Popular
TransportAndUs – A FreeTimePays community
Launch date: September 2018
Combined FreeTimePays following: 101K


Community sponsors:

Transport
16 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

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

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

Related View community

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





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


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

The photos below were taken between 2009 and early 2020.

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

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

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

Birmingham Snow Hill Station

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

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

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

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

Birmingham Moor Street Station

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

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

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

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

Solihull Station

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

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

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

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

Warwick Parkway Station

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

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

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

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

Leamington Spa Station

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

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

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

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

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Share  Connect with us
50 passion points
Squares and public spaces
15 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

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

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

Related View community

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





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


Classic Car Meet at Kings Heath Village Square

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a Austin Six from 1929.

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

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

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

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

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

Close to All Saints Church was a 1966 Volvo Amazon.

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

Next up was this Volkswagen Type 2.

A classic Volkswagen Beetle

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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

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

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

Related View community

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





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


Wootton Wawen Aqueduct

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edstone Aqueduct

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

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

It is the longest canal aqueduct in England.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to cross the Edstone Aqueduct again.

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

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

 

Share  Connect with us
70 passion points
Transport
11 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

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

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

Related View community

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





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


flybe

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

Share  Connect with us
50 passion points
Transport
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.

Related View community

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.

Share  Connect with us
50 passion points

Top Contributors

Elliott Brown
TransportAndUs points: 4321
Combined FreeTimePays points: 67K
FreeTimePays
TransportAndUs points: 80
Combined FreeTimePays points: 22K

Show more