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Transport
02 Jan 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Ending 2019 with a West Midlands Metro tram ride to Wolverhampton

I wanted to check out the new Wolverhampton Station building, and it had been over 2 and a half years since I got the tram all the way to Wolverhampton (not counting when I went to Wednesbury and Bilston). Also the trams have all gone blue since I last saw them in Wolverhampton. Checked out the Wolverhampton Metro extension then walked to Priestfield Tram Stop via the City Centre. HNY 2020

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Ending 2019 with a West Midlands Metro tram ride to Wolverhampton





I wanted to check out the new Wolverhampton Station building, and it had been over 2 and a half years since I got the tram all the way to Wolverhampton (not counting when I went to Wednesbury and Bilston). Also the trams have all gone blue since I last saw them in Wolverhampton. Checked out the Wolverhampton Metro extension then walked to Priestfield Tram Stop via the City Centre. HNY 2020


First up on Sunday 29th December 2019, needed to catch a tram in Birmingham City Centre. They seemed more frequent than they usually are on a Sunday. I always prefer to head to Grand Central Tram Stop. But this time had to catch the tram from the platform near The Burlington Hotel, since the Westside Metro extension opened to Library Tram Stop in Centenary Square several weeks ago (with testing before that).

Grand Central Tram Stop

While waiting for a tram to Wolverhampton, saw West Midlands Metro tram 23 Comet arriving at th platform near Birmingham New Street Station.

The pantograph was lowered from the overhead wires, before heading up Stephenson Street under battery power towards Pinfold Street.

Heading past the Guildhall Buildings and the modern part of Victoria Square House. It would turn up right towards Pinfold Street and Victoria Square. A street cleaning vehicle to the right.

Passing Costa Coffee in the Guildhall Buildings (corner of Navigation Street and Stephenson Street) was tram 29 Cupid. Which I would catch to Wolverhampton St George's. A 45 minute journey. The pantograph was probably raised while I was inside of this tram.

Wolverhampton St George's Tram Stop

45 minutes later I arrived in Wolverhampton. Getting off at Wolverhampton St George's Tram Stop. Only one platform here now since it was rebuilt several years ago.

I was first heading to check out the Wolverhampton Metro extension to Wolverhampton Station. As you can see the former platform at the existing terminus is now for buses. Pipers Row has a tram stop with platforms but no shelters. And since they are still re-building Wolverhampton Station, the extension currently stops on the bridge on Railway Drive.

Bilston Road, Wolverhampton

The last time I walked down here in May 2017, the Urbos 3 trams were pink, and I walked up the canal. Ended up that time catching a tram from The Royal to West Bromwich. This time it was a walk down to Priestfield Tram Stop.

After a quick walk around Wolverhampton City Centre, I crossed over Ring Road St George's as West Midlands Metro tram 19 headed between Bilston Road and Bilston Street to the Wolverhampton terminus at St George's. Passing Novotel.

I later saw it heading down the Bilston Road. This was after it had left The Royal Tram Stop. Not sure if it was in service as it did not say "Birmingham" on the front or back digital display.

Tram 19 passing a Vauxhall car dealership on the Bilston Road.

Heading over the Bilston Road Bridge that crosses over the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline (Wolverhampton Level).

Next up was West Midlands Metro tram 18 (one of the trams with Just Eat adverts in red). Seen here going under the railway bridge that carries the West Coast Mainline between Wolverhampton and Birmingham (and London). Saw a couple of Avanti West Coast Class 390 Pendolino's up there (weird not saying Virgin Trains any more).

Passing various car showrooms. Wolverhampton Volkswagen to the left.

Passing a Toyota place on the Bilston Road.

Passing me next was West Midlands Metro tram 32. This was near Ettingshall Road near the boarded up The New Inn (which used to be an Oriental restaurant until it closed down).

Seen continuing up to Wolverhampton St George's. I later got this tram back from Priestfield.

Priestfield Tram Stop

Arrived at Priestfield Tram Stop too late to catch Tram 18 back to Birmingham. But only had to wait another 7 minutes for the next tram. It is here that the trams leaves the Bilston Road and goes back onto the old railway trackbed.

There is paths on both sides of the tracks that leads to the platforms at Priestfield.

I wasn't going to run for the tram like the man ahead of me. Priestfield has it's own car park.

Saw West Midlands Metro tram 30 arriving at Priestfield on it's journey towards Wolverhampton St George's.

I don't think tram 30 has a temporary reindeer name at Christmas time.

There is crossover track here, incase the line beyond here is closed for whatever reason.

Tram 32 arriving at Priestfield. I caught it all the way to Bull Street Tram Stop in Birmingham City Centre.

On Sunday afternoon many football fans of West Bromwich Albion got on board heading to The Hawthorns to watch their team in the Championship. Many of them had scarfs, hats and Baggies football shirts on.

If this is my last post in 2019, then I'd like to say Happy New Year 2020!

One last tram photo on the 31st December 2019. New Year's Eve. Tram 18 with Just Eat livery seen from Victoria Square at Town Hall Tram Stop.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

Check out my brand new Facebook page Ell Brown Photos.

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50 passion points
Transport
27 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

West Midlands Metro tram in and out of Town Hall Tram Stop on the last weekend of the Birmingham FCM (December 2019)

The all blue West Midlands Metro trams are now running every day between Library and Wolverhampton St George's. Monday's to Saturday's every 6 minutes, and every 15 minutes on Sunday's. Heading up Pinfold Street as a tram heads down from Victoria Square. Also a pair of trams stopping at the new Town Hall Tram Stop. On the last weekend of the Frankfurt Christmas Market.

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West Midlands Metro tram in and out of Town Hall Tram Stop on the last weekend of the Birmingham FCM (December 2019)





The all blue West Midlands Metro trams are now running every day between Library and Wolverhampton St George's. Monday's to Saturday's every 6 minutes, and every 15 minutes on Sunday's. Heading up Pinfold Street as a tram heads down from Victoria Square. Also a pair of trams stopping at the new Town Hall Tram Stop. On the last weekend of the Frankfurt Christmas Market.


Starting with West Midlands Metro tram 19 at Grand Central Tram Stop, on the early evening of Wednesday 18th December 2019. The tram with the 20 Years livery (1999 - 2019). Passing here again on Saturday 21st December 2019, it was a bit too crowded for me. Noisy football fans coming out of the Burlington Arcade, and protesters walking past with placards on the opposite platform.

Heading up Pinfold Street nad I have finally managed to get some photos of a tram heading down the hill. West Midlands Metro tram 21 in Just Eat livery, now all blue, but still with the red adverts.

The last weekend of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, it closes on Monday 23rd December 2019.

You can see the Big Brum clocktower from down here which is behind the Council House. It is completely pedestrianised up here.

Tram 21 turns left from Pinfold Street onto Stephenson Street, passing La Galleria and Yorks Cafe in the Guildhall Buildings.

Heading to the end of Paradise Street, as far as pedestrians are supposed to go, saw tram 29 with the reindeer name Cupid coming round Paradise Circus. With Centenary Square behind. Including the Birmingham Big Wheel and ice rink at Ice Skate Birmingham. The REP, Library of Birmingham, Hall of Memory and Baskerville House. HSBC UK at Arena Central on the left, while the site of One Centenary Way to the right.

Pedestrians are not supposed to walk beyond here, but some have ignoring the signs (can they not read?). Tram 29 continues to go round the corner with HSBC UK and the Birmingham Big Wheel seen behind.

Tram 29 Cupid heads onto Paradise Street. As a man with shopping walks beyond the point of no return for pedestrians. Behind you can still see the Big Wheel, Library, Hall of Memory and Baskerville House. Only trams are allowed to enter Paradise Street here. Not cars.

Heading past the Town Hall as tram 29 arrives at Town Hall Tram Stop. The Christmas tree at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is visible to the right.

Tram 22 Dasher arrives at platform 1 for Birmingham (Library) while tram 29 Cupid comes into platform 2, bound for Wolverhampton (St George's).

A view not possible a few years ago. Big Brum at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery with the Birmingham Town Hall. Seen from Paradise Street while the pair of trams were at Town Hall Tram Stop. And as a bonus, the core of 103 Colmore Row. Paradise Birmingham is to the left. That was where Fletchers Walk and the old Birmingham Conservatoire used to be until a few years ago. And there used to be a road that was part of Paradise Circus that is now long gone.

Another new view from the tram stop is of Colmore Gate and the dome of Birmingham Cathedral. Never expected to get those with a pair of West Midlands Metro blue trams.

Tram 22 Dasher continues it's journey towards Centenary Square. You can see it's destination in the background, the Library of Birmingham. The Alpha Tower is usually visible from the end of Paradise Street.

Tram 29 seen leaving Town Hall Tram Stop. Going through Victoria Square, then down Pinfold Street. As visitors to the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market pass in and out of the square.

I will add to this post as it was not published on the 23rd December 2019.

The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market was dismantled between the 24th and 25th December 2019, and trams were running apart from on Christmas Day of course.

On Boxing Day, the 26th December 2019, at least two trams were broken down meaning no trams could go beyond Bull Street until they were removed.

On a miserable wet Boxing Day, tram 30 had broken down at Corporation Street. It was on the platform bound for Wolverhampton, but couldn't go anywhere.

Heading round to Bull Street Tram Stop, saw tram 28 Jasper Carrott with no destination on the board. This one on the Wolverhampton bound platform. Was it broken down to / not in service?

Then tram 22 arrived heading to Birmingham. But I'm not sure if it headed down to Corporation Street, or if all the passengers got off here, and it returned in the other direction.

Back to normal on the 27th December 2019. Saw at least one tram from Victoria Square.

After popping through the concourse at Birmingham New Street Station, I saw tram 18 in the Just Eat livery arriving. I saw the pantograph rising up and connecting to the overhead wires when it got to the tram stop from the newly opened extension.

Saw tram 34 arriving at Grand Central Tram Stop, but tram 18 had started to depart before I was able to get two trams in one shot, so I took this one instead. Looks like the pantograph had been lowered, before it started the journey up to Town Hall and Library.

Merry Christmas 2019 and a Happy New Year 2020. Oh and Happy Hanukkah as well! (Will all be over when this gets published). More tram posts and photos in 2020. I'm hoping to ride the tram again perhaps all the way to Wolverhampton.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

 

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70 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
21 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Gas Street Basin between 2009 and 2019

There is many ways to walk around Gas Street Basin. At least two entrances from Gas Street. Or from Bridge Street. Also from the Broad Street Tunnel or The Mailbox ends. The BCN was completed in 1773 to Old Wharf, while the W & B Canal completed by 1815. Worcester Bar was between them. Used to be a gate blocking passage between both canals (long since gone). Redeveloped from the 1990s.

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Gas Street Basin between 2009 and 2019





There is many ways to walk around Gas Street Basin. At least two entrances from Gas Street. Or from Bridge Street. Also from the Broad Street Tunnel or The Mailbox ends. The BCN was completed in 1773 to Old Wharf, while the W & B Canal completed by 1815. Worcester Bar was between them. Used to be a gate blocking passage between both canals (long since gone). Redeveloped from the 1990s.


Gas Street Basin

Located near Gas Street in what is now the Westside area of Birmingham City Centre. Gas Street Basin is where the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline meets the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at the Worcester Bar. The Birmingham Canal completed their canal to Old Wharf by 1773. The Worcester & Birmingham Canal reached as far as Selly Oak by 1795, not being completed as far as Worcester until 1815. The Worcester Bar was a physical barrier between the two canals, which were owned by two separate companies at the time. A gate blocked access from one canal to the other (this has long since been removed).

In the 1990s, Gas Street Basin was renovated. And is now used on both sides to moor narrowboats. You also see the likes of the Waterbus and the Sherborne Wharf narrowboat take tourists down the canal. You can visit Gas Street Basin in all seasons, in all weathers, come sunshine, rain or snow!

Things have changed quite a lot over the last decade. The once derelict James Brindley pub is now The Canal House. The view towards Arena Central is ever changing. The Hyatt Hotel has dominated the skyline there for the past 30 years. The Broad Street Tunnel has Walkabout and The O Bar above on Broad Street. Various bars and restaurants have popped up along Gas Street. The Tap & Spile has been there for a long time. Bistro Pierre opened up a few years ago in the former offices of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

2009

I started taking photos of Birmingham during April 2009. So these are my earliest views of Gas Street Basin. Narrowboats on the BCN side, while you can see The Cube under construction to the far left.

The Worcester Bar Footbridge. I think it was installed during the 1990s, as before then there wasn't a bridge at this point. Until the restoration works, the canal was quite derelict. This bridge allows access from the Gas Street side to the Bridge Street side of the basin at Old Wharf.

This view in June 2009. You can walk walk all the way along the Worcester Bar through the open gate. The blocked off bridge at Bridge Street is the site of Old Wharf. The Birmingham Canal used to terminate just beyond there. The James Brindley pub was boarded up, I don't remember ever seeing it open. At the time the view was towards the Alpha Tower and Crowne Plaza hotel. The old concrete building wouldn't be demolished until the mid 2010's for the Arena Central redevelopment (which got delayed by the 2008 recession).

The view from the Worcester Bar footbridge towards the Broad Street Tunnel. The O Bar on the left, Walkabout to the right. A red brick Grade II listed building designed by Martin & Chamberlain and built in 1875. The Tap & Spile pub also to the left. One of the Sherborne Wharf narrowboats seen heading through the Broad Street Tunnel towards Brindleyplace.

2010

Snow and ice at Gas Street Basin during December 2010. The view towards Regency Wharf and the Hyatt Hotel.

There wasn't too much ice in the canal at the time. The view towards the BT Tower, between the Hyatt Hotel and James Brindley pub (closed and derelict).

This view of the entrance to the Broad Street Tunnel during June 2010. Whenever I walk through it, on either towpath, I have to duck down a bit. Halfway down the roof height changes. The headroom and width of the tunnel varies.

2018

Seen during January 2018 was this Canal & River Trust service boat. It was raining a bit.

The last time we had decent snow and a covering of ice on the canal was during the early part of March 2018. The canal water at Gas Street Basin was completey frozen over. Nothing getting in or out. This view towards Regency Wharf.

Hard to believe that this was the beginning of Spring. It was during the Beast from the East and Storm Emma. Could make a nice Christmas postcard. At the time the World Indoor Athletics Championships was about to start at Arena Birmingham!

Going back to January 2018, saw the red Waterbus heading through the Worcester Bar from the footbridge above, while it was raining. Heading in the direction of The Mailbox. Moored to the left was several Away 2 Dine narrowboats. Leaving the Birmingham Canal Navigations for the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

2019

Heading up to March 2019. The Broad Street Tunnel was open again after being closed for three months due to the Midland Metro Alliance reinforcing it for the future second phase of the Westside Metro extension. Meanwhile, I saw the Waterbus again heading in the direction of the tunnel, having just gone under the Worcester Bar bridge.

In October 2019, traffic under the Broad Street Tunnel was back to normal. Saw this Sherborne Wharf narrowboat with tourists enjoying a ride towards Gas Street Basin and beyond. You can't really tell from down there that it was closed the previous winter for three months.

Raining during December 2019. The view from the BCN side has been completely transformed by Arena Central. 1 Centenary Square and the Holiday Inn Expres are already open. While 3 Arena Central is still under construction.

One of the Away 2 Dine narrowboats is seen heading back into it's spot on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal side of the basin, below the Hyatt Regency Birmingham. There wasn't many people about on the Canalside Walk in the wet weather.

Still reversing in, near Regency Wharf.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Transport
17 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

The Westside Metro extension now open to Centenary Square and some trams with reindeer names

With no announcement, the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square was open to the public on Wednesday 11th December 2019. I wasn't able to get down to ride the newly opened extension until Saturday 14th December 2019. For the Christmas season, West Midlands Metro has name some of their trams with Christmas reindeer names such as Rudolph, Comet and Dasher.

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The Westside Metro extension now open to Centenary Square and some trams with reindeer names





With no announcement, the Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square was open to the public on Wednesday 11th December 2019. I wasn't able to get down to ride the newly opened extension until Saturday 14th December 2019. For the Christmas season, West Midlands Metro has name some of their trams with Christmas reindeer names such as Rudolph, Comet and Dasher.


Tram 22 Dasher

Sunday 8th December 2019, and on this day we did not know when the extension to Centenary Square would open. I walked along Arena Central, passing HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square and the Municipal Bank redevelopment. Fencing was still up, while a rainbow was behind the Library of Birmingham and the Birmingham Big Wheel.

Before services started, from the 1st December 2019 onwards, trams were leaving Grand Central and heading to Library Tram Stop without passengers. Close up of tram 22 Dasher

The Dasher name is temporary. Will probably be removed in January 2020.

The end of the line (for now) was looking like a mess. The extension to Hagley Road will open in 2 years time in 2021, only they have to build it first along Broad Street.

Tram 36 Rudolph

On Saturday 14th December 2019, it was my first day back in Birmingham City Centre for several days. And when I got to Birmingham New Street Station, I purchased an Adult off peak day ticket in the My Metro app. And rode tram 36 from Grand Central to the newly opened Library Tram Stop in Centenary Square.

For the Christmas period tram 36 is called Rudolph. Seen behind was the Library of Birmingham, Star Flyer and Birmingham Big Wheel.

Zoom in of the temporary Rudolph name.

The trams for now can use both platforms, and there is crossing tracks just in front of the tram stop. Beyond here is hoardings as they still need to build the second Westside extension which will take another two years to complete. Reflection of HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square in the Hyatt Regency Birmingham hotel.

Tram 36 seem heading back to Wolverhampton, as I made the short walk into the Library of Birmingham for views of the trams from above. Not too long to wait this time around as only every 6 minutes Monday's to Saturday's (every 15 minutes on Sunday's but the Library is closed on that day).

Tram 25

First up views from the Discovery Terrace at the Library of Birmingham. Tram 25 seen at platform 2 at Library Tram Stop. The Birmingham Big Wheel was in the way of this view.

One of the trams with lime green OLA adverts. It now has batteries on top. But currently in white not yet blue outside.

No temporary reindeer name on this tram.

Tram 25 is now seen leaving platform 2 at Library Tram Stop on it's way to Wolverhampton. It is passing the Municipal Bank site for the University of Birmingham. On the right is 5 Centenary Square (formerly 1 Arena Central). But that hasn't started yet. Was the site of the Register Office. The tram shelter on platform 1 is close to the site of where the Boulton, Watt & Murdoch statue was from 1956 to 2017.

Tram 25 seen heading round Paradise Circus. Cones on the road. Only the southbound lanes are open at the moment.

A taxi waits at the traffic light as tram 25 heads to Paradise Street and Town Hall Tram Stop.

Tram 23 Comet

Last saw this tram here on a test in November 2019. I headed up to the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham when I saw this tram again. In this view heading up Paradise Street towards Paradise Circus.

Heading around Paradise Circus. Easy Row Subway below is still closed to pedestrians, but the bridge has been reinforced and rebuilt before they even laid tracks here.

Coming into Centenary Square, in what until a few years ago was part of Broad Street.

Crossing tracks and heading to platform 2 at Library Tram Stop. Behind is HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square. They have also built new roads which in future will be used by buses.

As it headed into the tram stop, passing the Municipal Bank, some scaffolding on the left appears to have been removed.

Pavements on both sides of the road are now free of temporary barriers. Apart from in front of 1 Centenary Square and the Municipal Bank to the left.

Had to wait for some passengers to get off before I could get this zoom in of th Comet name.

Doors open, passengers heading into Centenary Square. They have also installed new bus stops.

Tram 30

It was getting dark as early as between 3pm and 3:30pm and it was time to get my next tram towards Jewellery Quarter. Tram 30 seen coming from Paradise Circus into Centenary Square.

It was about to cross tracks and head towards platform 2. Behind is a new view of Two Chamberlain Square and the Library of Birmingham.

Tram 30 now at platform 2 at Library Tram Stop. On the right is the Arena Central development with HSBC UK at 1 Centenary Square and 3 Arena Central (for HMRC I think).

Between Library and Grand Central the tram was nice and quiet. One of the monitors on board showing Library Centenary Square.

The view from my seat. The tram was about to depart. After Grand Central the tram got quite full, of Christmas shoppers etc, and I got off at Jewellery Quarter to check out the Banksy and see what all the fuss was about.

Jewellery Quarter

After riding the tram all the way from Library Tram Stop I got off the busy tram 30 at Jewellery Quarter Tram Stop. On the opposite platform was tram 34.

St Paul's

After checking out the Banksy on Vyse Street, I walked down Great Hampton Street and Constitution Hill. I saw the bridge down on Livery Street to popped there first which is actually on Northwood Street. Tram 28 was leaving St Chad's Tram Stop.

Birmingham Snow Hill Station behind, tram 28 Jasper Carrott slowly head's to St Paul's from St Chad's, while West Midlands Railway 172 342 heads towards Jewellery Quarter after leaving platform 1.

A Chiltern Railways Class 168 was in it's usual spot at platform 2, as the tortoise vs hare race was clearly being won by West Midlands Railway!

Tram 28 about to arrive at St Paul's Tram Stop as the train headed into the Jewellery Quarter tunnels towards Jewellery Quarter Station. A Matter of Opinion on the right as well as a train not in service.

Jasper Carrot tram 28 coming to a stop to pick up passengers towards Wolverhampton. It was time to walk down to St Paul's Tram Stop with the entrance to the left on Constitution Hill.

I only just got to the tram stop when I saw the tram arriving. Tram 32 is one of those lime green OLA advert trams now with batteries. Seen coming through the Jewellery Quarter tunnels.

I got tram 32 towards Bull Street. Standing room only. All stops after this one on the extensions. St Paul's is the last tram stop to open in 1999 that is closest to the City Centre after the original Snow Hill Tram Stop closed in 2015.

Bull Street

Standing room only on tram 32, I got off at Bull Street Tram Stop instead of Corporation Street. Although both are in walking distance of my usual bus stop on Carrs Lane. The Lewis Building to the right.

As Tram 32 was about to turn onto Corporation Street, I saw tram 17 about to turn onto Bull Street. It was getting dark now, so was time to head to my bus home.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Transport
11 Dec 2019 - Elliott Brown
News & Updates

Virgin Trains: end of an era (1997 - 2019). From Wolverhampton to Coventry via Birmingham New Street

The 22 year long West Coast Mainline franchise with Virgin Trains finally came to an end on Saturday 7th December 2019. The franchise started in March 1997, and has had many extensions since. Almost losing it to First in 2012. The franchise will be taken over by Avanti West Coast on Sunday 8th December 2019. On trains from Birmingham New Street to London Euston, and other lines.

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Virgin Trains: end of an era (1997 - 2019). From Wolverhampton to Coventry via Birmingham New Street





The 22 year long West Coast Mainline franchise with Virgin Trains finally came to an end on Saturday 7th December 2019. The franchise started in March 1997, and has had many extensions since. Almost losing it to First in 2012. The franchise will be taken over by Avanti West Coast on Sunday 8th December 2019. On trains from Birmingham New Street to London Euston, and other lines.


A look at various Virgin Trains seen over the years between Wolverhampton and Coventry via Birmingham New Street. Either Class 390 Pendolino or Class 221 Super Voyager. The Super Voyager's either headed up to Glasgow or Edinburgh. Or up to Holyhead in Wales via Shrewsbury.

The Virgin Trains West Coast Franchise ran from the 9th March 1997 until the 7th December 2019. The Diesel Electric Multiple Units known as Super Voyager's were introduced in 2001. While the Electric Multiple Units known as Pendolino's came into service in 2002.

 

Wolverhampton Station

Seen at Wolverhampton Station during March 2019 was this Virgin Trains Super Voyager 221 117. It was going to London Euston. It's next stop would be Sandwell & Dudley. And would go via Birmingham New Street of course.

Tipton Station

Seen passing Tipton Station (they don't stop here) during November 2017 was this Virgin Trains Super Voyager. At least 10 carriages from two 5 carriage Class 221 trains. Passing at speed.

Sandwell & Dudley Station

Seen in September 2016 at Sandwell & Dudley Station (near Oldbury) was this Virgin Trains Super Voyager. I caught this train back to Birmingham New Street. 10 carriages, but standing room only.

Smethwick Galton Bridge Station

In November 2017 saw this Virgin Trains Class 390 Pendolino passing Smethwick Galton Bridge Station on the Low Level. I was at platform 3. You can use this station to interchange between the Snow Hill lines (high level) and Wolverhampton to Birmingham line (low level). But never with Virgin. In the past was London Midland, now West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway.

Smethwick Rolfe Street Station

Passing the mural at Smethwick Rolfe Street Station during November 2017 was this Virgin Trains Pendolino. It was heading towards Wolverhampton.

Birmingham New Street Station

Seen during September 2012, at Birmingham New Street Station was this Virgin Trains Pendolino at Platform 1. Going past the block built for Network Rail. Which is near Navigation Street (and between Pinfold Street and Hill Street in the City Centre). Even in 2012 it seemed like the West Coast would be taken over by First, but it got delayed. And the bidding redone.

Stechford Station

Seen passing Stechford Station in October 2018 was this Virgin Trains Pendolino. 390 114. In the last few years many of the Pendolino's got a new red livery. That was until all the Pendolino's were stripped back to all white before Avanti West Coast takes over. This station is having a new footbridge built, and I returned well over a year later to this station. Was a temporary footbridge in use, while the new one is being built. Would assume the new footbridge will open sometime in 2020? The previous concrete footbridge that used to be here was old looking and tired. The new one will have lifts.

Marston Green Station

This Virgin Trains Pendolino was seen passing Marston Green Station during February 2015. This station is close to the Sheldon Country Park and the plane spotting area in the park. From the station you can probably only see the planes from the footbridges, and not sitting down on one of the benches. But you can here the planes from here though.

Birmingham International Station

Stopping at Birmingham International Station during February 2018 was this Virgin Trains Pendolino 390 043. I caught this train from Birmingham New Street. But switched trains on the day I travelled to Berkswell (having to wait for the next London Northwestern Railway train there). The Pendolino at 9 or 11 carriages was quite packed!

Berkswell Station

Passing Berskwell Station at speed was this Virgin Trains Pendolino. Seen during February 2018. You could feel the rush of air as the fast trains went past you. So "Stand behind the yellow line". Or sit on the bench like I was doing. I have also been to Hampton-in-Arden Station back in October 2017, but didn't see any Virgin Trains in the time that I was at that station.

Coventry Station

We finish our journey from Wolverhampton at Coventry Station. Seen during May 2015 was this Virgin Trains Pendolino. Welcome to Coventry. This train was at the time named Virgin Champion. 390016. This train was going from London Euston to Edinburgh Waverley. I caught it to Birmingham New Street.

Good luck to Avanti West Coast who took over the West Coast Mainline on Sunday 8th December 2019.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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