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27 Mar 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

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

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

 

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





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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

Reflection in Lloyd House, the West Midlands Police Headquarters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

 

 

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50 passion points
Transport
25 Mar 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Trains seen at Birmingham Moor Street Station through the decade

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

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Trains seen at Birmingham Moor Street Station through the decade





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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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40 passion points
Transport
16 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Class 153 single carriage Sprinters

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

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The Class 153 single carriage Sprinters





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


Class 153

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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70 passion points
Transport
10 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

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

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

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





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


Class 150

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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70 passion points
Photography
30 Jan 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Famous movie cars spotted in Birmingham

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

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Famous movie cars spotted in Birmingham





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


The Back to the Future DeLorean

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

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

BTTF DeLorean at MCM Birmingham Comic Con

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

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

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

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

Ecto 1A - Ghostbusters II - Navigation Street

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

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

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

Ecto 1 from Ghostbusters at Broadway Plaza

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

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

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

Batmobile from Batman (1989) at Broadway Plaza

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

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

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

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

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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