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Transport
10 Aug 2020 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

West Midlands Railway Class 196 section at Tyseley

West Midlands Railway will soon have a fleet of Class 196 Civity diesel multiple unit trains. There is a section of one at the Tyseley DMU depot of West Midlands Railway. I saw it behind the metal fences from the Warwick Road. They will replace the old Class 153's and Class 170's. It might be there for testing or driver training, as it's in the car park.

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West Midlands Railway Class 196 section at Tyseley





West Midlands Railway will soon have a fleet of Class 196 Civity diesel multiple unit trains. There is a section of one at the Tyseley DMU depot of West Midlands Railway. I saw it behind the metal fences from the Warwick Road. They will replace the old Class 153's and Class 170's. It might be there for testing or driver training, as it's in the car park.


West Midlands Railway Class 196

There is a section near the Warwick Road in Tyseley of a West Midlands Railway Class 196 train. Near the entrance to West Midlands Railway Birmingham Tyseley. Outside was a sign about VE Day 75 (which was in May 2020) and an NHS Rainbow. Thank you to our NHS staff and Key Workers.

Gallery below of five photos of a new Class 196 train (I couldn't see another one from Tyseley Station, but noticed one in July 2020 from a train).

It might be there to be used for training, as it is on a car park.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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50 passion points
Transport
28 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Vintage red London Transport Routemaster spotted in Highgate, Birmingham

I was getting the no 50 bus into town, when I saw this vintage red ex London Transport Routemaster bus. I later had a long walk back to Highgate just to see it, before getting the 50 back to Kings Heath. Possibly last used as a Burrito Bus.

CUV 291C

RML2291

Route 64: Wivenhoe Park via the University of Essex.

 

 

 

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Vintage red London Transport Routemaster spotted in Highgate, Birmingham





I was getting the no 50 bus into town, when I saw this vintage red ex London Transport Routemaster bus. I later had a long walk back to Highgate just to see it, before getting the 50 back to Kings Heath. Possibly last used as a Burrito Bus.

CUV 291C

RML2291

Route 64: Wivenhoe Park via the University of Essex.

 

 

 


Spotted this bus from the no 50 bus heading into Birmingham City Centre while it was on Upper Conybere Street in Highgate. I stayed on the bus until the Bullring. And later had a long walk to Highgate via Westside and the Middleway's.

Located on a site near Highgate Middleway and Upper Conybere Street.

Last used as a "Burrito Bus".

 

HOP ON-BOARD THE BURRITO BUS

 

Route 64: Wivenhoe Park via the University of Essex

CUV 291C

RML2291

London Transport

Remember to wear a face covering on a bus (or train or tram). I usually find that I get warm air under mine, and my glasses or sunglasses steam up. Also remember to use hand sanitser (and take some with you in your bag).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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50 passion points
Travel & tourism
08 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Go to space in the Future at Thinktank

On Level 3 of Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum is The Future. All about space and the Thinktank Planetarium is up here! This visit was during April 2014. See an astronaut, an alien, robots and more! Get the lift up there, or go up the stairs. An idea for a Planetarium goes back to when one was proposed for what is now Centenary Square (1941 model). This one in Eastside opened in 2001.

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Go to space in the Future at Thinktank





On Level 3 of Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum is The Future. All about space and the Thinktank Planetarium is up here! This visit was during April 2014. See an astronaut, an alien, robots and more! Get the lift up there, or go up the stairs. An idea for a Planetarium goes back to when one was proposed for what is now Centenary Square (1941 model). This one in Eastside opened in 2001.


THE FUTURE AT THINKTANK

Space, the Final Frontier, these are the voyages of the Starship Birmingham, it's continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldly go where no one has gone before!

Located on Level 3 at Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum in Millennium Point is an area called The Future. I went up there during the April 2014 visit to Thinktank. Using our free Thinktank vouchers, took advantage during 2014 while it was still valid. But you have to wear a wristband. I didn't get around to going up to The Future the year before in April 2013.

 

The area is now called Find the Future. But expect that it is the same exhibits as 6 years earlier. And many of it would have been placed here back in 2001 when the museum opened.

Below is the description on the Thinktank website:

Explore the outer reaches of space, get to grips with innovative inventions and marvel at how medical advancements are saving lives. Head to Talking Point to consider scientists’ predictions for the future – and have your say!

The Futures gallery brings to life how science, technology and medicine have a huge impact on the way we live - now and in the future.

With interactive exhibits such as Create an Alien and RoboThespian, the Futures gallery aims to stimulate debate, explore scientific issues and question our place in the Universe.

 

The Planetarium now has a 4K system, but at the time of our visit in 2014 they still had the old 2001 version (it was voiced I think by former BBC Midlands Today presenter Sue Beardsmore).

This is the description for the Planeterium on the Thinktank website:

Step inside Thinktank’s Planetarium and explore the outer reaches of space, get up close to constellations, journey through the night-sky and adventure through the solar system!

In addition to astronomy, there will be shows that allow you to travel through the human body; dive under the ocean; shrink to the size of an atom or allow yourself to be immersed completely in music and light.

 

There could have been an even earlier Planetarium built in what is now Centenary Square. As seen in this model made in 1941. It would have been located close to Broad Street approximately where Symphony Hall is now. But due to World War 2, this plan was abandoned, and only Baskerville House (completed in 1938) and the Hall of Memory (opened in 1925) were built in the end. Birmingham wouldn't get a Planeterium until Thinktank opened in Millennium Point in 2001! Saw the model at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre during an open day in May 2012.

After the war, Roman Imperial imagery went out of fashion, so this plan for a civic square never came to be. The proposed planetarium would have been to the far left of the Broad Street site.

Birds-eye view of the model where the proposed Planetarium would have been located. The model was made by William Haywood, who was Secretary of The Birmingham Civic Society. In the end, it would another 60 years before a Planetarium would open at Thinktank in Millennium Point.

 

Now for a tour of The Future from my visit during April 2014.

First view of The Future after heading up the stairs to Level 3. Saw these yellow tubes in the centre of the room. They might be just below the Planetarium.

The outside of the Planetarium. When inside, it's a bit like sitting in a cinema, but looking up at the ceiling with all the changing images of the solar system and the planets and beyond!

This part was called the Future of Space. With an image of the planet Earth on it.

They had a full astronaut suit on display. Probably from the European Space Agency if not from NASA.

The front of the astronaut's suit. Could do with a helmet right now! That would protect you from the glare from the sun.

A look at RoboThespian. It was an anamatronic.

Close up look at the top half of RoboThespian.

Saw this Mars Rover on a recreation of the surface of the Martian planet. A bit like what NASA would send there.

An alien with 9 eyes! This was an animation that kept changing. Imagining what aliens could look like?

They had a couple of Gyroscopes on display. They look like remote controlled helicopters. Before drones was invented.

A moving robot arm. This is a screenshot from the video I took, as the only photo I got of it, showed it in motion while it was moving. It looks like the robot arm was drumming on a drum kit.

Futher displays in The Future. All sections here was interactive with a touchscreen. And behind the objects was screens explaining what the object was all about.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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60 passion points
Transport
07 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Classic Car Collection in the garage at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre

The last area of your visit to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre is in the large garage. Where they store many classic cars from various different eras. Many made all over the West Midlands. From Rover's to Austin's to the earliest cars from the beginning of the 20th century. Some of these cars might be in Thinktank now. I first saw them on an open day I went to in May 2012.

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Classic Car Collection in the garage at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre





The last area of your visit to the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre is in the large garage. Where they store many classic cars from various different eras. Many made all over the West Midlands. From Rover's to Austin's to the earliest cars from the beginning of the 20th century. Some of these cars might be in Thinktank now. I first saw them on an open day I went to in May 2012.


Here we will look at the classic cars in the collection of the Birmingham Museums Trust (originally Birmingham City Council). The following photos were taken during a May 2012 open day I went to. So when I went again 6 years later in September 2018, I didn't take these cars again (apart from if I saw them at Thinktank in 2013 or 2014). These cars were seen in the large garage at the Birmingham Museum Collection Centre on Dollman Street in Nechells.

The following vehicles below date from about 1900 until 1985.

Carriage

I had no details about this carriage. But assume it dates to before the 20th century, and probably needed horses to pull it.

Benz Voiturette

This Dogcart was built in 1900 to Karl Benz's system. It took part in the inaugural 'Brighton Run' and also again in 2003 despite the appalling weather. Benz first made a motorcar in 1883. He retired in 1903, but remained on the board, even after the company merged with DMG in 1926. He was still on the board at the time of his death in 1929 by which time the company was now called the Daimler-Benz corporation.

Clement Panhard

This Clément-Panhard automobile was built in 1901 or 1902, it was registered in 1904. This light car was marketed in England as the 'Stirling Dog Cart'. The automobile manufacturer started in 1898. The owner of the company was Adolphe Clément. Was probably made in France.

Jackson Motor Car

This car was built in 1909 by Jackson / De Dion. It was a single cylinder wagonette. The Jackson Automobile Company was an American Brass Era automobile manufacturer located and named for Jackson, Michigan, USA. They produced the Jackson from 1903 until 1923. The De Dion-Bouton was a French automobile manufacturer making cars from 1883 until 1953. It was founded by Jules-Albert de Dion, Georges Bouton and Charles Trépardoux. It was probably a Jackson automobile with a De Dion engine.

B.S.A. Open Tourer

This was a 4 seater car built by B.S.A. in 1912 at the Sparkbrook Works. The car had the legendary Knight Double Sleeve Valve engine. It was one of the earliest uses steel panels in motor cars. The Birmingham Small Arms Company started out in 1861 making machine guns in the Gun Quarter. By 1880 they started to make bicycles. They moved to Sparkbrook in 1906 and started making motorcycles in 1910. They started making cars from 1907. The company went out of business in 1973.

Castle Runabout (Prototype)

This prototype was made in 1919 and was the 4 wheeled version. It never reached full production. The Castle Motor Company of Kidderminster made about 350 3 wheeled 'Runabout' light cars known as the Castle Three from 1919 until 1922.

Singer 10 H.P. Coupe

Made in 1920 by Singer Motors. It was Model C. 1124cc. The company under George Singer originally made bicycles, before they started making motorcycles. They became the 3rd largest car builder behind Austin and Morris.

Ariel Convertible Car

Made in 1924 with an Ariel 4 cylinder engine. The Ariel works was based in Selly Oak and they built over 1000 cars from 1923 until 1925. When they switched to making motorcycles as they were priced out of the market by the Austin Seven. Ariel existed from 1902 until they were sold to BSA in 1970. They were based in the Bournbrook area. Today the name is remembered in Selly Oak with the Ariel Aqueduct, which was built in 2011 near the former site of the Battery works.

Bean 14HP Coupe

This car was built in Tipton in 1927. It was a 4 Cylinder, 2385cc, Coupe. The Beans Foundry survived to make engine blocks for other car manufacturers (but production ceased in 2005 and was closed in 6 months by the administrators). Bean made cars from 1919 until 1931 by A Harper Sons & Bean, Ltd at factories in Dudley and Coseley.

Ford Model A Saloon

The Ford Model A was probably made in Manchester in 1928. It had a 1626cc 4 cylinder engine. Most of it's 'working' life was spent in the London area. It was also known as a Tudor sedan (in the US) or a Tudor saloon (in the UK).

Daimler 20 Saloon

Was built in Coventry in 1931. It had a 20 HP engine, with a six cylinder sleeve valve engine, pre-selector gearbox and a fluid flywheel. At the time it would have cost more than £750.

M.G. Midget (J Series)

M.G. built this J2 sports car in 1933. It had an 847cc Engine. It was developed from the Morris Minor. It was restored to working order my museum staff and has been seen on the roads. I saw it a year later in April 2013 at Thinktank in the Move It section. M.G. began producing cars in 1924 by William Morris in Oxford. It has had many owners over the years. Including: British Leyland, Austin Rover, Rover Group, MG Rover Group and more recently the Nanjing Automobile Group until 2011. The current company MG Motor had been producing cars at Longbridge since 2012 and is owned by SAIC Motor UK.

Armstrong Siddeley - 'Foursome'

The chassis of this car was made in Coventry in 1935 but the car was finished in Birmingham. It had a 17HP, 6 cylinder engine.

Rover 12 Sports

It was built in Coventry in 1936 and was a 12HP Sports Saloon typical of later designs available with three different engine capacity engines, the 10, 12 and 14HP.

Austin A90 Atlantic

The A90 'Atlantic' Coupe was made in 1949 by Austin at Longbridge. It drove continuously for 7 days and nights, taking 63 American stock car records. It was the first British car to attempt the American National Stock Car Record at the Indianapolis Speedway. It was owned by the Birmingham Museum of Science & Industry. So probably been in storage at BMCC since 1997 (as no room at Thinktank).

Heinkel 'Cabin Cruiser'

Also called Heinkel Kabine. This was a 3 Wheeled Bubble Car built in 1958. The door of the vehicle opens at the front. It owes much to aircraft technology. The company started in Germany making aircraft. After the war they were prohibited from making planes, so had to make cars. It is possible that this one was made in Ireland under licence to the Dundalk Engineering Company.

Riley 'Elf' (sectioned)

Similar to a Mini. It dates to 1961. The boot in the Riley 'Elf' was slightly larger than a Mini. It had a walnut veneered fascia. It was sectioned by Austin Apprentices. Saw it again displayed at Thinktank in the area called We Made It during April 2013.

Rover 2000

Built in Solihull in 1964. It has a 2 Litre engine and was a Manual car. It was one of the new style 'Rovers'. Triumph almost built a similar model to this one.

Rover P5B Automatic

This car was built by Rover in Solihull in 1971. It has a 3.5 Litre engine. It was restored to it's concours by it's former owner.  The P5B has a 3528cc V8 engine (which was in production from 1967 until 1973). The mileage at the time it was donated to the museum's collection was at 45,462.

Rover SD1 Automatic

Built in Solihull during 1981. It has a 3.5 litre engine. It was returned to concours condition by it's former owner.

It was the last model made by Rover before they linked up with Honda. I later saw it again a year later at Thinktank in an area called Move It, during April 2013.

Sinclair C5 Tricycle

Technically not a car. The Sinclair C5 was built in 1985 by Hoover Washing Machines, in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. It was a 12 volt electric vehicle and was considered a novelty and unsafe by the majority of other motorists. It could be bought from Woolworths for £399 with a £29 delivery fee. It was capable of 15 miles per hour, the maximum speed allowed without a licence. Designed by Sir Clive Sinclair, he was known for the ZX Spectrum computer. He was ahead of time with an electric vehicle. Sadly it wasn't very successful and only being available by mail order was a mistake. As customers couldn't inspect it in shops before purchasing it.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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60 passion points
Transport
23 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

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

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

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





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


Thomas Cook at Birmingham Airport

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now for a bonus photo.

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

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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