Project Image

Trains (past, present and future) in Birmingham and West Midlands

Birmingham & West Midlands Trains - With People with Passion we're building gallery & collection of posts looking at the past, present & future of the region's trains.

This is a community owned project with wonderful contributions from our People with Passion. 

What we found out

What difference has it made

Project dates

25 Mar 2019 - 31 Dec 2021

Contact (for more details)

Jonathan Bostock

0121 410 5520

05 Jun 2019 - Elliott Brown

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.

Stourbridge Shuttle at Stourbridge Junction

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!".

Stourbridge Shuttle at Stourbridge Junction

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

Stourbridge Shuttle at Stourbridge Junction

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

Stourbridge Shuttle at Stourbridge Junction

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 Shuttle at Stourbridge Junction


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.

Stourbridge Shuttle at Stourbridge Town

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.

Stourbridge Shuttle at Stourbridge Town

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.

Stourbridge Shuttle at Stourbridge Town

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.

Stourbridge Shuttle at Stourbridge Town

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!

Stourbridge Shuttle interior

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!

Stourbridge Shuttle interior

The other side, drivers cab at both ends.

Stourbridge Shuttle interior

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

Stourbridge Shuttle interior

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!).

Share  Connect with us
40 passion points
06 May 2019 - Elliott Brown

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.

165035 at Stratford-upon-Avon

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.

Chiltern Railways 165018 at Leamington Spa Station

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.

Chiltern Railways 165023 at Warwick Station

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!

Chiltern Railways 165005 passing Warwick Parkway Station

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.

Chiltern Railways 165023 at Hatton Station

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).

Chiltern Railways 165005 at Dorridge Station

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.

Chiltern Railways 165005 passing Widney Manor 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?

Chiltern Railways 165007 at Solihull Station

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!

Chiltern Railways 165005 passing Acocks Green Station

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!

Chiltern Railways 165005 passing Tyseley Station

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.

Chiltern Railways 165019 at Birmingham Moor Street Station

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!).

Share  Connect with us
40 passion points
01 Apr 2019 - Elliott Brown

The Class 323 EMU's on the Cross City Line: Lichfield via Birmingham New Street to Redditch or Bromsgrove

The Class 323 is one of my favourite trains to ride on in Birmingham. Here we will look at this Electrical Multiple Unit from Lichfield Trent Valley, via Birmingham New Street, down to Redditch. And now a newly opened extension to Bromsgrove! The Cross City South includes the line down beyond Longbridge. Cross City North beyond Sutton Coldfield. Staffordshire to Worcestershire.


Cross City Line

The Cross City Line opened in 1978. It was extended to Redditch in 1980 and to Lichfield Trent Valley in 1988. The service was extended to Bromsgrove by 2018. The route was electrified in the 1990s, being completed by 1993. The Class 323 Electric Multiple Units first introduced on the service around 1994. After the creation of the Franchising system, Central Trains ran the Cross City line from 1997 to 2007, then London Midland from 2007 to 2017. And now West Midlands Railway from late 2017 to present.


Lichfield Trent Valley Station

One of my first rides on the Cross City Line was to Lichfield Trent Valley during early January 2012. The redevelopment of Birmingham New Street Station was in it's earliest years, and I got a train up from Kings Norton. London Midland 323214 was my ride to Lichfield that day. The current northern end of the line / terminus, on the High Level. The Low Level is on the West Coast Main Line, between London Euston and Crewe (back then London Midland, now London Northwestern Railway). You would see non-stopping Virgin Trains services passing there! In Staffordshire.

Lichfield Trent Valley - London Midland 323214

Lichfield City Station

I have visited Lichfield City Station twice. The first time in January 2012 coming back from my day out in Lichfield. The second time for a return visit during April 2016. The only Class 323 exterior I took there was in 2012. London Midland 323207 was my train back to Kings Norton.

Lichfield City Station - London Midland 323207

We will next skip a few stations until Four Oaks (I have not got off at the stations in between).

Four Oaks Station

A visit to Four Oaks in Sutton Coldfield during October 2018. By then many of the Class 323 trains under West Midlands Railway were in a orange and white livery. I caught this train West Midlands Railway 323 204 from Birmingham New Street. Mere Green was in walking distance of the station with a new shopping centre. This was platform 3 where the service terminated, it would have waited a while before heading back to Birmingham.

Four Oaks Station - West Midlands Railway 323204

Sutton Coldfield Station

My first visit to Sutton Coldfield by train was during January 2017. Seen arriving at the station was London Midland 323211 on it's way to Lichfield Trent Valley (the destination display doesn't come out too well in photos). I got the train to Sutton Coldfield again during August 2017 while on the Big Sleuth hunt (I didn't go up for the Big Hoot in 2015, as I hadn't visited Sutton Coldfield with my camera at that time). It's also now possible to get the X4 or X5 buses up to Sutton Coldfield instead (much longer journey though). You can see planes coming into land at Birmingham Airport from here.

Sutton Coldfield Station - London Midland 323211

While I've seen Wylde Green Station, I've not waited to catch a train from there. I almost went down there on my second rail visit to Sutton Coldfield, but ended up getting a bus back to Sutton Coldfield Town Centre, after finding some more Big Sleuth bears in August 2017. Chester Road in Erdington next.

Chester Road Station

My first visit to Erdington by train was during May 2014, mainly to check out the Josiah Mason bust for the first time. So I got the Cross City line up to Chester Road. My more recent second visit was in December 2018. I had got the 11A Outer Circle bus to Erdington, then walked up the High Street, then up Orphanage Road towards the Josiah Mason bust (to see it for a second time). After that I walked up Chester Road to the station. I caught West Midlands Railway 323221 back to Birmingham New Street.

Chester Road Station - West Midlands Railway 323221

Erdington Station

My May 2014 visit to Erdington that started at Chester Road ended up at Erdington Station. Seen here was London Midland 323207 on it's way to Lichfield Trent Valley. This station is a good place to see planes taking off from Birmingham Airport! Something else other than trains while waiting for my train back to Birmingham New Street.

Erdington Station - London Midland 323207

Gravelly Hill Station

Headed to Gravelly Hill during April 2015, to walk under Spaghetti Junction. My train back to Birmingham New Street had London Midland 323212 at the front (seen below in the photo) and 323243 (which I got on). It's always nice to ride on the train between Gravelly Hill and Aston, below the concrete lanes of Spaghetti Junction, more unique than going in a car! Salford Junction is also nearby, a junction of several canals.

Gravelly Hill Station - London Midland 323212

Aston Station

I've been to Aston Station several times over the years. First got off there in 2012. I've also been there in 2016 and 2017. The line to Walsall on the Chase Line diverts to the left, while the line to Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield goes to the right. On New Years Day 2016, I got London Midland 323208 from Birmingham New Street to Aston. This train was going to Lichfield Trent Valley.

Aston Station - London Midland 323208

Duddeston Station

My first visit to the Birmingham Museums Collections Centre included a stop off at Duddeston on London Midland 323218, which I caught from Kings Norton, in May 2012. Back then I wasn't comfortable with starting at Birmingham New Street, and I used to get the 11C bus to Kings Norton (it was also before I figured out you could buy a ticket on the Snow Hill lines to a destination on another line). Dollman Street is just round the corner from here. Before I left the station, I checked out the face art sculptures on the platform.

Duddeston Station - London Midland 323218

Cross City North is done above, now for Birmingham New Street, before we explore Cross City South!

Birmingham New Street Station

Many trips on the Cross City line normally start for me from Birmingham New Street, so I don't always take photos of the Class 323 there! I've been taking photos of these trains there since about 2010. I've watched the station transform from 2010 to 2015, and have continued to use it since it's been completed! I first saw a Class 323 in West Midlands Railway orange and white at Bournville, where I caught this train. West Midlands Railway 323204 seen at Birmingham New Street during August 2018. It stopped at platform 8a.

Birmingham New Street Station - West Midlands Railway 323204

Five Ways Station

Not a brilliant photo, but a London Midland Class 323 seen at Five Ways station during January 2015 from Bath Row. It is also possible to see the station from Islington Row Middleway, or from the steps down the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. I did once try out using this staiton during April 2015. But didn't get any photos of any Class 323's while I was there. I did get a Class 170, but the only Class 323 I took was going into the tunnel and I had just missed it!

Five Ways Station - London Midland Class 323

University Station

Went to University Station during July 2017 while on the Big Sleuth hunt. Was several bears to be found around the University of Birmingham. Seen at the station was London Midland 323208. I travelled from Birmingham International via Birmingham New Street to University that day! Was also bears at Resorts World. I previously tried to use the station in March 2012 to go to Tamworth, but ended up catching another Cross City train to New Street, and catching a Cross Country train from New Street to Tamworth (back then). Cross Country do stop at University though!

University Station - London Midland 323208

Selly Oak Station

The West Midlands railway franchise transferred over from London Midland to West Midlands Railway during December 2017. Here was West Midlands Railway 323204 at a snowy Selly Oak. The first time I've used the station. I mostly get the bus to and from Selly Oak! 323221 was at the other end. Loads of delays that day, probably due to the snow! Some trains were cancelled due to the weather. Not really the best day to try out Selly Oak Station!

Selly Oak Station - West Midlands Railway 323204

Bournville Station

This station is next to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and is your stop for Cadbury World. Seen in October 2011 was London Midland 323215. This was before I started using the Cross City Line (from 2012 onwards). This ramp leads from the Mary Vale Road bridge, and goes down to the towpath of the canal, as well as to the station. I later actually used the station in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Bournville Station - London Midland 323215

Kings Norton Station

Before I was comfortable with getting trains from Birmingham New Street, I used to get them from Kings Norton. Seen arriving here was London Midland 323212 during April 2012. Which I got to Longbridge. Platform 4, as platforms 2 and 3 are abandoned. Platform 1 is for trains to Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield. Other fast trains pass through here too!

Kings Norton Station - London Midland 323212

Northfield Station

I have used Northfield Station a few times in my travels, but not really taken a photo of a Class 323 from the platform. This one of a West Midlands Railway Class 323 in orange and white was seen from another train during November 2018.

Northfield Station - West Midlands Railway Class 323

Longbridge Station

An ideal station to get to, to explore the new Longbridge Town Centre. I've been to this station many times. Seen opposite was London Midland 323212 during April 2012, which I'd earlier got down to Longbridge. Before the extension to Bromsgrove this was a terminus for most trains, with at least one an hour going to Redditch. The station building here is now being redeveloped. It's the last station in Birmingham on the line to the south. The last four below are all in Worcestershire.

Longbridge Station - London Midland 323212

Barnt Green Station

At Barnt Green the lines splits. One to Redditch, the other to Bromsgrove and Worcester. On the Cross City line, the trains stop at Barnt Green for Redditch, as it curves to the left.  I got London Midland 323217 from Birmingham New Street. I got off here, but the train was going to Redditch. On my second visit during April 2017 I went to the Lickey Hills Country Park. A long hard walk up the hill (I walked back to the station via the roads nearby).

Barnt Green Station - London Midland 323217

Alvechurch Station

A visit to Alvechurch in Worcestershire during February 2016. The station now has two platforms where as before it used to have one. London Midland 323219. My train back to Birmingham New Street,

Alvechurch Station - London Midland 323219

Redditch Station

I first got a train to Redditch during January 2013. I arrived on London Midland 323210. A single platform station it is the current end of the line. There is an old railway tunnel nearby with street art. My second visit in November 2017 was before the end of the London Midland franchise.

Redditch Station - London Midland 323210

Bromsgrove Station

I've been to Bromsgrove 3 times. First in 2013 to the old station, second in 2016 to the new station. In November 2018 I returned again after electrification to Bromsgrove was complete and the Cross City line extended services from Longbridge. Seen here was West Midlands Railway 323216. In orange and white, my ride back to Birmingham New Street. It did not stop at Barnt Green.

Bromsgrove Station - West Midlands Railway 323216

Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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

Share  Connect with us
40 passion points
25 Mar 2019 - Elliott Brown

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.

Chiltern Railways Moor Street Station

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).

London Midland Moor Street Station

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.

Chiltern Railways Moor Street Station

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.

Chiltern Railways Moor Street Station

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.

Chiltern Railways Moor Street Station

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.

Chiltern Railways Moor Street Station

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).

Chiltern Railways Moor Street Station

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!

Chiltern Railways Moor Street Station

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.

West Midlands Railway Moor Street Station

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.

Chiltern Railways Moor Street Station

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 Moor Street Station

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 Moor Street Station

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!

West Midlands Railway Moor Street Station


Photos taken by Elliott Brown

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

Share  Connect with us
40 passion points
16 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown

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.

West Midlands Railway 153371 at Shirley Station

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.

Arriva Trains Wales 153323 seen at Wolverhampton Station

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.

London Midland 153366 at Aston Station

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.

West Midlands 153364 at Cannock Station

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.

West Midlands Railway 153334 at Birmingham Snow Hill Station


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).

London Midland 153354 at Nuneaton Station

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!

London Midland 153334 and 153354 at Bedworth Station

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!

London Midland 153375 at Coventry Station

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.

West Midlands Railway 153364 at Kenilworth Station

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.

West Midlands Railway 153364 at Leamington Spa Station


Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Share  Connect with us
70 passion points
10 Feb 2019 - Elliott Brown

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.

London Midland 150016 at Shirley Station

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).

London Midland 150013 at Stratford-upon-Avon Station

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.

London Midland 150101 approaching Birmingham Snow Hill Station

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.

London Midland Class 150 at Hall Green Station

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!

London Midland 150109 seen passing Kings Norton Station

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).

London Midland Class 150 passing through Lye Station

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.

West Midlands Railway Class 150 passing through Stechford Station


Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Share  Connect with us
70 passion points
30 Nov 2018 - Elliott Brown

Special liveries on Chiltern Railways and Virgin Trains seen in Birmingham

This is not a heritage trains post, more showing photos of the special liveries Chiltern Railways and Virgin Trains did to some of their trains around the Christmas period and at other times of the year. Chiltern Railways seen at Birmingham Moor Street Station. Virgin Trains seen at Birmingham New Street Station and at Coventry Station.


Chiltern Railways

Runs trains on the Chiltern Mainline between Birmingham Snow Hill and London Marylebone. There main fast trains are the Class 68's with the Mark 3 carriages and driving van trailer (numbered as 823xx). Here we will look at a pair of 823xx trains at Birmingham Moor Street Station.

The Chiltern Santa Train seen at Birmingham Moor Street during December 2017. The driving van trailer was numbered 82302. Titan 68009 was at the front (but it's livery was not changed at the time).

Seen from platform 3. It had arrived at platform 4.

Chiltern Santa Train

Behind is Moor Street Car Park, Selfridges and the Rotunda.

Chiltern Santa Train

Heard that there was some nice views from Moor Street Car Park. So headed up to see. This was several floors up but not high enough.

Chiltern Santa Train

This view of the Santa Train from the top floor of the car park as a London Midland Class 172 arrived at platform 2 (West Midlands Railway would take over from London Midland a few days later).

Chiltern Santa Train

In November 2018 driving van trailer 82303 was in the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal temporary livery. Seen at Birmingham Moor Street.

I noticed a Chiltern train arriving at Moor Street from a bus I was on in Digbeth, so after I got off the bus outside of Selfridges, went up to the top of Moor Street Car Park for these views. Lamppost in the way. It was at platform 3.

Chiltern Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal

Headed right for a clearer view of the Poppy train. Derelict buildings in the background was used as a filming location for Ready Player One! (filmed in 2016 released in 2018).

Chiltern Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal

Close up look at the Poppy train. As I headed over the parametric bridge into Selfridges, the train started to leave for London.

Chiltern Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal

Virgin Trains

Runs trains on the West Coast Mainline between Birmingham New Street and London Euston (and also up to Scotland). They use Class 390 Pendolino's between Birmingham and London (and to other major cities along the West Coast Mainline such as Manchester and Liverpool).

Seen in late December 2014 at Birmingham New Street Station was the Traindeer. Virgin Trains Pendolino 390 112 (also known as Virgin Star). Was made to resemble a Christmas Reindeer! This livery was temporary. The train is currently unnamed.

Virgin Trains Traindeer

Seen at Coventry Station during October 2017 was Virgin Trains Pendolino 390 040 in the Virgin Radio livery. This was temporary between April 2016 and November 2017.

Virgin Trains Virgin Radio

We're Back Virgin Radio.

Virgin Trains Virgin Radio

Seen at Birmingham New Street Station from the Moor Street link bridge during December 2016 was Virgin Trains Pendolino 390104. Alstom Pendolino. Formerly named "Virgin Scot". The co-branding between Alstom and Virgin was since September 2010.

Virgin Trains Alstom Pendolino

Another Moor Street link bridge view. This time it was Virgin Trains Pendolino 390103 (Virgin Hero). It was carrying the Royal British Legion livery commemorating the centenary of World War 1. Seen during March 2018.

Virgin Trains Royal British Legion

One more view from the Moor Street link bridge. Virgin Trains Pendolino 390151 (Virgin Ambassador), seen with the Business is Great livery during September 2017. Also known as the Virgin Trains Poppylino!

Virgin Trains Business is Great

The reflection of Business is Great in the shiny panels at New Street Station.

Virgin Trains Business is Great


Photos by Elliott Brown

Share  Connect with us
65 passion points