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22 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

From Thomson to TUI Airways at Birmingham Airport

We have flown with what used to be Thomson Airways from Birmingham Airport in July 2010 to Verona, Italy and June 2012 to Naples, Italy. Thomson Airways was renamed to TUI in 2017. They were branded as Thomson Airways from 2008 until they were rebranded as TUI Airways in 2017. As far as I am aware, TUI is still in operation.

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From Thomson to TUI Airways at Birmingham Airport





We have flown with what used to be Thomson Airways from Birmingham Airport in July 2010 to Verona, Italy and June 2012 to Naples, Italy. Thomson Airways was renamed to TUI in 2017. They were branded as Thomson Airways from 2008 until they were rebranded as TUI Airways in 2017. As far as I am aware, TUI is still in operation.


TUI Airways

In 2007 Thomsonfly merged with First Choice Airways and was rebranded to Thomson Airways in 2008. This followed the merger of the travel divisions of TUI Group and First Choice Holidays in September 2007. By 2015 it was announced that TUI would be rebranding all operations to TUI. Thomson Airways changed their legal name to TUI Airways from October 2017.

Thomson / TUI has destinations all over Europe, to the Caribbean and India from Birmingham Airport.

 

In October 2010, while in Park Street Gardens in Eastside, I saw this Thomson Airways plane flying overhead. Back in July 2010, we flew to Verona in Italy for the Lake Garda holiday. But at the time, I didn't take any exteriors of the plane (only photos out of the plane window above the clouds).

In June 2012 at the Terminal at Birmingham Airport, heading to get our flight to Naples in Italy.  There was still First Choice branding on the airbridge at the time.

Our Thomson plane would be a Boeing 757-200. On both this and the July 2010 flight 2 years earlier, we had an on board meal heated up in the plane. We came back the week later from Naples at night.

In June 2014 at the Terminal building in Birmingham Airport, saw this Thomson Airways plane, as we waited to catch our flight to Malaga in Spain with Monarch. I think this was a Boeing 737-800

During the August 2014 visit to Blakesley Hall, I saw this plane fly overhead. I think it was Thomson Airways, with their distinctive sky blue livery. (I don't think it was Flybe or KLM).

Seen in March 2015 was this Thomson Airways plane (below). Seen from a train as it departed from Birmingham International Station.

This Thomson Airways plane was also visible from the train back in October 2016. I had just caught a train from Birmingham International. The airport buses that takes you from the terminal to the steps of the plane (or vice versa) were seen nearby as well.

In January 2017, TUI planes were still branded as Thomson at the time. This might have been a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It was seen from a the 966 NXWM Platinum bus.

Now onto February 2017 with this Thomson plane. The view from Car Park 5, but a tree was in the way.

I first saw a TUI branded plane in June 2017. Was at the Airport while waiting to catch our Flybe flight to Lyon in France.

In June 2018, I saw this TUI plane close to the Terminal building, as we headed to catch our flight to Pisa in Italy with Jet2. The airbridge was now being advertised by MG. Birmingham the home of MG

The first time I saw a TUI branded plane in flight was in August 2018. This was from the viewing area near the A45 Coventry Road.

Get off the bus near the Holiday Inn, then cross at the lights, then walk around the semi circle path until you are in view of the runway.

I've only been to this viewing area once, but saw several other planes taking off over the A45. I have loads of memories of coming into land over this end.

Now onto November 2018 with this view of a TUI plane, from the the X1 NXWM Platinum bus. The buses have their own semi circle road close to the A45 that leads to the Airport and NEC.

My last view from an X1 NXWM Platinum bus was of this pair of TUI planes during August 2019.

BONUS THOMSON TUI PHOTOS

At Malaga Airport in Spain during June 2014, I saw this Thomson Airways plane, a Boeing 737-800 at the airport.

We were waiting to catch our delayed Monarch flight back to Birmingham (we waited around for hours as was a French Air Traffic Control strike that day).

By this point we had got on board our Monarch plane and I got some more views of the Thomson plane.

One more view of Thomson as a British Airways plane went behind at Malaga.

In June 2017, while waiting to fly back to Birmingham with Flybe, saw this TUI related plane from Jetairfly at Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport. They were founded in 2003, but started operations in 2005. They were rebranded to TUI fly Belgium in 2016. Although the plane I saw in 2017 was still branded as Jetairfly.

I think this would have been a view from the terminal building at Lyon Airport of Jetairfly. It has the same tail fin logo as Thomson and TUI.

This view from the Flybe plane as we had just boarded it as Jetairfly was connected to the airbridge. My seat on Flybe was near the wing on the left.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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Transport
22 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens (August 2013)

Looking back through my archives, and there was a Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens that I saw back in the August 2013 day trip to the Trentham Estate. It is near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. Didn't have a ride of it at the time, but a return journey would have been about £2 each. There was a station here called Boathouse Station. The train they use is called Fern.

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Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens (August 2013)





Looking back through my archives, and there was a Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens that I saw back in the August 2013 day trip to the Trentham Estate. It is near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. Didn't have a ride of it at the time, but a return journey would have been about £2 each. There was a station here called Boathouse Station. The train they use is called Fern.


During a day out to Trentham Gardens near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, during August 2013, I noticed on my map that there was a Miniature Railway in the gardens to see. So while there I popped over to have a look at it. I didn't pay to go on it myself, but there was a charge of £2 per person (not sure if kids were free or not).

People get to ride up and down on the Miniature Train to and from Boathouse Station.

The Trentham Estate was originally home to Trentham Hall. There had been a house here since the 16th or 17th centuries. But the last house to be built here was by Charles Barry in the 1830s. It would have been fully demolished in the early 20th century, but part of it was demolished, but most of the shell remains. The gardens were designed by Capability Brown in the 1750s. The house and gardens were derelict when St. Modwen Properties purchased the site in 1996. But they restored the gardens and opened them by 2008. There is also a shopping village here.

Now back to the miniature railway.

It would have been open at Easter 2020 holidays (04/04/2020 - 19/04/2020), but assume that the gardens were completely closed during the lockdown / pandemic. Trentham Fern Train Trips this Easter. Tickets would have been: for a Return trip: £2 per person. Return trip with Annual Ticket Holder discount: £1.50 per person. Single trip: £1 person.

 

The photos below were taken during the 11th August 2013.

The tracks are of a narrow gauge. This way to the station.

Welcome to Boathouse Station. The Railway is open. The fare is £2. Way in to the right.

Passengers sit on the open carriages as the miniature train goes around the rails.

The train arriving at Boathouse Station.

The engine the driver sits on was called Fern. This is also called the Trentham Railway.

Everybody had got off including the train driver, while it waits at Boathouse Station.

Near the station the train can only got at a very slow 2 MPH.

A look further down the line to Boathouse Station.

Waiting for the next passengers.

There was also some wooden sheds to the left, maybe they store the train in there?

Later saw another passenger load having a ride on the Trentham Railway.

The train just goes around the track in circles. I think there was only one station.

The last I saw of it, the train was going around and on to complete the loop with a handful of passengers.

For another post about another light railway in a park. Have a look at Evesham Vale Light Railway in the Evesham Country Park (August 2014).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks to all my followers.

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80 passion points
Transport
14 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

RAF A400M and C17 flights over the skies of Birmingham in May 2020

There has been several test flights by the RAF A400M and C17 over the skies of Birmingham, and the rest of the country since British Airspace went quite since lockdown came into force. So the RAF have been having test flights. During April 2020 I kept missing seeing the planes, although saw it once but not camera ready. 7th May for A400M and 11th May for the C17.

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RAF A400M and C17 flights over the skies of Birmingham in May 2020





There has been several test flights by the RAF A400M and C17 over the skies of Birmingham, and the rest of the country since British Airspace went quite since lockdown came into force. So the RAF have been having test flights. During April 2020 I kept missing seeing the planes, although saw it once but not camera ready. 7th May for A400M and 11th May for the C17.


On Thursday 7th May 2020, I was made aware that the RAF A400M was scheduled to fly over the skies of Birmingham, just didn't know when. Sometime after 7pm that evening, I could here it coming, so rushed up to get my camera and take some zoom ins as it circled over Birmingham. I've got Super Zoom, but it was going beyond optical zoom on my bridge camera to digital zoom. And was a bit hard to lock onto the plane as it flew around, but tried my best. Gallery below of the nine photos I got.

 

Monday 11th May 2020 update: saw it again, accept it was an RAF C17. See the photos further down the post. Actually rushed up the stairs twice to get my camera, the C17 went around about twice.

 

The Airbus A400M is a four engine turboprop military transport aircraft. In the UK, it has been in service with the Royal Air Force since 2014. They had an order of 25, but that was reduced to 22.

 

With a clear blue sky that evening, also caught some shadows on the military plane as it flew overhead. This after 7pm in the evening.

The A400M has four sets of propellers.

 

Before that, the only none commercial plane I've seen while on a daily walk on lockdown was this Embraer Phenom 300 - G-CKAZ. On Friday 24th April 2020. It was going on a round trip from Birmingham Airport and back. Then it went up again and back to BHX.

 

Update on the 11th May 2020. Saw another military plane flying over the skies of Birmingham, thought it was the A400M, but no, it was the C17 Globemaster.

It was originally developed for the United States Air Force in the 1980s to the early 1990s. Also known as: McDonnell Douglas/Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. The Royal Air Force started receiving them in the late 1990s. They received several of them in the 2000s and 2010s.

 

Saw it twice around 1pm at lunchtime. The C17 has four sets of jets.

The second return so I up I went to get some more photo zoom ins.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks to all my followers.

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50 passion points
History & heritage
27 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Austin Seven's in Victoria Square (April 2012)

After I left the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery on the 22nd April 2012, I walked into Victoria Square and saw all of these vintage Austin cars. Most of them were Austin Seven's parked in front of the Council House. I think it was for something at the time called Drive It Day Birmingham. This reminds me of a recent car rally at Kings Heath Village Square in late August 2019.

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Austin Seven's in Victoria Square (April 2012)





After I left the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery on the 22nd April 2012, I walked into Victoria Square and saw all of these vintage Austin cars. Most of them were Austin Seven's parked in front of the Council House. I think it was for something at the time called Drive It Day Birmingham. This reminds me of a recent car rally at Kings Heath Village Square in late August 2019.


There has been many events that took place in Victoria Square, Birmingham over the years, so probably too many to put into one post (have more than 500 plus photos in my archive).

On the 22nd April 2012, I had just visited the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery again (taking more photos once I knew that it was OK as long as you don't use flash), and left via the Chamberlain Square entrance and headed into Victoria Square. At the time you could use the Great Charles Street Queensway entrance to the museum, and on Sunday's they used to open at 12:30pm (but that's for another post in the BM & AG project).

I saw all of these vintage Austin motors parked in front of the Council House. Many of them may have been Austin Seven's. Some of these might have been Morris or Riley cars.

It was Drive It Day Birmingham in Victoria Square. So many classic Austin's to see, and for once you didn't have to see them in Thinktank or at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre (although I have seen old cars in the museum and in storage).

Google Lens for the car at the front is coming up as an Austin Ten. (On Wikipedia showing as an Austin Ten Lichfield).

One of them was labelled "Donaldson's Fish & Game Salesman Kings Lynn".

Not all of them were Austin Seven's. According to Google Lens, this is an BSA Ten.

This is either a Riley car or a type of Austin Seven. The roof was down.

This is an Austin Cambridge A55 Mark II. There is now a pub at the Longbridge Town Centre called The Cambridge.

There was some young people in Army uniforms and yellow high vis jackets around at the time.

For my post on Sir Herbert Austin follow this link: Herbert Austin: making cars at Longbridge and the Austin Village. It features some more Austin cars that I've seen in museums over the years.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at more than 1,120 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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40 passion points
Transport
21 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Airlines gone but not forgotten at Birmingham Airport: Monarch Airlines

One of the many budget airlines that used to have many routes in and out of Birmingham Airport was Monarch Airlines. With their distinctive yellow, white and navy blue planes. Mostly Boeing 737-800's. In their later years they also had Airbus A320-200's and A321-200's. I mostly saw them at Birmingham Airport between 2012 and 2017. Some views from the train, some airside.

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Airlines gone but not forgotten at Birmingham Airport: Monarch Airlines





One of the many budget airlines that used to have many routes in and out of Birmingham Airport was Monarch Airlines. With their distinctive yellow, white and navy blue planes. Mostly Boeing 737-800's. In their later years they also had Airbus A320-200's and A321-200's. I mostly saw them at Birmingham Airport between 2012 and 2017. Some views from the train, some airside.


Monarch Airlines

Monarch Airlines, usually known as just Monarch was founded in 1967. It later became a low-cost airline. Originally a British charter and scheduled airline, they abandoned charter flying completely in 2004. Their headquarters was in Luton. They also had bases in Birmingham, Leeds/Bradford, Gatwick and Manchester. Monarch collapsed into administration in 2017, leaving 100,000 passengers and holiday makers stranded overseas. Two years later (in 2019) Thomas Cook collapsed, and earlier in 2020, Flybe also ceased to exist.

Here we will just be looking at Monarch.

 

Before I had ever taken photos of Monarch planes taking off or landing at Birmingham Airport, I once saw the Monarch Beach in Chamberlain Square during June 2009. They were advertising the kind of holidays you could go with them to mainland Europe and beyond.

I had originally posted these three photos in this post A variety of events that were held in Chamberlain Square until 2015.

BRMB provided the entertainment (now part of Free Radio).

The fake beach had purple and white deckchairs on the sand in Chamberlain Square. But Monarch was not just about flying to beaches on the continent.

In June 2012 we were at Birmingham Airport, heading to catch our flight to Naples International Airport (Aeroporto Internazionale di Napoli) with Thomson Airways when I saw this Monarch plane. With the slogan Fly your way, Every way.

It wouldn't be until the June 2014 holiday to Classical Spain that we would fly with Monarch. Taking us to Málaga Airport (Málaga–Costa del Sol Airport / Aeropuerto de Málaga-Costa del Sol). There was quite a few Monarch planes outside of the terminal building. The plane we would go on would be an Airbus A321-200.

Luggage getting loaded onto this Monarch plane on the left.

The airbridge to this Monarch plane was sponsored by RSC: Royal Shakespeare Company. Experience a different kind of Theatre.

I saw this Monarch plane from the plane window of the Monarch plane I had just got on board, so had just put my seat belt on, our hand luggage going into the overhead storage locker and so on. Before taxiing to the runway and taking off.

One week later, after a wonderful holiday around Classical Spain (including Seville and Granada) we flew back from Málaga, and I took this photo of the Monarch plane (after heading down the steps but before heading to the bus). There was a French Air Traffic Control strike at the time, so we spent much longer at Málaga Airport than expected. And when we did take off from Spain, we flew over Portugal and the North Atlantic Ocean, avoiding French airspace. Eventually flying back into UK airspace over Cornwall and Wales. At the time I did not know that this would be the last time that we would fly with Monarch!

A few years later now, around March 2016 and I saw this Monarch plane come into land from the Sheldon Country Park. This was after I headed to the park to see the Emirates Airbus A380 come into land at Birmingham Airport for the first time, and there was a large crowd in the park to see it! After that, I walked back to Marston Green Station to get a train to Birmingham New Street one way.

See my posts on Emirates Airbus A380 and the Sheldon Country Park.

In October 2016, I had caught a train at Birmingham International Station, after attending Destination Star Trek Europe at the NEC. On the way back to Birmingham New Street, I saw this Monarch plane at Birmingham Airport.

The Monarch hanger and a Monarch plane seen from Car Park 5 at Birmingham Airport during December 2016. This was actually a view of a Ryanair plane that had just landed, but I've cropped it to mostly just show Monarch. I had got off the X1 NXWM Platinum bus near the car park, for a bit of plane spotting.

The next time I saw some Monarch planes on the tarmac was from a train I was on coming back from a day out around Rugby during April 2017.

It's a bit difficult from the train getting plane photos at Birmingham Airport without getting passing trees in the way. In this view a pair of Monarch planes.

The next time I saw the Monarch planes on the tarmac at Birmingham Airport was after the airline had gone out of business during October 2017. Monarch went into administration on the 2nd of October 2017, and the time I saw them was on the 7th of October 2017. I was on a train heading to Coventry (it was the day I went to check out the Coventry Canal Basin).

There was at least 3 Monarch planes here, next to a Flybe plane in Welcome to Yorkshire livery. The Air Traffic Control Tower is seen to the right.

Also visible with the three Monarch planes and the solo Flybe plane was Qatar Airways. Other airlines such as Qatar were used at the time to get stranded passengers overseas back home to the UK. To the right of the Air Traffic Control Tower is a Travelodge hotel.

The further the train went past, the harder it was to see a Monarch plane. This one was behind several buses (the ones that you use when you get off a plane and go down the steps, or vice versa if the airbridge can't be used). I wouldn't see these planes in the final Monarch livery ever again.

Coming back from Barcelona Airport (Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport / Aeroport Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat / Aeropuerto Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat) with Ryanair in May 2019, I saw this Olympus plane on the tarmac (at Birmingham Airport). Clearly it was a former Monarch plane. You can tell by the yellow, white and navy blue colours. It was one of Monarch's former Airbus A321-200 planes.

In the future, I might do Birmingham Airport planes posts on:

  • Thomas Cook Airlines (defunct)
  • BMI Baby (defunct)
  • Ryanair
  • Thomson Airways (now TUI)
  • Flybe (now defunct - could do one on the Embraer 175 or 195)
  • Qatar Airways
  • Easyjet
  • Jet2
  • Emirates (a post about the Boeing 777)

To name a few that I can think of.

Links to existing plane related posts:

  1. Flybe Bombardier Dash 8 Q400
  2. Emirates Airbus A380
  3. British Airways diverts

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,110 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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