. Another random unexpected sight of this particular heritage bus!

This bus is used every year at the St Patrick's Day Parade in Digbeth. 3225, MOF 225 (I think) seen at the 2015 parade. As the 50 from West Midlands Travel. One of National Express West Midlands green electric hybrid buses was behind (then on the 23 and 24, now on the 61 and 63, repainted red outside).

Saw 3225, MOF 225 again at the 2018 St Patrick's Day Parade in Digbeth. Seen passing the Bull Ring Tavern, from this Moor Street Car Park view, zoomed in. Heading round Digbeth onto St Martin's Lane (one of the shortest roads in the city centre) and then going round onto Moat Lane. This is the reverse of the way buses normally go around Digbeth to the Bullring!

Getting back to the October 2013 open day, another vintage bus was taking passengers between Acocks Green and Yardley Wood bus garages. While I didn't see it at either bus garage, I did see it on the School Road in Yardley Wood. 3472, BON 472C, as the 4 to Pool Farm and Cotteridge, Birmingham City Transport.

Here it would pass over a bridge near the Stratford-on-Avon Canal. I think this was the only single decker bus that they were using that day!

In November 2018, I saw this old Birmingham City Transport bus heading off Highfield Road and onto Fox Hollies Road in Hall Green. Seen here crossing over the Stratford Road. Reg no: JOJ 548, 2548, Birmingham City Transport, built in 1950. It was a few days before the Yardley Wood Bus Garage open day that would be held on Saturday 10th November 2018, and I was wondering if it was heading towards Acocks Green Bus Garage?

Seen on the Fox Hollies Road in Hall Green. It's route number was the 9 to Quinton.

One last look at this bus passing me on the Fox Hollies Road in Hall Green. Advert at the back: "Avoid the race for car park space Take a Bus to any place".

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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Transport
18 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Timesaver 900 - vintage bus ride from Acocks Green to Yardley Wood Bus Garages, October 2013

We continue our look back to the bus garage open days of October 2013 with this vintage bus ride from Acocks Green to Yardley Wood Bus Garages on Saturday 5th October 2013. Starting at Summer Lane in Acocks Green ending at Yardley Wood Road outside the other bus garage! Timesaver 900 in blue livery. I would supect that the bus used to be used on the Coventry Road (the modern X1 bus route).

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Timesaver 900 - vintage bus ride from Acocks Green to Yardley Wood Bus Garages, October 2013




We continue our look back to the bus garage open days of October 2013 with this vintage bus ride from Acocks Green to Yardley Wood Bus Garages on Saturday 5th October 2013. Starting at Summer Lane in Acocks Green ending at Yardley Wood Road outside the other bus garage! Timesaver 900 in blue livery. I would supect that the bus used to be used on the Coventry Road (the modern X1 bus route).


This West Midlands Travel blue bus was one of three buses that was used to transport passengers (for free) between Acocks Green and Yardley Wood Bus Garages on Saturday 5th October 2013. On the occasions of both bus garages then 75th birthday. Open days were being held at the same time at both garages, and these bus rides was a convenient way of getting between both open days!

West Midlands Travel Timesaver was used on the former 900 route between Coventry and Birmingham, via Meriden, The NEC & Birmingham Airport and then up the Coventry Road via Sheldon, South Yardley, Hay Mills and Small Heath. The bus identification number was 2957. Licence plate number: D957 NDA.

 

Starting at the bus stop on Summer Lane (not too far from Acocks Green Bus Garage). This bus stop is sometimes used by the no 1 bus route (NXWM keeps changing the route). It was used recently for the 1 and 1A, but is now not in use again (since they changed the route back).

I sat somewhere near the back of the bus on the bottom deck. This is the interior of an 1980s bus!

Some of the old WM Travel adverts on the wall near the ceiling of the bottom deck. This one showing a map of the West Midlands with the locations of the WM Travelshop's across the county!

This one "Get Around for Less". About the Travelcard and Clubcard. The dates on it 1993, make it as it was in the 1990s!

I remember seeing these ones on the buses in the 1990s! "Something interesting to read on the journey. Your bus ticket.". I'm not sure anyone actually bothered to read it by the way! Garage code, bus number, service number, time, date, ticket serial number, stage number, fare and class of ticket. "Know Your Ticket". By the time people had bus passes or smartcards or apps, I don't think you'd be spending time staring at your pass (apart from when the inspector comes on board of course).

It's rare now for buses to have adverts about "new" cars but in the late 1980s, they had this for for the Ford Escort Cabriolet! A convertible "ideal for the British summer".

About 15 minutes later we were in Yardley Wood! The bus standing outside of Yardley Wood Bus Garage on the Yardley Wood Road. Many passengers getting off to start their visit to the bus garage open day in Yardley Wood.

One of the older vintage buses was also parked outside of the garage. Both buses ready to take passengers back to Acocks Green. That bus (on the left) had the route number  90 and destination Pheasey Estate via Kingstanding. That was MOF 225 / 3225.

I later saw the Timesaver 900 bus heading over this canal bridge on School Road in Yardley Wood.

Another view of the bus on the School Road in Yardley Wood.

Bonus photos of the Timesaver bus at the Yardley Wood Bus Garage open day in November 2018, for the garages 80th birthday! This open day was held on Saturday 10th November 2018, was a bit of a wet day outside!

Timesaver seen from within Yardley Wood Bus Garage.

Seen from outside the garage, as I started my walk to see other heritage buses towards the Maypole!

They had cleared the route number and destination board at the front, but only had 2957 on the side where the route number would usually be!

Later saw the Timesaver bus from the no 50 bus on Alcester Road South! Doing the loop around Kings Heath, Maypole, Yardley Wood and Billesley!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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Green travel
17 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A look at the Grand Union Canal from Birmingham to Leamington Spa

The Grand Union Canal links Birmingham to London, but here we will just look at the areas from Birmingham towards Leamington Spa. Made up of smaller canals bought by the Regents Canal Company in the 1920s. Many locks were widened for double sized barges, although they ended up being used by pairs of narrowboats instead! Through Acocks Green, Olton, Hatton, Warwick and Leamington Spa.

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A look at the Grand Union Canal from Birmingham to Leamington Spa




The Grand Union Canal links Birmingham to London, but here we will just look at the areas from Birmingham towards Leamington Spa. Made up of smaller canals bought by the Regents Canal Company in the 1920s. Many locks were widened for double sized barges, although they ended up being used by pairs of narrowboats instead! Through Acocks Green, Olton, Hatton, Warwick and Leamington Spa.


Starting at Spaghetti Junction, below the M6 motorway is Salford Junction. This is where the Grand Union Canal starts in north Birmingham (unless you count Bordesley Junction as the start). At Salford Junction is the Salford Junction Bridge. The canals going left and right is the Tame Valley Canal and the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. Above is the concrete and graffiti carrying the M6 motorway at the Gravelley Hill Interchange aka Spaghetti Junction. The canal was formerly called the Birmingham & Warwick Junction Canal until it was bought in 1929 by the Regent's Canal company to form the Grand Union Canal. It goes down to Bordesley linking up with the Digbeth Branch of the Grand Union Canal.

This April 2018 view of the Grand Union Canal from near the Bordesley Village. Near the Garrison Lane Bridge. Towards The Village Bridge. Graffiti street art for the Canal & River Trust and Phoenix Hall below Bordesley Village. Not far from here is St Andrew's home of Birmingham City FC.

Near Bordesley Middleway the canal locks that leads onto the Grand Union Canal. The railway bridge of the Snow Hill lines and to the right was the Holy Trinity Church in this view from October 2009. The canal lock is labelled "Bordesley Middle Way no 1". This direction towards Small Heath. Digbeth is back around the loop to the right of here. Time to head off to the suburbs!

Seen near the Westley Vale Millennium Green in Acocks Green. A look at the Grand Union Canal during May 2015. So lush and green at this time of year! The canal down here was the Warwick & Birmingham Canal before becoming part of the Grand Union Canal. Seen from bridge no 86, dating to the late 18th century. Also known as the Woodcock Lane Bridge. This area is not that far from Acocks Green Station.

Now the canal heads through Solihull. First a look at the canal in Olton, not far from Olton Station. Seen from the Richmond Road Bridge during January 2013. There had been a bit of snow at this point of the year, but mostly melted. The towpaths can get quite muddy in Solihull!

An April 2018 walk from Solihull to Catherine-de-Barnes started at the Damson Parkway Bridge and ended at the Hampton Lane Bridge in Catherine-de-Barnes, a village in Solihull Borough. The towpath was very muddy! Mud on my jeans and shoes! Later took a path back via some fields back to Solihull. A pair of narrowboats seen near the Hampton Lane Bridge, where I got off the muddy towpath to have a look at the village! Yes, it's possible to walk from Solihull Town Centre to Catherine-de-Barnes via the Grand Union Canal!

Down to Warwickshire now, and the Hatton Locks. This was from a visit to Hatton during March 2017, getting the train from Solihull to Hatton. After exploring the area, I made it eventually to Hatton Locks, what a sight to see from the top! This photo was from around lock 42. The locks are known as the "Stairway to Heaven". This was close to the Hatton Wharf.  St Mary's Church in Warwick was visible from this point. I returned to the Hatton Locks two years later during April 2019 (during my Warwick Station to Warwick Parkway Station walk). That ended near the Hatton Bottom Lock. The canal here was still formerly part of the Warwick & Birmingham Canal, only ending at Budbrooke Junction, near the Saltisford Arm.

In Warwick from the Coventry Road Bridge. This view of the Grand Union Canal, Kate Boats in Warwick is on the right. Many narrowboats were moored here. My April 2019 walk along the Grand Union Canal in Warwick started from the Coventry Road Bridge, but first a look at the side that I didn't walk up. Got the train to Warwick Station with the intention of walking towards Warwick Parkway Station. The walk takes you past many bridges. The canal here was formerly the Warwick & Napton Canal. It leads to Budbrooke Junction. I got off the canal at the Birmingham Road Bridge and saw the Saltisford Arm, but had to get back on the other side, towards the Hatton Bottom Lock, before getting off again near Warwick Parkway Station!

The Grand Union Canal was looking lush and green during May 2016 in Leamington Spa. Train down from Solihull to Leamington Spa. I got onto the towpath at Old Warwick Road and got off at Tachbrook Road. I think at the time I was thinking of getting on at the road I got off, but plans never go to plan when you get to a location to take photos! Here a narrowboat was going at a leisurely pace along the canal, while a man was jogging along the towpath. The canal here is not that far from Leamington Spa Station. Both the canal and the Chiltern Mainline run quite close to each other in Warwickshire!

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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70 passion points
Green travel
16 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

New blue cycleway open up the A34 towards Perry Barr

Starting from James Watt Queensway, opposite Aston University, this new blue cycleway has opened during April 2019. Going past Lancaster Circus, it then goes up Lancaster Street, then up New Town Row. Continuing on towards Perry Barr on the Birchfield Road. My most recent photos of the route are only the sections close to the city centre, so James Watt Queensway to New Town Row!

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New blue cycleway open up the A34 towards Perry Barr




Starting from James Watt Queensway, opposite Aston University, this new blue cycleway has opened during April 2019. Going past Lancaster Circus, it then goes up Lancaster Street, then up New Town Row. Continuing on towards Perry Barr on the Birchfield Road. My most recent photos of the route are only the sections close to the city centre, so James Watt Queensway to New Town Row!


Seen during August 2018, on James Watt Queensway, this was my first glimpse of the new blue cycling surface, close to Birmingham Children's Hospital and opposite Aston University. The helipad used by the Midlands Air Ambulance is to the left. Quite close to the Steelhouse Conservation Area (where Dalton Street, Ryder Street and Corporation Street meet at the end of the Methodist Central Hall).The route continues down the ramps to the subways of Lancaster Circus, as a no 51 bus was waiting to turn left. This is one of the buses that you can catch up to Perry Barr or Walsall.

I heard via Twitter from Birmingham Cycle Revolution that the A34 Cycle Route had opened the week starting 9th April 2019. They were posting various photos on their Twitter feed, so I wanted to take some myself. I'm just a walker, not a cyclist, but like to see cycle routes around the city! The last time I walked down to Lancaster Circus, I did notice that the cycle route down to the subways hasn't been painted blue (just the old white lines painted on the pavement).

For a lunchtime walk, I left the Aston University Campus and headed over towards Lancaster Circus, and got onto Lancaster Street to see a section of the newly opened blue cycleway on the A34. This section is opposite the student accommodation blocks of Staniforth House, Bagot Street 1 and Bagot Street 2. The only cyclist I saw was from Uber Eats. I headed up towards the Shazam! billboard where I would get off the road at the Lancaster Street Bridge, so I could get onto the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal (where most cyclists would currently ride their bikes!).

The bus stop is placed on the right and the blue cycleway curves around it. Bagot Street 1 and 2 opposite. You would see many National Express West Midlands Platinum buses along the A34 corridor towards Perry Barr and Walsall.

The blue cycleway continues to curve around up New Town Row towards the Birchfield Road. Just about enough room here for a bus lane! Beyond here, the route would head up the Newtown High Street, then past Six Ways Aston, and up the Birchfield Road.

I have yet to check out the section beyond Newtown Middleway / New John Street since the full route was completed! Reckon that I'll need to catch a bus up to Perry Barr, and get photos out of the window at the front of the top deck (on the left), as long as it doesn't rain, and is dry. Previous attempts from a bus window, weren't too great when the window of the bus was covered in condensation from the rain, so best to go up on a dry, sunny spring day!

Check out this video on Facebook, posted by George Everett! The A34 route to Perry Barr is finally open!. A time lapse of the entire route.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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80 passion points
Transport
10 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A selection of vintage buses at the Acocks Green Bus Garage Open Day, October 2013

I missed the last open day at Acocks Green Bus Garage for their 80th birthday in June 2018, but I did go to the previous open day, 5 years earlier in October 2013. A selection of some of the historic buses on show at the time. Was the 75th anniversary of the bus garage. They also had vintage bus rides to Yardley Wood bus garage (but will leave that to another post!)

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A selection of vintage buses at the Acocks Green Bus Garage Open Day, October 2013




I missed the last open day at Acocks Green Bus Garage for their 80th birthday in June 2018, but I did go to the previous open day, 5 years earlier in October 2013. A selection of some of the historic buses on show at the time. Was the 75th anniversary of the bus garage. They also had vintage bus rides to Yardley Wood bus garage (but will leave that to another post!)


Acocks Green Bus Garage - Open Day - Saturday 5th October 2013

The bus garage is home of the World Famous Outer Circle (the 11A and 11C bus routes). Also known now as National Express West Midlands Acocks Green. This open day was to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the opening of this bus garage on the Fox Hollies Road in Acocks Green. That day there was also an open day over at Yardley Wood Bus Garage, and you could catch a free ride on a selection of vintage buses between both bus garages.

This post will just look at some of the vintage buses that were inside of the bus garage that day!

_______________________________________________________________________

Towing - Sandy Lane Garage
105
722 DU
XVC 290

Coventry Corporation Transport

Dated to 1959.

Corley - City Pool Meadow
334
334 CRW

Coventry Corporation Transport

Dated to 1963.

Circular 28
FEA 156
156

West Bromwich Corporation

Dated to 1952.
Daimler CVG5
Metro-Cammell B38R

32 - Gospel Lane Loop via Lakey Lane
LOG 302
3002

Birmingham City Transport

Dated to 1954.

Daimler CLG5LW

MCCW H30/25R

79 - West Bromwich via Bilston
XON 41J
4041

WM Travel

Dated to 1971.
Daimler Fleetline

159 - Coventry via Airport N.E.C. and Meriden
NOA 462X
2462
WM Travel
MCW (Metrobus)

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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50 passion points
Transport
01 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Class 323 EMU's on the Cross City Line: Lichfield via Birmingham New Street to Redditch or Bromsgrove

The Class 323 is one of my favourite trains to ride on in Birmingham. Here we will look at this Electrical Multiple Unit from Lichfield Trent Valley, via Birmingham New Street, down to Redditch. And now a newly opened extension to Bromsgrove! The Cross City South includes the line down beyond Longbridge. Cross City North beyond Sutton Coldfield. Staffordshire to Worcestershire.

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The Class 323 EMU's on the Cross City Line: Lichfield via Birmingham New Street to Redditch or Bromsgrove




The Class 323 is one of my favourite trains to ride on in Birmingham. Here we will look at this Electrical Multiple Unit from Lichfield Trent Valley, via Birmingham New Street, down to Redditch. And now a newly opened extension to Bromsgrove! The Cross City South includes the line down beyond Longbridge. Cross City North beyond Sutton Coldfield. Staffordshire to Worcestershire.


Cross City Line

The Cross City Line opened in 1978. It was extended to Redditch in 1980 and to Lichfield Trent Valley in 1988. The service was extended to Bromsgrove by 2018. The route was electrified in the 1990s, being completed by 1993. The Class 323 Electric Multiple Units first introduced on the service around 1994. After the creation of the Franchising system, Central Trains ran the Cross City line from 1997 to 2007, then London Midland from 2007 to 2017. And now West Midlands Railway from late 2017 to present.

 

Lichfield Trent Valley Station

One of my first rides on the Cross City Line was to Lichfield Trent Valley during early January 2012. The redevelopment of Birmingham New Street Station was in it's earliest years, and I got a train up from Kings Norton. London Midland 323214 was my ride to Lichfield that day. The current northern end of the line / terminus, on the High Level. The Low Level is on the West Coast Main Line, between London Euston and Crewe (back then London Midland, now London Northwestern Railway). You would see non-stopping Virgin Trains services passing there! In Staffordshire.

Lichfield City Station

I have visited Lichfield City Station twice. The first time in January 2012 coming back from my day out in Lichfield. The second time for a return visit during April 2016. The only Class 323 exterior I took there was in 2012. London Midland 323207 was my train back to Kings Norton.

We will next skip a few stations until Four Oaks (I have not got off at the stations in between).

Four Oaks Station

A visit to Four Oaks in Sutton Coldfield during October 2018. By then many of the Class 323 trains under West Midlands Railway were in a orange and white livery. I caught this train West Midlands Railway 323 204 from Birmingham New Street. Mere Green was in walking distance of the station with a new shopping centre. This was platform 3 where the service terminated, it would have waited a while before heading back to Birmingham.

Sutton Coldfield Station

My first visit to Sutton Coldfield by train was during January 2017. Seen arriving at the station was London Midland 323211 on it's way to Lichfield Trent Valley (the destination display doesn't come out too well in photos). I got the train to Sutton Coldfield again during August 2017 while on the Big Sleuth hunt (I didn't go up for the Big Hoot in 2015, as I hadn't visited Sutton Coldfield with my camera at that time). It's also now possible to get the X4 or X5 buses up to Sutton Coldfield instead (much longer journey though). You can see planes coming into land at Birmingham Airport from here.

While I've seen Wylde Green Station, I've not waited to catch a train from there. I almost went down there on my second rail visit to Sutton Coldfield, but ended up getting a bus back to Sutton Coldfield Town Centre, after finding some more Big Sleuth bears in August 2017. Chester Road in Erdington next.

Chester Road Station

My first visit to Erdington by train was during May 2014, mainly to check out the Josiah Mason bust for the first time. So I got the Cross City line up to Chester Road. My more recent second visit was in December 2018. I had got the 11A Outer Circle bus to Erdington, then walked up the High Street, then up Orphanage Road towards the Josiah Mason bust (to see it for a second time). After that I walked up Chester Road to the station. I caught West Midlands Railway 323221 back to Birmingham New Street.

Erdington Station

My May 2014 visit to Erdington that started at Chester Road ended up at Erdington Station. Seen here was London Midland 323207 on it's way to Lichfield Trent Valley. This station is a good place to see planes taking off from Birmingham Airport! Something else other than trains while waiting for my train back to Birmingham New Street.

Gravelly Hill Station

Headed to Gravelly Hill during April 2015, to walk under Spaghetti Junction. My train back to Birmingham New Street had London Midland 323212 at the front (seen below in the photo) and 323243 (which I got on). It's always nice to ride on the train between Gravelly Hill and Aston, below the concrete lanes of Spaghetti Junction, more unique than going in a car! Salford Junction is also nearby, a junction of several canals.

Aston Station

I've been to Aston Station several times over the years. First got off there in 2012. I've also been there in 2016 and 2017. The line to Walsall on the Chase Line diverts to the left, while the line to Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield goes to the right. On New Years Day 2016, I got London Midland 323208 from Birmingham New Street to Aston. This train was going to Lichfield Trent Valley.

Duddeston Station

My first visit to the Birmingham Museums Collections Centre included a stop off at Duddeston on London Midland 323218, which I caught from Kings Norton, in May 2012. Back then I wasn't comfortable with starting at Birmingham New Street, and I used to get the 11C bus to Kings Norton (it was also before I figured out you could buy a ticket on the Snow Hill lines to a destination on another line). Dollman Street is just round the corner from here. Before I left the station, I checked out the face art sculptures on the platform.

Cross City North is done above, now for Birmingham New Street, before we explore Cross City South!

Birmingham New Street Station

Many trips on the Cross City line normally start for me from Birmingham New Street, so I don't always take photos of the Class 323 there! I've been taking photos of these trains there since about 2010. I've watched the station transform from 2010 to 2015, and have continued to use it since it's been completed! I first saw a Class 323 in West Midlands Railway orange and white at Bournville, where I caught this train. West Midlands Railway 323204 seen at Birmingham New Street during August 2018. It stopped at platform 8a.

Five Ways Station

Not a brilliant photo, but a London Midland Class 323 seen at Five Ways station during January 2015 from Bath Row. It is also possible to see the station from Islington Row Middleway, or from the steps down the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. I did once try out using this staiton during April 2015. But didn't get any photos of any Class 323's while I was there. I did get a Class 170, but the only Class 323 I took was going into the tunnel and I had just missed it!

University Station

Went to University Station during July 2017 while on the Big Sleuth hunt. Was several bears to be found around the University of Birmingham. Seen at the station was London Midland 323208. I travelled from Birmingham International via Birmingham New Street to University that day! Was also bears at Resorts World. I previously tried to use the station in March 2012 to go to Tamworth, but ended up catching another Cross City train to New Street, and catching a Cross Country train from New Street to Tamworth (back then). Cross Country do stop at University though!

Selly Oak Station

The West Midlands railway franchise transferred over from London Midland to West Midlands Railway during December 2017. Here was West Midlands Railway 323204 at a snowy Selly Oak. The first time I've used the station. I mostly get the bus to and from Selly Oak! 323221 was at the other end. Loads of delays that day, probably due to the snow! Some trains were cancelled due to the weather. Not really the best day to try out Selly Oak Station!

Bournville Station

This station is next to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and is your stop for Cadbury World. Seen in October 2011 was London Midland 323215. This was before I started using the Cross City Line (from 2012 onwards). This ramp leads from the Mary Vale Road bridge, and goes down to the towpath of the canal, as well as to the station. I later actually used the station in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Kings Norton Station

Before I was comfortable with getting trains from Birmingham New Street, I used to get them from Kings Norton. Seen arriving here was London Midland 323212 during April 2012. Which I got to Longbridge. Platform 4, as platforms 2 and 3 are abandoned. Platform 1 is for trains to Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield. Other fast trains pass through here too!

Northfield Station

I have used Northfield Station a few times in my travels, but not really taken a photo of a Class 323 from the platform. This one of a West Midlands Railway Class 323 in orange and white was seen from another train during November 2018.

Longbridge Station

An ideal station to get to, to explore the new Longbridge Town Centre. I've been to this station many times. Seen opposite was London Midland 323212 during April 2012, which I'd earlier got down to Longbridge. Before the extension to Bromsgrove this was a terminus for most trains, with at least one an hour going to Redditch. The station building here is now being redeveloped. It's the last station in Birmingham on the line to the south. The last four below are all in Worcestershire.

Barnt Green Station

At Barnt Green the lines splits. One to Redditch, the other to Bromsgrove and Worcester. On the Cross City line, the trains stop at Barnt Green for Redditch, as it curves to the left.  I got London Midland 323217 from Birmingham New Street. I got off here, but the train was going to Redditch. On my second visit during April 2017 I went to the Lickey Hills Country Park. A long hard walk up the hill (I walked back to the station via the roads nearby).

Alvechurch Station

A visit to Alvechurch in Worcestershire during February 2016. The station now has two platforms where as before it used to have one. London Midland 323219. My train back to Birmingham New Street,

Redditch Station

I first got a train to Redditch during January 2013. I arrived on London Midland 323210. A single platform station it is the current end of the line. There is an old railway tunnel nearby with street art. My second visit in November 2017 was before the end of the London Midland franchise.

Bromsgrove Station

I've been to Bromsgrove 3 times. First in 2013 to the old station, second in 2016 to the new station. In November 2018 I returned again after electrification to Bromsgrove was complete and the Cross City line extended services from Longbridge. Seen here was West Midlands Railway 323216. In orange and white, my ride back to Birmingham New Street. It did not stop at Barnt Green.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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40 passion points
Transport
28 Mar 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Wythall Transport Museum heritage buses between Hollywood and The Alexandra Theatre

On Bank Holiday weekends, up and down the Alcester Road, between the Wythall Transport Museum and Birmingham, you may see the odd vintage bus going up and down, taking passengers on rides from the museum to various nearby locations. From Hollywood, south of the Maypole, then up Kings Heath, towards Bristol Street and last stop at The Alexandra Theatre on Suffolk Street Queensway!

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Wythall Transport Museum heritage buses between Hollywood and The Alexandra Theatre




On Bank Holiday weekends, up and down the Alcester Road, between the Wythall Transport Museum and Birmingham, you may see the odd vintage bus going up and down, taking passengers on rides from the museum to various nearby locations. From Hollywood, south of the Maypole, then up Kings Heath, towards Bristol Street and last stop at The Alexandra Theatre on Suffolk Street Queensway!


You may be suprised that there is an area near Birmingham, called Hollywood! Just south of the Maypole, down the Alcester Road South towards Wythall is Worcestershire's very own Hollywood! On the Easter Monday Bank Holiday in 2017 I had a walk from The Maypole towards Whitlocks End Station, when I spotted three heritage buses on special journeys from the Wythall Transport Museum!

You can find out when the next event is on at this link Event Days.

Metrobus on the 48 - 2462 - NOA 462X - returning to Wythall from the Maypole. Easter Monday 2017.

Sea Front Service on the 48 - Southern Vectis - 314 PFM - Carters - returning to Wythall from the Maypole. Easter Monday 2017.

Carisbrooke Castle on the 48 - 570 - Bristol Lodekka - Southern Vectis - YDL 315 - returning to Wythall from the Maypole. Easter Monday 2017.

The 48 - 322 - Midland General FRB 211 H Bristol Rear-Engined Double-Decker Bus -  FRB 211H - seen here heading to the Maypole. Late May Bank Holiday Weekend 2017. Not wanting to walk back to Whitlocks End again, I turned back to the Maypole (hoping to see another bus). The 750 to Birmingham I did see but missed getting a shot of it (see the photo at the end of this post from Suffolk Street Queensway).

Yardley Wood Bus Garage celebrated it's 80th birthday during November 2018, and they had bus rides around the local area. On other Bank Holidays I did try and go to Kings Heath, to see if I could spot one of the vintage buses but I kept missing them, or didn't have my camera ready. These photos below were taken from the top deck of the no 50 bus I was on to town. These buses are not part of the Wythall collection.

I have previously been on rides on this pair of vintage buses!

Timesaver - 2957 - WM Travel - MCW - D957 NDA - Seen November 2018

Previously rode on this bus during the pair of open days at Acocks Green and Yardley Wood bus garages in early October 2013, on the occasion of the bus garages 75th birthday.

JOJ 222 - 2222 - Leyland - Birmingham - Bearwood via Dudley Road - B82 - Seen November 2018

Saw this bus again only 2 months after I had ridden on it from Snow Hill Queensway to the Birmingham Museums Collection Centre!

If seeing the vintage Wythall buses on Bank Holiday's was hit and miss in the Maypole, Kings Heath or Moseley, the next option was to check them out in the city centre! I checked their timetables, so I had a fair idea approximately where they would be.

750 to Birmingham - GREEN LINE AEC RCL CUV 219C - CUV 219C - London Transport - AEC Routemaster - seen on the Easter Monday 2018 Bank Holiday. I had walked up to the Alexandra Theatre, but didn't see the expected bus, then walked down Bristol Street, before this one went past me!

Route 750 to Birmingham (Alexandra Theatre) - 1256 - FRC 956 - Trent FRC 956 Leyland PD2/12 with Leyland body - seen the late May Bank Holiday Monday 2017. I had previously tried to see this bus the day before in Kings Heath but I missed getting a decent shot of it (or I saw it being towed back to Wythall). So seeing it arriving at the Alexandra Theatre was my best chance of seeing it! At this point heading onto Suffolk Street Queensway from Holloway Circus and Bristol Street.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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60 passion points
Transport
27 Mar 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Vintage bus ride from Snow Hill Queensway to the Birmingham Museums Collection Centre, September 2018

A look back to my vintage bus ride in September 2018 when an open day was again held at the Birmingham Museums Collections Centre on Dollman Street. Was a long wait on Snow Hill Queensway before the bus came! But was well worth the wait. 2222 aka JOJ 222.

 

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Vintage bus ride from Snow Hill Queensway to the Birmingham Museums Collection Centre, September 2018




A look back to my vintage bus ride in September 2018 when an open day was again held at the Birmingham Museums Collections Centre on Dollman Street. Was a long wait on Snow Hill Queensway before the bus came! But was well worth the wait. 2222 aka JOJ 222.

 


A long wait on the 16th September 2018 during Heritage Open Week in Birmingham. After a visit to Highbury Hall, next on the agenda was a return visit to the Birmingham Museums Collection Centre, on Dollman Street. I heard about the free vintage bus ride, so I wanted to go. A 50 minute wait at bus stop SQ3 outside of Lloyd House, but it was worth it!

Seen arriving on Snow Hill Queensway was former Birmingham City Transport bus 222. JOJ 222. Made by Leyland. To "Saltley". Passing Three Snowhill.

It was approaching bus stop SQ3. Worth the wind and rain to see it and ride it!

Birmingham City Transport with Birmingham's Forward coat of arms.

Top deck. The seats are a bit different to modern buses and the ceiling is much lower! I sat on the left.

The steps are at the back of the bus, not near the front. Similar to old London buses!

Reflection in Lloyd House, the West Midlands Police Headquarters.

I believe this section is now a little exhibition with the history of the West Midlands Police.

"Spitting strictly prohibited offenders will be prosecuted". One of the signs I saw on the top deck! What was their litter policy back in the day?

"Any passenger leaving this omnibus without paying the fare and with intent to avoid payment is liable to prosecution". To be fare / fair, it was a free bus ride, so no ticket, and I don't think my Swift Card would have been accepted!

If you wanted to stop the bus to get off, press this button. I would think that the light would come on?

Close up look at the button. The metal has rusted a bit. You have modern equivalents of these on modern buses!

2222 the buses ID. Modern buses have ID numbers like this too.

After leaving Snow Hill Queensway, the bus went via Colmore Circus Queensway, Steelhouse Lane, Corporation Street (near the Aston Expressway), Dartmouth Circus, Dartmouth Middleway, then up Vauxhall Road, Great Francis Street, Duddeston Mill Road and down Dollman Street.

Once the bus had parked near the Birmingham Museums Collections Centre, it was time to get off. On the way down the steps I saw theses signs. "Beware of approaching vehicles when leaving or passing behind this vehicle. Safety First".

Bus destinations used to be on rollable blinds like the one below (modern buses have digital ones). It was still like this until at least the 1990s! Bottom sign says "Passengers are requested not to alight except at authorised stopping places". These buses didn't have automatic doors, in fact they had no door at the back, but only a conductor to collect tickets!

View of the other side of JOJ 222 / 2222 from after I got off the bus, and before I went into the Birmingham Museums Collections Centre for my second time in over 6 years!

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

 

 

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50 passion points
Transport
25 Mar 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Trains seen at Birmingham Moor Street Station through the decade

A selection of photos of the trains that usually stop (or used to stop) at Birmingham Moor Street Station. Chiltern Railways operates the station and it has been restored to an Edwardian style in the mid 2000s. Central Trains, then London Midland and now West Midlands Railway also had / have services that stop here from Warwickshire and Worcestershire!

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Trains seen at Birmingham Moor Street Station through the decade




A selection of photos of the trains that usually stop (or used to stop) at Birmingham Moor Street Station. Chiltern Railways operates the station and it has been restored to an Edwardian style in the mid 2000s. Central Trains, then London Midland and now West Midlands Railway also had / have services that stop here from Warwickshire and Worcestershire!


Seen at platform 4 at Birmingham Moor Street Station, during November 2011 was Chiltern Railways 168108. With Selfridges and the Rotunda to the left, and the Pavilions straight ahead (that would close in 2016 and Primark will open there from April 2019). Platform 3 and 4 were reconnected in late 2010 for services to London Marylebone and Leamington Spa.

London Midland 172 342 was at platform 2, a train I had just got off at during November 2011. The Class 172's were introduced by London Midland to replace the old Class 150's (which later went to other rail franchises around the country).

Heading up platform 3 towards the ticket gates in the concourse. Chiltern Railways 168214 was on the left. You usually see timetable artwork from local schools on the buildings around the station. A foggy day during November 2012. This train was going to Leamington Spa.

It was August 2013 when I saw Chiltern Railways 165019 and 67017 at platform 3 an 4 respectfully. This time round, the Class 165 was going to Leamington Spa. while the Class 67 with the Silver Service on the Mainline to London Marylebone. Chiltern inherited them from the short lived Wrexham & Shropshire who used to have trains from Wrexham to Marylebone. These were later replaced by the Class 68's.

You would regulary see a pair of Chiltern Railways trains at platform 3 and 4. Usually a Class 168 and / or a Class 165. Seen here during February 2014 was Chiltern Railways 168003 and 165019. The train on the left was probably bound for London Marylebone, while the one on the right for Leamington Spa.

Early January 2016 and my first sighting of a Class 68 at Moor Street Station. Chiltern Railways 68009 Titan leading the Silver Service on the Chiltern Mainline down to London Marylebone. These look cooler than the old Class 67's (which they no longer use). This one was owned by Direct Rail Services. Was at platform 3.

The Oxford Flyer which was Chiltern Railways 68010 seen in January 2017. Named as such after Chiltern introduced a new service from London Marylebone to Oxford (you can't get a direct train from Moor Street to Oxford without changing at Banbury, or perhaps Bicester North).

Another Direct Rail Services Class 68. This one Chiltern Railways 68008 Avenger at platform 4 during January 2017. This reminds me a bit of (spoiler alert) the scene in Captain Marvel when Nick Fury names the Avengers!

A view from Moor Street Car Park, as a West Midlands Railway Class 172 train is seen departing Moor Street Station over the Bordesley Viaduct in Digbeth. Seen March 2018. It was either on the line to Dorridge, or the line to Stratford-upon-Avon via Whitlocks End. It was the Sunday that the previous St Patrick's Day Parade was held.

Despite the restoration of platform's 3 and 4, Chiltern Railways still uses Birmingham Snow Hill Station (and have occasional services to / from Kidderminster and back to / from London Marylebone during rush hour). Chiltern Railways 168003 seen during March 2018 stops at platform 2, before heading through the Snow Hill Tunnel for it's final stop at Snow Hill Station (usually at platform 2). Selfridges and the Rotunda in view from where I was at platform 1. While Primark would have another year of construction to go.

March 2018 again and a pair of West Midlands Railway trains still in the old London Midland green. 170633 waiting to head through the Snow Hill Tunnel, towards Worcester and 172 345 waiting to depart for Dorridge. Primark development behind, had 11 months to go!

West Midlands Railway took over from London Midland in December 2017. The Class 172/3's have in 2018 / 2019 been recoloured orange and purple. Seen at platform 2 during October 2018 was West Midlands Railway 172 338. I had just got off this train from the Shakespeare Line. 3 trains an hour Monday to Saturday, 1 train an hour on Sunday (the same I think for both the Shakespeare line and Dorridge line, although I could be wrong).

West Midlands Railway 172 332 seen in the new orange and purple livery seen at platform 2 during November 2018. Inside (for now) they are still green, but hopefully West Midlands Railway will change the maquettes on the seats soon!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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40 passion points
Transport
16 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Class 153 single carriage Sprinters

You might sometimes see the Class 153 single carriage Sprinter's around the West Midlands railway network attached to the back of the Class 170 Turbostar trains. Sometimes on the Birmingham to Hereford line or the Birmingham to Rugeley Trent Valley line. On there own they were also on the branch lines out of Coventry (to Nuneaton or Leamington Spa). Also been on the Snow Hill lines.

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The Class 153 single carriage Sprinters




You might sometimes see the Class 153 single carriage Sprinter's around the West Midlands railway network attached to the back of the Class 170 Turbostar trains. Sometimes on the Birmingham to Hereford line or the Birmingham to Rugeley Trent Valley line. On there own they were also on the branch lines out of Coventry (to Nuneaton or Leamington Spa). Also been on the Snow Hill lines.


Class 153

The Class 153 also known as the Super Sprinter are a single carriage diesel multiple unit train. They were built to be used on branch lines or rural lines were the number of passengers was not expected to be very high. They were built in 1987-88 and were converted in 1991-92. They have been used on many branch lines across the Midlands. These units could be attached to other DMU's such as the Class 150, and later with the Class 170. There is currently 10 Class 153's with West Midlands Railway (previously with London Midland and before that Central Trains).

 

Starting off with the Class 153's I saw attached to Class 170's. Some I even travelled on (although I may have got on board the Class 170 instead!).

 

I was at Shirley Station in April 2017 to check out the newly completed road bridge on Haslucks Green Road. When London Midland 153371 and 170633 arrived (was expecting the usual Class 172). There was about another 8 months before the old London Midland franchise would end and West Midlands Railway would start (around December 2017). This train was heading towards Worcester Foregate Street. I got on board the back carriage of 170633 and rode the train to Birmingham Moor Street.

I saw Arriva Trains Wales 153323 at Wolverhampton Station during October 2013 (I was on a train from Birmingham New Street to Liverpool Lime Street for a weekend). Arriva had the Wales franchise from 2003 to 2018. They used to run trains between Birmingham International and Holyhead in Wales via Wrexham Central. Transport for Wales took over the Wales franchise from October 2018.

At Aston Station I expected to see / catch the usual Class 323 trains from this station. Heading to Perry Barr in August 2012, I got off my Cross City line train here, and waited for a train on the Chase Line. 153366 arrived with a Class 170 at the back. London Midland (and now West Midlands Railway) regularly have combinations of Class 153's with Class 170's. In the north of Birmingham, usually on the Chase Line to Walsall and beyond to Rugeley Trent Valley. The line was only electrified as far as Walsall. But for many years Network Rail has been electrifying the line towards Rugeley. So it meant that only diesel trains could go beyond Walsall. It's possible that electric trains could run on the line to Rugeley from about May 2019.

In April 2018 I headed up on the train to Staffordshire, and got off at Hednesford. I walked down to Cannock. Later when I went back to Cannock Station I got this train back to Birmingham New Street. West Midlands Railway 153364 and 170513 arrived from Rugeley Trent Valley. It took the normal route via Perry Barr and Aston. My earlier train that day went the alternate route on the line that goes from Winson Green via Handsworth to rejoin the line at Perry Barr. Electrification of the Chase line was well under way at the time.

The 11th December 2017 was the launch day of the new West Midlands Railway, and the city was full of snow! After a walk up to the Jewellery Quarter through the white stuff, I went to Jewellery Quarter Station to catch a train home. But West Midlands Railway 170634 and 153334 was only going as far as Birmingham Snow Hill Station due to various delays due to the weather! I had only seen 153334 a few days early at Bedworth Station (which was my last journey under London Midland). That day was dry, but it had snowed on the 10th December 2017! Chiltern Railways 168106 was seen at platform 2.

 

Now to the branch lines. Starting with the Nuneaton to Coventry Branch line that goes via Bedworth. And second the branch line from Coventry to Leamington Spa via Kenilworth (that opened in 2018 after a few delays).

I visited Nuneaton during May 2015, having arrived there on the Cross Country line that goes through the town from Birmingham New Street and onto the likes of Leicester etc. Coming back to Birmingham, I thought I'd try a ride on the Nuneaton to Coventry branch line. At Nuneaton Station was London Midland 153354. The train would pass the new stations under construction (at the time) as well as Bedworth (I would go there in late 2017 when the London Midland franchise ended).

On the last ever day that London Midland operated their franchise in the West Midlands, on the 9th December 2017, I headed to Bedworth. I got London Midland 153334 and 153354 from Coventry to Bedworth Station. Later after I explored the town centre, I got the same train back on the opposite platform. Here (in the below photo), I had just got off the train from Coventry, and it was heading onto Nuneaton. By then all the new stations on the line including Coventry Arena were open. I was thinking ahead to the opening of Kenilworth Station, which should have opened the next day, but was delayed until May 2018!

I had previously got a Class 153 from Nuneaton to Coventry Station back in May 2015. I saw another Class 153 at Coventry during October 2017, when I headed to the city to walk to the Coventry Canal Basin. London Midland 153375 was waiting at one of the platforms waiting to return to Nuneaton. That day I did observe Cross Country Voyager's heading on the branch line to Leamington Spa. In fact I tried the branch line early in March 2018, to see a glimpse of the new Kenilworth Station. The Cross Country Super Voyager I travelled on was packed, but I got a window seat, and I caught glimpses of the new Kenilworth Station. I would have to wait until May 2018 before travelling to Kenilworth by train!

The new Kenilworth Station opened at the end of April 2018. I visited the station and the town on the 3rd May 2018. I caught West Midlands Railway 153364 from Leamington Spa (having earlier got a train from Solihull to Leamington Spa with Chiltern Railways). The station should have opened on the 10th December 2017 (the first day of operation for West Midlands Railway), but a series of delays meant it didn't open until the spring. There is only one platform at the new station. I later got the same train back towards Leamington Spa from the same platform. You can use this station if you want to visit Kenilworth Castle.

Having got off my Chiltern Railways train from Solihull at Leamington Spa Station platform 3, I only had to walk a short distance to platform 4, to await a train on the Leamington Spa to Coventry branch line that had opened to the public for service days earlier. My visit was on the 3rd May 2018. West Midlands Railway 153364 would take me to Kenilworth. And I would later get it back to Leamington Spa on the way back to the West Midlands. The only difference between getting a train from Coventry to Leamington Spa with Cross Country, and West Midlands Railway, is that Cross Country would stop at platform 3 (and continue on south), while West Midlands Railway would terminate at platform 4. On both occasions, I had to walk down the steps to the subway, and head to the platform to get my Chiltern Railways train back to Solihull.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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70 passion points
Transport
10 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Class 150's: Diesel trains formerly on the Snow Hill lines

The Class 150 diesel multiple unit trains used to be on the Snow Hill lines until around 2011. Most have since gone to other railway franchises such as Great Western Railway. When they were in the Midlands they were used by Regional Railways until 1997, Central Trains from 1997 to 2007 then London Midland from 2007 to 2011. A least one is still owned by West Midlands Railway now.

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Class 150's: Diesel trains formerly on the Snow Hill lines




The Class 150 diesel multiple unit trains used to be on the Snow Hill lines until around 2011. Most have since gone to other railway franchises such as Great Western Railway. When they were in the Midlands they were used by Regional Railways until 1997, Central Trains from 1997 to 2007 then London Midland from 2007 to 2011. A least one is still owned by West Midlands Railway now.


Class 150

These Sprinter Diesel multiple units were built between 1984 and 1987. In the West Midlands, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, they were used on the Snow Hill lines from at least 1987 until they were replaced in 2011 by the then new Class 172 Turbostar DMU's. The then West Midlands franchise operator London Midland kept around 3 of the old Class 150's after 2011 (they are still in current franchise operator West Midlands Railway who took over in late 2017.

Seen at Shirley Station during late June 2010 was London Midland 150016. It was heading for Stourbridge Junction. This view was from the old Haslucks Green Road bridge. That bridge was replaced and rebuilt during 2017. The footbridge in this photo was also later replaced. The new footbridge was built at the other end of the station in 2014. Shirley Station is quite a way away from the Stratford Road in Shirley, and is reachable from there now with the no 49 bus.

My second photography trip to Stratford-upon-Avon was during September 2010. I had just got off London Midland 150013, a semi-fast train that skipped the minor stops between Whitlocks End and Stratford-upon-Avon Station. This view was from the Alcester Road bridge in the town. Now the end of the line, it used to go beyond here to Honeybourne, and it is hoped that the 9 mile stretch would one day be restored. For now, most services that start at Stratford go to at least Stourbridge Junction, or beyond towards Kidderminster or Worcester Foregate Street (via Birmingham Snow Hill).

My first time up to the bridge near Livery Street and Northwood Street (in the Jewellery Quarter) was in August 2011. From here (at the time) you could see Two Snowhill beginning construction (after delays of several years). Seen heading past St Paul's Tram Stop was London Midland 150101 heading into Birmingham Snow Hill Station. After leaving London Midland later in 2011, this train and other 150/1's transferred up to Northern Rail. Around 4 years after the franchise had transferred from Central Trains to London Midland, most of the trains on the Snow Hill lines still had (at the time) the old Central Trains lime green livery.

It was September 2011, and I was heading to Hall Green Station to get the train into Birmingham. And I was hoping to see or catch one of the (then) brand new Class 172 DMU's. But London Midland still had the Class 150's on the Shakespeare line. This was the 10:08 (which I missed). After a 20 minute wait, I caught the next train the 10:28 into Birmingham. It would be another 2 months (November 2011) before I would catch a new Class 172 for the first time to Birmingham Moor Street or Snow Hill.

The view from Kings Norton Station, on the Cross City line. I was standing at platform 4 during April 2012, waiting to go to Longbridge. While one of London Midland's Class 150 trains that they kept, 150109 was seen passing by the abandoned platform 2. Still in the old Central Trains livery. London Midland would later change it into their own green livery, and today it is still part of current franchise operator West Midlands Railways's fleet! This train was slowly heading south towards Hereford. An American man on the platform was chatting to me, and said that he had never seen a train like that before!

Getting to the more recent years and December 2017, the last month of operation under London Midland. I went up to Lye Station near Stourbridge in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley for a photo walk of the town. When I got back to the station, was suprised to see a convoy of a mixture of London Midland DMU's heading towards Stourbridge Junction (or onto Worcester). By then, London Midland's 3 Class 150 DMU's was in their green livery. Seen here behind a Class 170. This convoy had one Class 172, two Class 170's and this one Class 150 (pictured).

My most recent sighting of a Class 150 in the West Midlands was when I caught a glimpse of it passing through Stechford Station during early January 2018. Now operated by West Midlands Railway, this was either 150107 or 150109. It was probably heading down towards the Bedford line (which is now operated by London Northwestern Railway). From here you expect to see the Class 350 EMU's on the West Coast Mainline or Virgin Trains Class 390 Pendolino's (those don't stop here). This view was from the Station Road bridge.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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70 passion points
Photography
30 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Famous movie cars spotted in Birmingham

I'm a big fan of the Back to the Future, Ghostbusters and Batman movie franchises. So when I heard that the famous movie cars were coming to Birmingham, I had to see them! The DeLorean from the Back to the Future Trilogy, Ecto 1 from Ghostbusters and Ecto 1A from Ghostbusters 2. Even the Batmobile from Batman (1989) has been to the city!

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Famous movie cars spotted in Birmingham




I'm a big fan of the Back to the Future, Ghostbusters and Batman movie franchises. So when I heard that the famous movie cars were coming to Birmingham, I had to see them! The DeLorean from the Back to the Future Trilogy, Ecto 1 from Ghostbusters and Ecto 1A from Ghostbusters 2. Even the Batmobile from Batman (1989) has been to the city!


The Back to the Future DeLorean

The Acocks Green Village BID held an event in the village on the 1st August 2015 called the Alien Invasion of Acocks Green. And this is when the Back to the Future DeLorean visited. Seen near some shops on the Warwick Road. This appears like the famous movie car as it was in the hit movie Back to the Future Part II (released in 1989). You also see it hover converting at the end of the classic 1985 movie!

 A Marty McFly impersonator was on site dressed like Marty was in the second movie. With the colourful baseball hat and the self drying jacket! The movie went to 2015 with hoverboards, flying cars etc. But none of this technology happened by the time we were in 2015!

BTTF DeLorean at MCM Birmingham Comic Con

The second DeLorean I saw from Back to the Future was at the MCM Birmingham Comic Con, held at the Birmingham NEC. I went to the comic book convention in November 2016. Don't usually go to things like this much, and this was the only MCM Comic Con I've been to. I've not been back since. This DeLorean also resembled the version from BTTF Part II. And this time was an man dressed as Doctor Emmett Brown, aka the Doc!

Along side the car was various skateboards and hoverboards based on those used in the movie. Including the Pit Bull used by the bad guy Griff Tatten. While Marty McFly used a Mattel Hoverboard!

Front view of the DeLorean at the MCM Comic Con at the NEC. Gull wing door open and and some of the hats from the second movie.

Also seen behind was an image of Twin Pines Mall from the first movie. Doc used Plutonium to power the DeLorean and when it hit 88 miles per hour it went back or forward in time! By the end of the first movie and into the second, the Doc had replaced the power source with rubbish (or garbage as Americans like to call it, or trash!). In the Mr Fusion reactor at the back! The camcorder that Marty used to record the first time travel experiment on the 26th October 1985 at 1:21am.

Ecto 1A - Ghostbusters II - Navigation Street

This one was completely random and unexpected. Seen on Navigation Street close to The Mailbox (on the 14th March 2015) was this wedding hire car that looked like the Ecto 1A from the movie Ghostbusters II (released in 1989). It was one of the first movies I saw a as child during the Christmas season of 1989 (Vigo the Carpathian was scary for an 7 year old). The car headed under the underpass below Suffolk Street Queensway, before turning back around. It had the distincitive two fingers Ghostbuster logo on the car.

If there's something strange, in the neighbourhood, who ya gunna call? Reports of a ghost on the loose at The Mailbox was a false alarm. They were now seen heading in the direction of Birmingham New Street Station. At the time a movie was in production for 2016, which turned out to be an all female reboot. Recently another movie in the original Ghostbusters movie timeline has been announced for summer 2020.

The car does look pretty cool don't you think? Seen here going past Sainsbury's Local near the Orion Building, stuck in traffic. Bustin' makes me feel good! Two in the box, ready to go, we be fast and they be slow!

Ecto 1 from Ghostbusters at Broadway Plaza

Another Ghostbusters car made an appearance at Broadway Plaza near Ladywood Middleway (outside the casino and what was the former entrance to the ex Children's Hospital) on the 23rd July 2016. I think this was while the Ghostbusters (2016) movie was in cinemas (also known as Ghosbusters: Answer the Call). The car is the Ecto 1 from the original Ghostbusters from 1984.

This is obviously based on the car from the first Ghostbusters movie, as it has the original Ghostbusters no ghosts logo on it. Rumour of a ghost on the loose at the former Children's Hospital was a false alarm! Although maybe Broadway Plaza spotted Slimer flying around, and slimming people?

From where the Ghostbusters car was, you can head up the path to the Odeon cinema. It used to be an AMC until 2012. Last year in 2018, Odeon turned it into an Odeon Luxe. In January 2019 it was announced that a new Ghostbusters movie will be made for a summer 2020 release set in the original Ghostbusters movie universe.

Batmobile from Batman (1989) at Broadway Plaza

Just over a year later on the 26th August 2017, the Batmobile from the movie Batman (released in 1989) was seen in the same spot as the Ecto 1 the year before. A version of it was also used in Batman Returns from 1992. Like all the cars here, this is a replica and not a screen used car.

It was Superhero Day at Broadway Plaza, although I didn't see Batman around, just his car!

My first Batman movie at the cinema was Batman Forever in 1995. I was too young when the first two movies came out (later saw them on TV). I've seen all live action Batman movies (of all incarnations) at the big screen since.

The most recent appearance for Batman was in Justice League that came out in 2017, and before that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016. There was also the Lego Batman Movie which would have been more suitable for young kids. I wasn't aware of Broadway Plaza having a movie car like this there in 2018, as I didn't see anything on their social media accounts. Then again I stopped going to Odeon Broadway Plaza when they turned it into a Luxe. I prefer my cinemas to have normal seats, so I now go to either: Odeon New Street, Cineworld Broad Street or Empire Great Park Birmingham (Rubery).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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40 passion points
Transport
22 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Not something you see every day: a steam locomotive on the back of a lorry!

I only popped to Tyseley to check out some trains heading past Tyseley Station. When I walked back down to the Warwick Road on the 13th December 2018, saw a steam locomotive on the back of a lorry. Sir Keith Park 34053 was probably getting near to the Tyseley Locomotive Works. The walk to Acocks Green, but Amey had barriers out for new lampposts!

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Not something you see every day: a steam locomotive on the back of a lorry!




I only popped to Tyseley to check out some trains heading past Tyseley Station. When I walked back down to the Warwick Road on the 13th December 2018, saw a steam locomotive on the back of a lorry. Sir Keith Park 34053 was probably getting near to the Tyseley Locomotive Works. The walk to Acocks Green, but Amey had barriers out for new lampposts!


Sir Keith Park 34053

Not something you expect to see on the road in Birmingham! A lorry with a steam locomotive on the back of it. Although I have in the past seen a Cross Country train on the back of a lorry once. It was the 13th December 2018, and this small convoy was approaching the Tyseley Locomotive Works on the Warwick Road in Tyseley. Seen here passing the Cousins furniture store (mostly selling sofas etc).

The locomotive is currently operated by the Swanage Railway. So it was probably coming to Tyseley for repairs or maintenance?

A little bit of history of the locomotive. It was built in 1947 at the Brighton Works. It's original number ID was 21C153. It was a SR Battle of Britain class (Southern Railway Battle of Britain class 4-6-2 Pacific steam locomotive). It gained the number 34053 in 1948 when British Railways was formed. In 1960 it was transfered to the Bournemouth Depot where it was on the Pines Express on the Somerset & Dorset Line. She remained in Bournemouth until being withdrawn from service in 1965.

After being withdrawn from service in 1965, she was towed to the Barry scrapyard in South Wales. But the locomotive wasn't scrapped. She was eventually towed to Barry Island where she remained for 18 years. A new owner bought her for preservation in 1979, but she didn't depart Barry Island until 1984. She was moved to Hull, but little was done to her. In 1992 she was sold to another owner and moved to Crewe. Again litte was done to her. By 1997 she was moved to the West Somerset Railway and was later purchased by Southern Locomotives Ltd in 2000. Restoration finally began in 2008. Returned to steam by 2012 not at the Swanage Railway as intended, but at the Severn Valley Railway. Naming ceremony took place in 2013 as Sir Keith Park at Bridgnorth. She can only run on heritage railways, but is not certified to run on National Rail railway lines. Probably why it was transferred by lorry!

Photos by Elliott Brown

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50 passion points
Transport
02 Dec 2018 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Shakespeare Express and The Polar Express

Most summers along the Shakespeare line, Vintage Trains used to run steam trains between Birmingham Snow Hill and Stratford-upon-Avon. They now also have a licence to run trains on the mainline from the Tyseley Locomotive Works to Birmingham Moor Street during the Christmas season. It is quite the sight to see a steam train going over the Bordesley Viaduct! Look out for it in Digbeth.

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The Shakespeare Express and The Polar Express




Most summers along the Shakespeare line, Vintage Trains used to run steam trains between Birmingham Snow Hill and Stratford-upon-Avon. They now also have a licence to run trains on the mainline from the Tyseley Locomotive Works to Birmingham Moor Street during the Christmas season. It is quite the sight to see a steam train going over the Bordesley Viaduct! Look out for it in Digbeth.


In September 2015, the Shakespeare Express was at Birmingham Snow Hill Station at platform 1. When I got to platform 3, saw the steam locomotive 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe decouple and head towards the Jewellery Quarter tunnels, before it returned and recoupled at the other end. Didn't have the best views from platform 3 to be honest!

The steam locomotive is seen puffing away towards the tunnels that leads to Jewellery Quarter Station.

The carriages at platform 1. They filled the length of the platform.

I didn't have the best view from platform 3. One of the carriages as passengers walk past!

Earlier that day I saw The Shakespeare Express passing through Hall Green Station. The front of the engine was attached to the carriages. So the back end was heading towards Stratford-upon-Avon. They would probably have to decouple it again at Stratford-upon-Avon, so the engine would be facing the front towards Birmingham Snow Hill!

The name plate of the special service is seen at the front.

Most of the stations on the Shakespeare line opened in 1908 and are of the Edwardian period.

 

The Polar Express run by Vintage Trains started in the last week of November 2018 and will run throughout the Christmas season until late December 2018. Should be every Thursday to Sunday.

Steam puffing away into platform 4 at Birmingham Moor Street Station.

There was photographers on both platforms. And probably on all the days that it is due in at Moor Street Station. As well as from the Moor Street Car Park view. The Poppy Appeal train from Chiltern Railways was at platform 3.

Rood Ashton Hall or as it is known during this Christmas season as the Polar Star slowly comes into the platform.

There is a view from the ramps down from the Bullring to Moor Street Queensway.

Into the concourse then down the steps to Moor Street. Before that a few views as the Polar Star comes to a stop.

Seen with Chiltern Railways 68012 at platform 3. Platform 5 is the only platform yet to be restored at the station.

I have also seen the Polar Express from a train I was on the next day passing through Bordesley Station. Was a bit awkward getting photos from the train as it passed. Later saw some views of the Polar Express returning to Tyseley over the Bordesley Viaduct through Digbeth. Quite a sight to see!

At the back was as diesel locomotive D1755 47 773.

I also noticed from my train that they have done up the Tyseley Locomotive Works around the Tyseley Warwick Road platform area for Christmas.

The Polar Express seen from the Bordesley Viaduct in Digbeth. The train was stationary on the viaduct, probably waiting for it's slot to go into Birmingham Moor Street Station. These views of 4965 Rood Ashton Hall / Polar Star from Oxford Street in Digbeth.

Was a bit difficult to see it from this side, heading from Bordesley Street. So walked under the viaduct for a look on the other side of Oxford Street.

On this side of Oxford Street, Rood Ashton Hall seen with a pub that the Peaky Blinder Pub was due to take over (used to be an Irish pub called O'Rourkes).

Had to walk further down Oxford Street and close to the Digbeth High Street.

These views of the back of the train. D1755 / 47 773 seen from Milk Street in Digbeth.

When you are up there, you don't realise how far down from the viaduct it is! The area is close to the Custard Factory, and various pieces of graffiti / street art.

Photos by Elliott Brown

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63 passion points
Transport
30 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Special liveries on Chiltern Railways and Virgin Trains seen in Birmingham

This is not a heritage trains post, more showing photos of the special liveries Chiltern Railways and Virgin Trains did to some of their trains around the Christmas period and at other times of the year. Chiltern Railways seen at Birmingham Moor Street Station. Virgin Trains seen at Birmingham New Street Station and at Coventry Station.

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Special liveries on Chiltern Railways and Virgin Trains seen in Birmingham




This is not a heritage trains post, more showing photos of the special liveries Chiltern Railways and Virgin Trains did to some of their trains around the Christmas period and at other times of the year. Chiltern Railways seen at Birmingham Moor Street Station. Virgin Trains seen at Birmingham New Street Station and at Coventry Station.


Chiltern Railways

Runs trains on the Chiltern Mainline between Birmingham Snow Hill and London Marylebone. There main fast trains are the Class 68's with the Mark 3 carriages and driving van trailer (numbered as 823xx). Here we will look at a pair of 823xx trains at Birmingham Moor Street Station.

The Chiltern Santa Train seen at Birmingham Moor Street during December 2017. The driving van trailer was numbered 82302. Titan 68009 was at the front (but it's livery was not changed at the time).

Seen from platform 3. It had arrived at platform 4.

Behind is Moor Street Car Park, Selfridges and the Rotunda.

Heard that there was some nice views from Moor Street Car Park. So headed up to see. This was several floors up but not high enough.

This view of the Santa Train from the top floor of the car park as a London Midland Class 172 arrived at platform 2 (West Midlands Railway would take over from London Midland a few days later).

In November 2018 driving van trailer 82303 was in the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal temporary livery. Seen at Birmingham Moor Street.

I noticed a Chiltern train arriving at Moor Street from a bus I was on in Digbeth, so after I got off the bus outside of Selfridges, went up to the top of Moor Street Car Park for these views. Lamppost in the way. It was at platform 3.

Headed right for a clearer view of the Poppy train. Derelict buildings in the background was used as a filming location for Ready Player One! (filmed in 2016 released in 2018).

Close up look at the Poppy train. As I headed over the parametric bridge into Selfridges, the train started to leave for London.

Virgin Trains

Runs trains on the West Coast Mainline between Birmingham New Street and London Euston (and also up to Scotland). They use Class 390 Pendolino's between Birmingham and London (and to other major cities along the West Coast Mainline such as Manchester and Liverpool).

Seen in late December 2014 at Birmingham New Street Station was the Traindeer. Virgin Trains Pendolino 390 112 (also known as Virgin Star). Was made to resemble a Christmas Reindeer! This livery was temporary. The train is currently unnamed.

Seen at Coventry Station during October 2017 was Virgin Trains Pendolino 390 040 in the Virgin Radio livery. This was temporary between April 2016 and November 2017.

We're Back Virgin Radio.

Seen at Birmingham New Street Station from the Moor Street link bridge during December 2016 was Virgin Trains Pendolino 390104. Alstom Pendolino. Formerly named "Virgin Scot". The co-branding between Alstom and Virgin was since September 2010.

Another Moor Street link bridge view. This time it was Virgin Trains Pendolino 390103 (Virgin Hero). It was carrying the Royal British Legion livery commemorating the centenary of World War 1. Seen during March 2018.

One more view from the Moor Street link bridge. Virgin Trains Pendolino 390151 (Virgin Ambassador), seen with the Business is Great livery during September 2017. Also known as the Virgin Trains Poppylino!

The reflection of Business is Great in the shiny panels at New Street Station.

 

Photos by Elliott Brown

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65 passion points
Transport
04 Oct 2018 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Diesel locomotives at the Tyseley Locomotive Works

It's not just steam locomotives to be found at a Tyseley Locomotive Works open day. They also have diesel engines in their collection, plus other diesel engines come to visit, or are there for maintenance / restoration as well.

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Diesel locomotives at the Tyseley Locomotive Works




It's not just steam locomotives to be found at a Tyseley Locomotive Works open day. They also have diesel engines in their collection, plus other diesel engines come to visit, or are there for maintenance / restoration as well.


In this post, we will show you what diesel locomotives are in Tyseley's collection, or which ones have visited on open days. Most of them were in service between the 1950s and 1980s before they were retired. Many were scrapped, some were preserved.

 

Their only operational Class 47 is 47773. Built 1964. BR Co-Co Class 47. Also known as D1755 The Queen Mother. Seen below in the engine shed at Tyseley. You can also see it from the walkway above. Although the best views of it was from both ends of the train.

Seen below in September 2016 was 47760 owned by West Coast Railways. It is now located at Carnforth.

37263 seen at the September 2016 open day. BR Co-Co Class 37. Built in 1965. It is currently located at the Telford Steam Railway.

40 118 seen at the September 2018 open day. BR 1Co-Co1 Class 40. Built 1961. Undergoing a major restoration.

50 033 seen at the September 2016 open day. It is named "Glorious". BR Co-Co Class 50. Built 1968. Glorious 'Hoover' is now undergoing a restoration at Kidderminster. It arrived at the Severn Valley Railway in late May 2018. They are hoping to get it ready for the gala marking 50 years of Class 50s.

A visitor to the Tyseley Locomotive Works in April 2018 was 56301. Class 56. Now owned by the Class 56 Group. Built sometime between 1976 and 1984. It was delivered to Tyseley by lorry propably for an open day that spring.

13029 (08021) from the area where you can watch steam trains going up the line nearby. BR 0-6-0 Class 08. Built 1953.

On open days they have one train at Tyseley Warwick Road with a Buffet Car. In September 2016 that was behind The Flying Scotsman. This time in September 2018 the Buffet Car was close to the buffer. There was about four Class 50 trains behind.

Now a look at the four visiting Class 50 diesel locomotives that were at Tyseley Warwick Road behind the buffet car.

 

50 006 Neptune. D406. Built 1968. Named in 1978. The first Class 50 to be refurbished. The original Neptune was scrapped in 1988. It is actually 50 007 Hercules (that number / name pair could be seen on from the other platform).

50 007 Hercules. D407. Built 1968. Named 1978. Renamed to Sir Edward Elgar in 1984. Renamed back to Hercules in 2014. Now owned by the Class 50 Alliance. 50 006 Neptune is on the other side of the train.

50 011 Centurion.  D411. Built 1968. Named 1978. First Class 50 to be withdrawn. The original Centurion was scrapped in 1992. It is actually 50 049 Defiance (that number / name pair could be seen from the other platform).

50 049 Defiance.  D449. Built 1968. Named 1978. Now owned by the Class 50 Alliance. 50 011 Centurion is on the other side of the train.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown at the September 2016 and September 2018 open days at the Tyseley Locomotive Works.

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50 passion points
Transport
19 Aug 2018 - FreeTimePays
Introducing

Transport for the Future - a FreeTimePays Community of Passion and digital portal for people who want to make a difference!

With a combined reach of 100,000, FreeTimePays launches a unique digital space and portal for people to promote and share their passion for transport in the future.

Take the full post to find out more and see how you can get involved.

Connect with us and help promote the passion that is the Future of Transport!

Related

Transport for the Future - a FreeTimePays Community of Passion and digital portal for people who want to make a difference!




With a combined reach of 100,000, FreeTimePays launches a unique digital space and portal for people to promote and share their passion for transport in the future.

Take the full post to find out more and see how you can get involved.

Connect with us and help promote the passion that is the Future of Transport!


Transport for the Future is a Community of Passion that utilises FreeTimePays digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact.

Transport for the Future is a digital space for people who are passionate about the future of transportation and want to do whatever they can to promote their passion.

At Transport for the Future, we help connect people where passions are shared; we give people access to their very own digital space where they can promote their passion; and we recognise people for the contributions they make through the allocation of Passion Points. Interested? Connect with us HERE.

The reach of FreeTimePays is huge and is growing with Communities of Passion being rolled out across the UK. 

Companies and organisations keen to support People with Passion play an essential role and we have a range of partnership, sponsorship and advertising packages available.

We can even go as far as to set groups and networks up with their own portal so they can grow their own branded Community of Passion linked to their own website or social media account.

View our Partnership arrangements or connect with us HERE.

Now let's show you what you get with FreeTimePays. 

FreeTimePays

FreeTimePays is an impact focused digital platform and social media channel specifically for people who want to make a difference and create a positive social and economic impact.

FreeTimePays is the social media of choice for 'People with Passion'.

With FreeTimePays, we help people take their passion to the next level by giving them access to a suite of digital tools and applications.

There are three components to FreeTimePays.

There’s Community Passport, Community Workspace and Community Matchmaker. Operating right across the platform in recognition of the valuable contribution being made by users is FreeTimePays gamification. This takes the form of points and rewards for passions shared.

FreeTimePays is here for people who really want to become involved in their community or with their particular passion and for those people who are really serious about making a difference. It’s our job at FreeTimePays to provide the tools and functionality that helps bring together those who create the great ideas with those who have the potential to turn an idea into something that really does make a difference.

Community Passport

Passport is a personal space which registered members can make their own. With a passport, members can choose to get involved with their passion and participate in many different ways.

They can view regular content and posts; sort and save this content by type or by passion; they can collect points for giving their views through polls and surveys, attend events or even join a discussion.

With a FreeTimePays Community Passport, members can follow inspiring people and they can learn more about their community and their passion by following regular ‘Did you Know’ features. And the more they decide to do and the more they get involved, the more points they collect and the greater the opportunity to take up offers and win prizes.

Community Workspace

With their unique Community Workspace, FreeTimePays is able to help those who are inspired and serious about taking things to the next level. FreeTimePays will give these people their own access rights environment where they can work on their idea or project.

In this digital space they can work alone, or bring in others to share in building evidence, acquiring knowledge and developing plans. This is the ideal space for working on the business; working on the idea; working on the initiative.

A range of facilities and tools can be found in workspace and users can effectively utilise this space for collating documents, photos, videos and web links, for opening up discussion and chat with others, or for running surveys and analysing results.

Community Matchmaker

The whole focus and rationale for FreeTimePays is MAKING A DIFFERENCE. It’s our job at FreeTimePays to provide the tools and functionality that helps bring together those who create the GREAT IDEAS with those who have the potential to turn an IDEA into something that really does MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Matchmaker is where the dreamers can join with the dream makers – with those who are more than happy to put their support, their resources, their connections, and their wealth of experience behind the idea and behind the passionate people responsible for coming up with the idea.

These are the community drivers, the investors, the philanthropists, the funders of great initiatives, the Lottery, and those from local government and the public sector who are responsible for the provision of public services.

These are the people and the organisations who are in positions of making things happen for those who are passionate and inspired to want to make a difference.

For more detail on what is provided by FreeTimePays connect HERE.

Transport for the Future

Transport for the Future will grow as a shared space for the many individuals, communities and businesses that will want to connect and share in their passion for the future of transportation.

Their work, their ideas and their proposals can be pulled together in the one collaborative space giving them access to a huge resource bank for sharing images, documents and web links. 

In this space people can chat in a secure environment if they wish; they can set up and promote events; or they can communicate with any of the FreeTimePays Communities through creating and submitting posts. 

We would be delighted to tell you more.

Contact admin@freetimepays.com or connect HERE with FreeTimePays for more information on sharing your passion.

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50 passion points
Transport
18 Aug 2018 - FreeTimePays
Introducing

Are you passionate about the Future of Transport? Join Us!

Transport for the Future is a FreeTimePays Community of Passion that utilises digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact.

‘People with Passion’ are given the digital space and the digital tools so they can promote their passion for the future of transportation and connect with people who share their passion.

Related

Are you passionate about the Future of Transport? Join Us!




Transport for the Future is a FreeTimePays Community of Passion that utilises digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact.

‘People with Passion’ are given the digital space and the digital tools so they can promote their passion for the future of transportation and connect with people who share their passion.


Transport for the Future is all about engaging people in promoting the future of transport and the recognition that transport is there for everyone to use and enjoy.

Transport for the Future is a Community of Passion that utilises FreeTimePays digital engagement and social media to deliver real change and positive social impact.

FreeTimePays is an impact focused digital platform and social media channel specifically for people who want to make a difference and create a positive social and economic impact.

FreeTimePays is the social media of choice for 'People with Passion'.

With FreeTimePays, we help people take their passion to the next level by giving them access to a suite of digital tools and applications.

With Passion Points and with the support of our FreeTimePays partners, we recognise people for the difference and contribution they make and the positive impact they collectively deliver. 

Connect with us HERE and take your passion to the next level.

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30 passion points
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