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05 Jun 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Stourbridge Shuttle in 2013 and 2017 (in the London Midland era)

Back in the London Midland days, I went on the Stourbridge Shuttle originally in April 2013. On 139 002. The last time I rode it was was during November 2017. This short branch line goes between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town. They have just had a new West Midlands Railway livery done, so might be time to return to Stourbridge once again!

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Stourbridge Shuttle in 2013 and 2017 (in the London Midland era)





Back in the London Midland days, I went on the Stourbridge Shuttle originally in April 2013. On 139 002. The last time I rode it was was during November 2017. This short branch line goes between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town. They have just had a new West Midlands Railway livery done, so might be time to return to Stourbridge once again!


I have seen photos on social media of the Stourbridge Shuttle in it's new orange and purple West Midlands Railway livery (inside and out), so thought I'd share (or re-share if you've seen my photos before) of the Stourbridge Shuttle during my past visits in 2013 and 2017 to Stourbridge (in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley).

Stourbridge Junction

You can get a train on the Snow Hill lines towards Stourbridge Junction (a Class 172) and change there to head the short distance to Stourbridge Town. I first travelled to Stourbridge during April 2013. And on the day I went it was London Midland 139 002. Seen here arriving from Stourbridge Town.

This was years before All The Stations (Geoff Marshall & Vicki Pipe on YouTube) and Great British Railway Journeys (Michael Portillo) travelled there, so it had yet to be called "The Cuttest Train!".

At the time in the London Midland Livery it was known as the London Midland Stourbridge Shuttle.

Seen waiting at Stourbridge Junction before heading back to Stourbridge Town.

A few years later I ended up getting the no 9 bus all the way to Stourbridge during November 2017. And I decided to get the train back to Birmingham. And that gave me another chance to ride the Stourbridge Shuttle back from Stourbridge Town to Stourbridge Junction! Was 139 002 again! I've never been on 139 001.

 

Stourbridge Town

Getting off the Stourbridge Shuttle at Stourbridge Town Station during my visit of April 2013 (to start my look around the town for the first time). The journey doesn't take that long from Stourbridge Junction, and I would later return here to return to Birmingham.

It is one of two Class 139 Parry People Movers operating on the line. 139 002. Seen at the time in London Midland green, black, white and yellow. It would have that livery until 2019, when it was changed into the orange and purple West Midlands Railway livery (yet to see it myself like that). The London Midland name was removed in late 2017 when the West Midlands rail franchise changed hands.

The view of the "cute" little train from the other side of the buffer. Stourbridge Interchange is nearby, where you can change onto the buses from National Express West Midlands. A subway takes passengers into Stourbridge Town Centre.

This was after my day out in Stourbridge Town Centre in April 2013, ready to catch the Stourbridge Shuttle back to Stourbridge Junction from Stourbridge Town. The platform here is quite short.

Now a look at the interiors, when they were in London Midland colours!

On board the Stourbridge Shuttle in April 2013 arriving at Stourbridge Town. This little train even has room for a passengers bike!

This was when I got back on the Stourbridge Shuttle for the ride back to Stourbridge Town, so an opportunity to get shots of the interior while empty!

The other side, drivers cab at both ends.

The only change by November 2017 was those two new chairs, otherwise unchanged (until the West Midlands Railway interior livery was applied in 2019).

Am not sure yet when I will have time to travel back to Stourbridge to ride the Stourbridge Shuttle again in it's new West Midlands Railway guise, but hopefully it will be sooner rather than later? I can catch my local train all the way to Stourbridge Junction and change like I did over 6 years ago! (2 years ago was just one way back to Birmingham).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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Transport
02 Jun 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

West Midlands Metro tram 19: celebrating 20 years of the Midland Metro (1999 - 2019)

On the 30th May 1999 Midland Metro line 1 opened from Wolverhampton St Georges' to Birmingham Snow Hill. On the 30th May 2019, West Midlands Metro celebrated their 20 birthday by unveiling a new livery for tram 19. I finally saw it at Grand Central Tram Stop on Sunday 2nd June 2019 (was hoping to see it a few days earlier but kept missing it).

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West Midlands Metro tram 19: celebrating 20 years of the Midland Metro (1999 - 2019)





On the 30th May 1999 Midland Metro line 1 opened from Wolverhampton St Georges' to Birmingham Snow Hill. On the 30th May 2019, West Midlands Metro celebrated their 20 birthday by unveiling a new livery for tram 19. I finally saw it at Grand Central Tram Stop on Sunday 2nd June 2019 (was hoping to see it a few days earlier but kept missing it).


It has been 20 years since the original Midland Metro line from Wolverhampton St George's to Birmingham Snow Hill first opened to the public on the 30th May 1999. Although the first extension to Birmingham New Street Station only opened by 2016, and other proposed lines have yet to be built (hopefully the line to Dudley will get built soon). The next extension to Centenary Square is well under way, and hopefully that will open at the end of 2019? (with the next extension to the Hagley Road proposed to open by about 2021).

To celebrate the 20th birthday of the Midland Metro (now the West Midlands Metro), Urbos 3 tram 19 has been given a new livery with blue ends, and sections at the top celebrating the 20 years of the Metro!

I first spotted it as I was passing through Birmingham New Street Station. I quickly headed out onto Stephenson Street to get my photos of it before it departed for Wolverhampton!

The standard shot from the current end of the line. A taxi is seen waiting for a barrier to be lifted (to let it through).

1999 - 2019 - 20 Years.

West Midlands Metro's trams are scheduled to travel nearly 2 million km per year, which is enough to go around the Earth 48 times!

Celebrating 20 years. More detail of the fact above.

They have photos of tram 31 on the side. That was the first tram to get the blue livery treatment! Also a more bigger 1999 - 2019 - 20 Years sign. This near the section where the tram bends round the corner.

The first 23 tram stops opened between Birmingham Snow Hill and Wolverhampton St George's on the 30th May 1999. The first extension opened between 2015 and 2016. So at least 17 years later. There is also a new loop being built at the Wolverhampton end now, which will link Wolverhampton Station to the tram network!

Tram 19 near the front of the tram. A few minutes after arriving, I would see it depart by moving onto the left tracks bound for Wolverhampton! The colours kind of remind me of West Bromwich Albion. Also the livery was done at the depot in Wednesbury.

The other standard Urbos 3 tram view at Grand Central Tram Stop near Birmingham New Street Station. Tram 19 on it's short wait at Grand Central before departing for Wolverhampton and the Black Country. Hopefully by the time the next extension opens, the other platform will be brought back into use. Also one of the platforms at Corporation Street Tram Stop is still yet to get shelters installed (which would be on the side to catch a tram to Centenary Square in the future).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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Transport
23 May 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Taking off or Coming into land at Birmingham Airport

I usually get the window seat on my planes in and out of Birmingham Airport, so I try to get photos out of the window, normally near the wing. During actual take off / landing I don't have my camera out (so may miss things I see from the window). But this is what I have got. I have just come back from Barcelona (May 2019). Photos also from the return from Lyon 2017.

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Taking off or Coming into land at Birmingham Airport





I usually get the window seat on my planes in and out of Birmingham Airport, so I try to get photos out of the window, normally near the wing. During actual take off / landing I don't have my camera out (so may miss things I see from the window). But this is what I have got. I have just come back from Barcelona (May 2019). Photos also from the return from Lyon 2017.


If I've been preoccupied by holidays and planes, it's due to my recent trip to Catalonia in Spain including Barcelona during May 2019. So not been thinking about Birmingham much. Usually go on Riviera Travel holidays (organised tours in France, Italy or Spain).

 

In June 2017 I went on a Riviera Travel holiday to Lyon and Burgundy in France. On the way back with Flybe, the plane headed over Sutton Park on the way down to runway 15 (near the Sheldon Country Park).

Heading over English fields somewhere.

Am not sure but this might be Witton or Aston?

Details hard to see from up here, but this maybe somewhere over Birmingham?

Sutton Park

Sutton Coldfield maybe.

Sutton Park - it looks really massive from up here!

Passing Erdington and Fort Dunlop.

Closer look at Fort Dunlop. Bit hard figuring out the location on Google Maps!

Probably the M6.

Somewhere between Castle Bromwich and Marston Green before landing at runway 15.

 

I have just come back from another Riviera Travel holiday to Barcelona and Catalonia in Spain, during May 2019 with Ryanair. Coming back it headed over the Warwickshire countryside down to runway 33 over the A45 Coventry Road. I had to miss the visit to the top of the Rotunda as it was the day before going to the airport! What I saw over in Spain was well worth missing the Rotunda views (a change from the same old Birmingham views).

On the first day shortly after taking off from Birmingham Airport for the 2 hour flight to Barcelona. I saw Resorts World on takeoff, but only got my camera out when we levelled up. Fields somewhere in Warwickshire (I think).

Was thinking this could be Silverstone in Northamptonshire, but it isn't. It's the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire with their own race track. I saw it on the way back to BHX as well! Jaguar Land Rover are also based here (probably testing out new cars).

Heading further south down England, more fields. Was a clear day on the day we flew down to Barcelona, not many clouds in the sky!

It only took around 15 minutes before we got to the English Channel. More fields in the south of England somewhere.

On the 7th day of the holiday it was time to fly home. The airport in Barcelona wasn't that far from the hotel so not far to go. After a 2 hour flight it was time to descend down to runway 33 at Birmingham Airport. Was cloudy most of the way so couldn't see much under the clouds until we went through the clouds.

Not entirely where this is below, but as a guess I could say Oxford? Before this was mostly just above the clouds.

Heading down through the layers of clouds over England somewhere. The clouds look a bit weird from up here, and it always feels like going down on a rollercoaster ride (not that I've ever been on a scary rollercoaster!).

Or maybe this is Oxford?

English fields, probably in Warwickshire.

More clear as we headed down to the runway. Flaps on the wings starting to open up.

The flaps on the wings open out exposing the insides of the wing a bit. This helps as the plane lands on the runway and to help it to slow down before taxiing back to the terminal building. I noticed that we were heading over the semi circle part of the A45 Coventry Road. Would later travel on that road in the taxi home.

 

If you want to see my French Chateaux post, it's not yet been approved, after I created it in March 2019 (but is visible to read on my page). My Italian Lakes post is up though.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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Green travel
11 May 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Velo Birmingham at Victoria Square

On the 10th and 11th May 2019, Velo Birmingham & Midlands was at Victoria Square in Birmingham. For cyclists to register for the event, and there was also stands there with information and bikes there too. Velo Birmingham took place on Sunday 12th May 2019. Starting at Birmingham for a 100 mile ride around the Midlands. Including to Coventry and around Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

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Velo Birmingham at Victoria Square





On the 10th and 11th May 2019, Velo Birmingham & Midlands was at Victoria Square in Birmingham. For cyclists to register for the event, and there was also stands there with information and bikes there too. Velo Birmingham took place on Sunday 12th May 2019. Starting at Birmingham for a 100 mile ride around the Midlands. Including to Coventry and around Warwickshire and Worcestershire.


Over the 10th and 11th May 2019, Velo Birmingham were set up in Victoria Square. So that cyclist could register for the event, pick up their number and get a goody bag! The main event itself was held on Sunday 12th May 2019 around Birmingham & the Midlands. That was effecting road closures and buses would have to be diverted. I wasn't expecting to get out to see the cyclists riding around the city and the West Midlands, but this gathering in Victoria Square will do (I'm not a cyclist, have never ridden a bike, or owned one!).

Riders can ride 100 miles or 42 miles.

A look around Victoria Square. No sooner had the Knife Angel been installed in the square, that they set up the Velo Birmingham event all around! This to the right of the Knife Angel and left of the Queen Victoria statue.

Help Desk. Insturctions for registering for the event. Was a lot of people around.

The Cycle Republic Mini will be the events crew car.

The Cycle Republic Mini looking towards the Council House.

Enjoy The Ride! This seen at the bottom of Victoria Square near New Street and the newly opened Nandos.

Stands including West Midlands Cycle and West Midlands Network.

West Midlands Railway were there too!

Velo Birmingham & Midlands banners seen near the Knife Angel from Chamberlain Square, looking towards Victoria Square House.

The view from Colmore Row towards the Town Hall.

Good luck to all the riders taking part. (am assuming that this will go up after the Velo Birmingham event has finished).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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Transport
06 May 2019 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Class 165 trains with Chiltern Railways, between Stratford-upon-Avon / Leamington Spa to Birmingham Moor Street

Here we will take a look at the slowest trains on the Chiltern Railways network, as seen in the West Midlands region. From Birmingham Moor Street to Leamington Spa, and also at Stratford-upon-Avon. They stop at stations such as Lapworth and Hatton, as well as Warwick, Solihull and Dorridge (not in that order).

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Class 165 trains with Chiltern Railways, between Stratford-upon-Avon / Leamington Spa to Birmingham Moor Street





Here we will take a look at the slowest trains on the Chiltern Railways network, as seen in the West Midlands region. From Birmingham Moor Street to Leamington Spa, and also at Stratford-upon-Avon. They stop at stations such as Lapworth and Hatton, as well as Warwick, Solihull and Dorridge (not in that order).


The Class 165 trains with Chiltern Railways are operated on their lines from London Marylebone towards Leamington Spa, Birmingham Moor Street and also Stratford-upon-Avon. They were built between 1990 and 1992 originally for Network SouthEast. They were refurbished between 2003 and 2005. With Chiltern they are known as Chiltern Turbos.

Seen at Stratford-upon-Avon Station during January 2013 was Chiltern Railways 165035. Passengers heading to or from London Marylebone can get the train from or to here. Tourists can come up from London to experience the tourist attractions in Stratford-upon-Avon, including Shakespeare's Birthplace, and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre etc.

In October 2011 at Leamington Spa Station was Chiltern Railways 165018. It was heading towards Stratford-upon-Avon. This was one of my earliest photos of a Class 165 train, but I would take some more at London Marylebone Station during November 2011.

Seen in May 2016 stopping at Warwick Station was Chiltern Railways 165023. It was heading to Leamington Spa from Birmingham Moor Street. I later got this train back to Solihull, and would ride it again a year latter when I went to Hatton. That weekend was the Wembley Special timetable, as the FA Cup Final was on that Sunday.

At Warwick Parkway Station after a walk up the Grand Union Canal, from Warwick Station, during April 2019. I found that the pair of Class 165's that pass this station don't stop here. such as Chiltern Railways 165005 heading up to Birmingham Moor Street. But the Class 168 Clubman's usually stop here between Birmingham Snow Hill and London Marylebone!

For another Grand Union Canal walk during March 2017, up the Hatton Locks, I got Chiltern Railways 165023 from Solihull to Hatton Station. After a walk around the Hatton area, then heading up past the Hatton Locks of the Grand Union Canal, I returned to Hatton Station. After a wait of around an hour on a Sunday afternoon (having just missed the last train), I would get 165023 again back to Solihull.

My first visit to Dorridge by train was during January 2017. Seen at Dorridge Station was Chiltern Railways 165005. I was waiting for a London Midland train back to Acocks Green, but was more convenient to get this back to Solihull instead (and then get a bus from Solihull).

Not stopping at Widney Manor Station during February 2013 was Chiltern Railways 165005. This station in Solihull is close to the M42 motorway, and near the number 5 bus route. Chiltern trains rarely stop here apart from rare evenings in the rush hour. Widney Manor Golf Club and the River Blythe are nearby to this station.

I mostly get Chiltern Railways trains from Solihull Station, my local station on the line down to London Marylebone, but in recent years I have been going to the intermediate stops in the West Midlands and Warwickshire! Chiltern Railways 165007 seen during May 2013, stopping at Solihull before resuming it's journey to Leamington Spa. Is this James Bond 007's train of choice?

I saw Chiltern Railways 165005 passing Acocks Green Station during January 2017. It was heading from Leamington Spa to Birmingham Moor Street. I was waiting for my London Midland train down to Dorridge that day. I later caught this train from Dorridge back to Solihull, rather than wait for another Class 172 train back to Acocks Green!

I saw Chiltern Railways 165020 passing Tyseley Station during December 2013. It was heading non-stop towards Leamington Spa, with it's next stop being Solihull. At the time I was doing the unusual journey from Hall Green to Solihull via Tyseley. I would normally get the bus down to Solihull. In terms of Tyseley I can get the 4 or 4A bus there on the Warwick Road (they were previously the no 37 bus). I saw this train again a few hours later at Solihull Station. Seen behind is the Tyseley Energy from Waste Plant at the Tyseley Tip (household and recycling centre for south east Birmingham). You normally see the chimney pumping out fumes!

Seen at platform 4 at Birmingham Moor Street Station during February 2014 was Chiltern Railways 165019. I had just got off this train, having ridden it from Solihull. The train headed over the Bordesley Viaduct quite slowly! These trains are small, but quite comfortable to ride.

I normally only see Class 168's or Class 172's over at Birmingham Snow Hill, so will stop here for now with the Class 165 trains.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown (over 1000 followers!).

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