Monday, 27 December 2010

2010 - Day Out 4: Worcestershire

Date: 18 December 2010

It was time for the now annual tradition, a Worcestershire trip for our Christmas outing, or so we thought....

Mr SBI meets up with Mr UK Buses at a snow covered Norton to catch National Express West Midlands (NXWM) Service 276 to get to Stourbridge Junction, where we arrive just after 9am, and meet up with Andy (nice to see you again) and Mr WME. We wait at Platform 3 for Mr WME, who eventually arrives and the gang are complete, where we have a discussion to see if we go ahead with the original plan or stay local due to the light downfall of the snow, which scuppered Mr SBI's and Mr WME's outing two weeks previously. The gang decide to go ahead with the plan, is it the right decision?

Our train arrives and we board the 09:19 London Midland train to Kidderminster. We pass through Hagley and Blakedown, passing snow covered fields along the way and arrive at our first destination, Kidderminster. A short walk ensues to Comberton Hill, where we have our ticket money at hand to get our FirstDay ticket, and our first bus arrives, First Midlands X3 to Redditch. We get out of the snow, which seems to be coming down quite fast, and board the X3, a bus which we have to ourselves (some people have sense and decide to stay out of the snow). We are on our way to our first destination - Redditch, or so we thought, the snow is coming down quite heavy now, and we are heading down a snow covered road to Chaddersley Corbett, but the road seems to be disappearing. The bus is clinging onto the road, just, and we head down towards the front of the bus where we have a chat with the driver who asks us what we are doing today, we reply "on a day out", whilst he is wrestling with the bus and the road. The driver must have thought that we were mad. Conditions outside are now bad, and the gang decide to get off at Bromsgrove, when we arrive, and see if we can get back to Stourbridge and spend the rest of the day locally. After the driver is shouting at the cars in front not to stop, because he would become stuck, we finally arrive at our unscheduled stop of Bromsgrove.

The gang decide that a drink is in order, so we head of to the JD Wetherspoons' nearest pub "The Golden Cross", where Mr SBI gets the first round in and the gang chat about the when the 318 is due. We are not quite sure, so Mr SBI comes to the rescue with his new BlackBerry and surfs the net and his own website, to get the number of Hansons', the operator of Service 318 to Stourbridge. Mr SBI rings Hansons' to find out the time of the next bus, but disaster strikes when we are told that Hansons' have called all their buses in as the roads around Stourbridge are gridlocked and nearly impassable, so we are stuck in Bromsgrove. Andy softens the blow when he gets the next round, and once we start supping the drinks, we chat about how to get back to the Midlands. We decide to walk out in the dreaded white stuff and head to the bus station and see what turns up.

Black Diamond, Our Saviour!We arrive and we just miss a 144 to Worcester and a 143 to Birmingham. There is not much left in the station, only a Black Diamond (seen left, Not In Service) which is not moving anywhere after the driver tells Mr UK Buses that nothing is moving as all the roads are gridlocked around Bromsgrove. So we wait to see what comes to our rescue, and while Mr UK Buses decides to pay a visit to the toilet, a First X3 back to Kidderminster is heading for the bus station. Mr SBI runs to the toilet to inform Mr UK Buses, and the pair sprint to the stand to catch the bus and head back to Kidderminster to get a train back to Stourbridge. We head off on our journey and everyone seems happy that we are on the bus, out of the white stuff, and heading back home, or so we thought. We are barely out of Bromsgrove, and the bus comes to a standstill, so we wait in the traffic for five minutes before the driver informs us that the X3 in front is stuck, and that the service has been cancelled, so we head towards Bromsgrove, which takes us about twenty minutes in slow moving traffic to get us back to where we started. We are back to square one when the bus eventually drops us off just past Bromsgrove High Street.

The gang decide to go into "The Queens Head", for two reasons, one to empty the bladders and two, to have a drink to console ourselves and talk about how we get back, Mr WME comes up trumps and buys the round. It now feels like that we are truly stuck in Bromsgrove and it is even talked about finding a Bed and Breakfast for the night. We finish our drinks off and walk around to the bus station to see if anything is even there, but on the way, Mr UK Buses sees the driver of the Black Diamond 007, stuck in traffic, so we all run over the road, where Des, the driver, one who Mr UK Buses knows through his work, kindly lets us on and hopefully gets us on our way. We sit down at the back of the bus where the gang seems to be happy that we are on our way back to the Midlands. The traffic is moving very slowly, we have been on the bus for about approximately 45 minutes, and we only seem to have moved about just over a quarter of a mile. As we are moving so slowly, Mr UK Buses and Andy have bladder trouble so spot a pub, The Crabmill, and ask Des not to drive off whilst they get off the bus and pay a little visit to use the facilities. We have moved about 10 feet, when Mr UK Buses and Andy get back on, they could have had a quick drink if they really wanted to, as we wouldn't have moved that far. We are slowly making our way to the motorway island, to get back to the Midlands, and we finally reach the motorway island after about two hours. We find out that the motorway has been closed so it will be longer to get back to the Midlands than we thought, especially in the conditions on the roads.

Des, gets us to the back of Rubery where he drops off two old ladies after getting them back from Bromsgrove, it is just down to him to get us back, so we have a slow drive, down the A41 and across Romsley and Huntington, where after about 3 to 3 and a half hours stuck on the bus, we finally arrive in Halesowen. We alight and give our deepest thanks to Des, who if it wasn't for this driver, we would have been in Bromsgrove still. The gang need to get their priorities right, so it is a visit to the toilet first, and then after finding out that there are no other Diamond or NXWM buses in service (with a few NXWM service 9's stuck in snow at nearby Drews Holloway) , we go to our second JD wetherspoons' of the the day, "The William Shenstone", where Mr SBI gets his second round of the day (I'm sure it should have been Mr UK Buses turn), and we sit down to get warm and have a chat about how we get back from Halesowen. After our first drinks, food is ordered to fill our hungry guts, but Mr SBI sits this one out as he has no appetite due to his "Man-Flu". Andy rings NXWM Pensnett Garage, and finds out that the buses are starting to go back out in service as the conditions are starting to improve. A couple more rounds are bought (Mr UK Buses finally gets one!!!) and Mr SBI's eyes light up as we see our first bus since we arrived back in civilisation, a NXWM 9 to Birmingham, so we all head around to the bus station and wait to see what turns up.

The natives are getting restless, so Mr WME and Andy decide to have a play in the snow, and with snowballs flying in many places and faces, a Service 222 turns up, which Mr WME and Andy decide to catch, so that they can see if they can catch a train from nearby Cradley Heath to get back to Wolverhampton (Mr WME) and West Bromwich (Andy). Mr UK Buses and Mr SBI have a further wait, and after about 20 minutes, a NXWM service 9 to Stourbridge arrives, and the pair eagerly get on board and sit down on the top deck, and are glad that they won't be spending the night in Halesowen, and are heading home. Whilst en-route, Mr WME gives Mr UK Buses a call and say that he and Andy are waiting for a train from Cradley, and are waiting in a pub of all places to have a warmth and wait for their train. The 9 finally arrives back in Stourbridge, so Mr UK Buses and Mr SBI decide to walk up to the service 276 stand to see if a bus is due, we wait, but we know that we are going to have to walk it back to Norton and Wollaston to get back to the warmth of their homes, so after a few minutes of the bus not turning up at its allocated time, we head through the town and across the Ring Road on our way home to have a much deserved rest and warmth.

An unforgettable day, one which we will look back on over the years to come, and for Mr SBI, this is his second trip within a month that has been disrupted due to the dreaded white stuff. Our plan should have originally seen us visit Redditch, Bromsgrove and  Stoke Prior, for our Christmas Trek, but we only got as far as Bromsgrove, which we weren't due to visit till later in the day, but we eventually got back to our homes, and we hope to try and stick to the plan when we all meet up again at the end of the January to have our post Christmas outing late, or early (whichever you want to class it as), with the hope of no white stuff getting in our way.

An unusual end to 2010 regarding our trips, but one that we won't forget in a hurry. Thanks to Andy, Mr UK Buses and Mr WME for the last few trips together during the end of 2010, and look forward to more in 2011. The webmaster wishes all visitors to his site a Happy New Year for 2011.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

2010 - Day Out 3: Birmingham

Date: 11 December 2010

The post title above should not be stating "Birmingham", the original plan was to visit Worcestershire and the villages of Belbroughton, Chaddesley Corbett and Cleobury Mortimer. Due to the snowfall in the week prior to the day out, a last minute decision was made, the evening before, where we would postpone the original plan and instead visit the Birmingham area, where we would be able to safely get back if any more snow came and there was more chance of services running relatively normal in the West Midlands, rather than in the countryside.

So Mr WME and Mr SBI meet up in Stourbridge Town, for our first (and last!) solo outing of 2010. After a few photographs are taken of the works undertaken on the redevelopment of Stourbridge Bus Station, it is off to our first destination of the day, so we get on the train to Spring Road, changing at Birmingham Snow Hill along the way. Spring Road is a little station after Tyseley, but the old station building could be demolished to make the station look nicer. We have a little walk and around the corner, Mr WME decides to surprise me and we soon come across the bus garage at Acocks Green. A few photographs are taken, and then it is time to have another walk down towards Hall Green, where we pass the greyhound racing track for more photographs, and end up outside the Hall Green railway station. We then walk a little further to the nearest bus stop, where we catch the world famous National Express West Midlands 11 Outer Circle service.

We duly take our seats on the top deck, where we have a lovely view of fog, that is until we wipe the front windows and we can see where we are going. We pass through places such as Kings Heath, Harborne and Bearwood along the way. Mr WME makes sure that I'm still awake when he tells me to get off the bus, when the bus has only just stopped, so we rush down the stairs and off the bus before the driver even had the chance of shutting the doors. We alighted at Summerfield Park, which is situated on the City Road. We tread carefully accross park in the snow and head towards the Edgabston Resevoir, where I can take some more photographs of The Tower Ballroom, a location that was used in the classic ITV series "Boon" starring Michael Elphick. After our visit to the reservoir, we walk to Monument Road, where we wait for a National Express West Midlands' service 8 Inner Circle bus to take us to our next destination, Hockley.

Upon arrival, we decide to have a warm and head to our first public house of the day, The White House, which is owned by Holden's, and is a nice cozy little establishment. After a quick chat and a warm, we decide to get to our second public house of the day, and we walk towards Aston and head to a place called The Barton Arms. Upon arrival we wonder what we have let ourselves in for, when we walk towards the pub, a person comes out of the bookmakers opposite and decides to relieve his bladder up against a wall. After seeing that we head into the unknown and into The Barton Arms, where I was surprised of what the pub had in store for us. The Barton Arms did not let us down, and the interior was tiled and the pub was quite spacious. We order our drinks and we check out the menu. The pub also acts as a Thai restaurant, so we ditch the usual tradition of "beer and burger" and opt for a Thai lunch. Mr WME opted for a Thai curry and Mr SBI opts for a BBQ pork. The meal was gorgeous and I could not complain about the £5.95 price tag. It is time to set off again and Mr SBI decides to use the facilities of the establishment, or he thought so, he entered through the door and went straight through the other door which led to another part of the restaurant. Confusion over, it was time to make a move, and we head into Birmingham, where we walk past Moor Street Station and into another one of our favourite areas, Digbeth.

Mr SBI and Mr WME in The Spotted Dog
After a short walk and behind Birmingham City fans, we arrive at Warwick Street and the location of our next public house, The Spotted Dog. As we arrive the place empties, but not due to the fact that Mr WME has walked through the door, more Birmingham City fans make their way to St Andrews and watch their match after finishing their drinks in this establishment. So The Spotted Dog goes quiet, and we make ourselves comfy. We see a little bit of the snooker that is taking place in Telford, so we keep our eyes glued to the set to see if Mr UK Buses can be seen, we don't see him (but speaking to him a couple of days later, he stated that he was towards the front, and he nearly had enough coverage on TV, than the snooker taking place). The snooker is short lived, as the Landlord turns the TV over to the Birmingham City match which is taking place up the road, quite interesting, especially as the commentary seems to be in a foreign language - German I think! The Spotted Dog seems to be a friendly place and also it is a pub which caters for the Irish community. Whilst we were there I thought I turned into Sam Tyler as the jukebox was playing out some 70s cheesy classics. Drinks downed, it was time to move onto our next destination.

We take a short walk and we end up back at one of our favourite Digbeth pubs, The Lamp Tavern, which we had visited in 2010. The pub is still enjoyed by a fair few people, and we take up residence in the same seats that we occupied on our last visit. Mr WME decided to opt for one of his favourite tipples, "Stanney Bitter", and we have a bit of a warmth and another chat whilst perusing the Merseyside CAMRA publication, and we try to find any of the pubs frequented by himself, Mr UK Buses and Andy on their last visit to Liverpool. Alas, we couldn't find any, but we still enjoy the warmth and friendliness of the pub, but it is getting dark and we decide it is time to make our way back to the Black Country, so we finish our drinks and head through Birmingham to get to Moor Street to catch our train, Mr SBI thinks that a visit to Digbeth should be on the cards in 2011.

Mr WME gets chance to dry off at The Bell and BearWe catch our train and we head towards Rowley Regis. We arrive and start walking through Blackheath, where, on the way to our next destination, Mr SBI finally locates the JD Wetherspoons in Blackheath, not bad when he has only been looking for it for about three years. Anyway, we head through the darkness steadily across the snow covered paths, even though most of it has now turned to slush or been washed away. We head down towards Coombswood along Gorsty Hill Road, chatting away as we walk along, when Mr WME decides it is time to have a closer look at the pavement, but he blames the ice (I couldn't see a fair lot of it!), but after finding out if Mr WME is okay, Mr SBI finds it hard not to laugh, but the next destination is in sight - The Bell and Bear. Upon arrival, the barmaid asks if it is wet outside, I presume she must have been talking to Mr WME as I was totally dry, whilst Mr WME looks like he has had an unfortunate accident. We can at least have a bit of a break and warmth and Mr WME has a chance to dry off within the pleasant surroundings of the establishment - Mr WME would have no break about his recent fall though. It is time of the year, that once you get cozy, you don't want to move, but move we did and it is off to another destination.

We brave the cold, and having survived a steep gradient and back streets - with no slipping over, we end up on Station Road, and wait for our National Express West Midlands' service 222 bus outside Old Hill Station, where after a shirt ride, we alight at Cradley Heath. Having done some research earlier in the day, we find our next destination - The Hollybush. We enter the establishment, which seems to be closed for a private party, but we enter into the bar where we are asked "Are you part of the party?", on replying no, the landlord states "Well you look alright anyway", so we are allowed to stay and after purchasing our drinks, we find a seat next to the roaring fire, a chance to get a bit of warmth in our bones and for Mr WME to dry off even more. We decide after about five minutes of being in the pub, that this is one nice establishment, even more so after the landlord comes over to talk to us. He asks us where we have been, how we heard about his place, and he even knows the places that we have been on our trip today very well, giving us stories and information along the way. It is getting very cold outside now, but we do have to get back home, so with dragging heels, we make our way through the cold streets of Cradley Heath down towards the railway station. We find out what time our train is due, which gives us enough time to have a wander down the road to "explore" before going back to the station for our train to Stourbridge.

After a short train journey we arrive back at Stourbridge Town, where we have to say our goodbyes, with Mr WME having to make his way back to Wolverhampton, where he is going to stay up most of the night watching the Ashes. Mr SBI makes his way back into Wollaston, to get back home, via the Chinese takeaway and then upon arrival at home, gets warm to eat his supper.

Another delightful trip with some great public houses finds by Mr WME, his pub radar seems to be getting better - how many more great establishments can he find. A great day out for our only solo outing of 2010, but I think there may be plenty during 2011!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

2010 - Day Out 2: London

Date: Saturday 13 November 2010

Big Ben
Its time for Mr UK Buses, Mr WME and Mr SBI to meet up and make a visit to London, and it has been a long time since the trio visted the capital together.

Mr SBI catches the 276 Service, operated by National Express West Midlands to Stourbridge Junction from Wollaston at 0706, and whilst en route, Mr UK Buses boards the bus and we pass through Stourbridge, which we sneak a look at how much work has been done on the "Stourbridge Interchange" redevelopment - which is not a lot, before we get to Stourbridge Junction. We arrive at the junction and we manage to catch an earlier train into Birmingham. We arrive at Birmingham and take a slow walk through the city and with time to spare, we make a detour and have a bacon roll and a cup of tea from McDonalds, located on the entrance to The Pallasades. Stomach's fed, we make our way to Birmingham New Street, where we meet up with Mr WME, who has made his way from Wolverhampton.

We locate the platform for our train to London, which is the 0910 to London Euston, and is operated by Virgin Trains on a tilting Pendalino. Upon boarding we find our seats in Coach A, which happens to be the carriage furthest away, and away we go. The train journey is quite enjoyable except for two kids in the seats behind us, who seem to find it funny to pull at my hair and keep nicking my baseball cap - later in the day it was breaking up poppy's, I turn around to say something and find out that it is Mr WME and Mr UK Buses, what big kids they are!! After nursery time is over, we arrive at London Euston, on time at 1034.

Upon arrival we exit the railway station and make our way to the bus station at Euston, where we catch the 205 to our next destination, Liverpool Street. We make our way through London, with Mr UK Buses going into former bus life driver mode (apparently he used to drive a bus in Stourbridge for the WMPTE, where his conductor was someone called Dave!) - see video below, passing through Windsor Terrace, Islington, where Mr UK Buses decides it is where we get off the bus. It was a wrong decision, and our first disaster of the day, and Mr SBI saves the day by locating the nearest Underground station, and we catch the tube from Old Street Station (On the Northern Line) to Bank to get to our destination, The Lords Mayor Parade. We arrive at Bank and we make our way to the surface and find out that we have somehow exited the station at Monument!!!!

A short walk ensues, with us all going in the wrong direction to begin with, and after doing a u-turn we finally arrive at The Lords Mayor Parade, and this year, Mr UK Buses did not have to find shelter under an unsuspecting strangers' umbrella. After the parade has taken place, we decide to get our bearings and search for lunch. Mr UK Buses and Mr WME have got their pub radar finely tuned and locate a J D Wetherspoons, "The Crosse Keys", where it is time to quench our thirst, with Mr WME and Mr UK Buses opting for a "Titanic" Real Ale, and Mr SBI opting for a "Becks Blue". It is down to Mr SBI to pay for the round, as he is the only person left at the bar once the order has been placed - "Revenge is on the cards!". Once settling in, it is decided that the parade crowd is meaning that the pub is busy, so we decide to have lunch elsewhere, time for a trusted location.

We leave "The Crosse Keys" behind, and head towards Whitehall, but as we can't locate our bearings and cannot find no relevant buses we decide to catch the tube, where we find out that the Northern Line is not running a full service, so we have to catch the Central Line from Bank, which was very crowded, and change at Tottenham Court Road to get to our Destination, Charing Cross. We get back to the surface and walk a few hundred yards to our lunchtime destination, the J D Wetherspoons "The Lord Moon of The Mall", but upon arrival, all tables are taken and with a queue at the bar, it is decided to go to another trusted lunchtime destination, which is opposite, a pub called "The Silver Cross".

Lunch at the Silver CrossMr UK Buses sorts out the round, whilst Mr WME and Mr SBI get off the floor after fainting and find a table. It is time for food, and Mr WME decides to opt for the lasagne and Mr UK Buses and Mr SBI opt for scampi and chips. Mr SBI orders the food, and luckily spots that only one scampi has been taken for, so puts in a separate order for another portion - Part 1 of his revenge. With a little while to wait, we rest our wearily legs and have a chat about the day so far. After about twenty minutes, one scampi arrives, and after giving Mr UK Buses first refusal, Mr SBI cannot wait any longer and delves in. A little time passes and food disappears from the plate and Mr UK Buses and Mr WME are still waiting! As part of the mix up when ordering it seems that the kitchen served up the food as two separate orders, so after a wait of another ten minutes and constant moaning, Mr WME and Mr UK Buses finally get their food, whilst Mr SBI is just polishing off his plate - The revenge was sweet, and Mr UK Buses wishes that he took the first portion of scampi to arrive. Dinner over, we all take a walk down past Downing Street, The Cenotaph, and arrive at Whitehall, where we take pictures of The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

From Whitehall it is onto the next destination, which is the East End, and so we walk to the bus stop where we are informed by Mr UK Buses that we need to catch Service 11 to Mansion House Tube Station. After a short wait, we catch the 11 and are enjoying the views as we drive along. Mr UK Buses is looking slightly confused and we arrive at Victoria Station, where disaster strikes again and Mr UK Buses realises that although we are on the correct service, we are heading in the opposite direction of the way we need to go - it seems that his radar isn't working at one hundred percent (only the pub radar seems to be working).

The Blind Beggars
We alight at Victoria, where Mr UK Buses works out how to get to Whitechapel, our next destination. We get onto the District Line, a straight through connection to Whitechapel. Upon arrival in Whitechapel, we decide it is time for a rest and we go back to our adopted East End regular, The Blind Beggar, which is famous for a certain shooting by The Krays. After a refreshing pint, we go back through the market and Mr UK Buses is determined to find where Ronnie and Reggie once dwelt, Vallance Road, which we do find and also work out that the residence is at the other end of the street, which is quite a distance and in Bethnal Green. It is nearly time to make our way for our return train, and so we find the nearest stop and wait for our bus, Service 205 to Euston. We duly catch our bus, which is travelling rather slow due to build up of traffic, and as we approach Kings Cross and take a peek at our watches, we seem to think that we are trying our luck with the time and it is decided that it may be quicker to alight and catch the tube. We make our way to the entrance of King's Cross, which we are told by station staff that we cannot enter via this way and have to cross a busy road to get to the other entrance. We finally make it to the gates of the Northern Line, and by the look of it quite a few other people have too.

We finally make our way through the crowds and the gate and we all make a mad dash to get to the platform where we cram into the next tube andmake our way over to Euston. We arrive and look nervously at our watches, and it is a mad dash again to get from the underground to the station concourse. Mr SBI arrives first and by the time Mr WME and Mr UK buses appear, Mr SBI finds out what platform we need to get to, to catch our train. There is about two minutes to get to our train, so we all run across the concourse and with Mr WME making a mad run all the way to Coach A (again at the far end of the station), whilst Mr SBI and Mr UK Buses take the easy route and get on the nearest coach and walk our way through the train. We all meet up in Coach A, and by the time we locate our seats, we are all out of breath and the train pulls out of the station, we have literally made our return train with seconds to spare, about 60 of them!!!!

We finally rest and have a bit of food on the train and just after 1900 hours we arrive at Birmingham New Street, where we transfer platforms to get our trains back home. We all catch the train to Wolverhampton, with Mr UK Buses and Mr SBI alighting at Smethwick Galton Bridge to catch our train to Stourbridge. Mr UK Buses and Mr SBI arrive at Stourbridge Town, where we walk past the fenced in Stourbridge Bus Station and have a closer look at the non-work that has been done, and walk to our temporary stop where we catch our 276A bus, operated by Diamond back home. Another delightful day out and return to the capital.

Roll on the next trip, our Christmas outing!!!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

2010 - Topic 1: Out with the old

As from Sunday 24 October 2010, Stourbridge no longer has a bus station. It has now closed so that a new "Interchange" can be built on the site, which, if everything goes to plan, will open early 2012. In the meantime passengers will have a short walk to catch their bus services with temporary stops located in Birmingham Street (Stands A-F) and Parkfield Road (Stands G & H). A guide to the temporary bus station(s) can be found by clicking here.

Stourbridge Bus Station will have had three different layouts since it was first opened.

The Birth of the Bus Station

The original bus station
The first incarnation was opened to the public in 193? by Midland Red, the main provider of bus services in Stourbridge (until the routes were taken over by the newly formed West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive - WMPTE).

The layout consisted of three different termini:

Vauxhall Road Bus Terminus
The Vauxhall Road Terminus
The Vauxhall Road Terminus
This was on the East side of the Stourbridge Town Railways Station, and was the terminus for services for Pedmore, Cradley Heath and Service 130 to Birmingham. This was mainly used by the 130 service as the double decker's used on the service could not get to the main pick up area due to the freight railway bridge running across Foster Street to the goods yard which was situated where the Mill Race Lane Industrial Estate is today.

Stourbridge Town Station
The Town Station Termini
The Town Station Terminus
This was on the forecourt of the old Stourbridge Town Station and was used for mainly the local estate services in Stourbridge, such as S56, S53 and S50. The Railway Station building was a grand building and was nearly one hundred years old before it was demolished in 1979.

Stourbridge Bus Garage
This was the third termini in Stourbridge and whilst it was used to store the fleet of Midland Red whilst not in service, the front of the depot was also used as an undercover terminus, mainly for longer distance services to locations such as Wolverhampton, Dudley, Kidderminster, Bridgnorth and Worcester.


The WMPTE took over the running of the Stations and Garage in 1973, when it took over the running of Midland Red services in Stourbridge.

The Second Installment

In 1979, the three different termini in Stourbridge were merged into one.

The 30 year old station has now closed
This meant that all services from Stourbridge would depart from one location, making it easier for passengers to catch different services to reach their destination. This also meant that the railway station would have to be demolished to make way for the bus station, and also the shortest branch railway line in the UK, was shortened even further to where it is today.

The new bus station would consist of five rows of stands, which would serve all bus services terminating, departing or passing through Stourbridge, and all buses would be concentrated in one place making it a more pleasant journey for passengers.

The once grand railway station was cleared to make way for these stands and was replaced with a metal cabin, which served as the ticket office until the 1990's. The bus station cafe survived and remained in its original place, but finally closed in 2010.

Parkfield Road and Vauxhall Road was transformed into a temporary bus station to allow the building of the new terminus to be built, and in 1980 the new bus station was opened for passenger service.

In With The New

After 30 years, the bus station is once again being rebuilt and it has taken about five years for this incarnation to get to where it is now.

In October 2010, bus services in Stourbridge were going backwards as two main termini have been created whilst the new bus station, which will now be known as "Stourbridge Interchange", will be built. Buses will also be coming into the bus station via a different way and hopefully passengers will no longer have to get wet on rainy days as the concourse will have "covered walkways" around the station.


The development will feature a modern and spacious station building and concourse with toilets, a retail unit and electronic passenger information boards telling passengers when their bus is due. CCTV, help points and an internal public address system will also be installed throughout.


There will be eight, spacious bus stands allowing easy passenger circulation and featuring doors that automatically open when the bus arrives. An additional bus stop will be installed on Vauxhall Road to allow smooth interchange between bus and rail.

The Webmaster proposes to keep a photographic record of how the new bus station is being created by posting pictures as the site becomes redeveloped from October 2010 to the opening of the "Stourbridge Interchange", these pictures can be seen by clicking here.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

2010 - Day Out 1: Showbus

Date: Sunday 26 September 2010

It has been just over a year, and the trio of Mr UKBuses, Mr WME and Mr SBI reunite and decide to visit Europe's biggest annual rally, Showbus.

Mr UKBuses picks me up from home, and then we head off up to Wolverhampton to pick up Mr WME. After succesfully finding the abode of Mr WME, it is time to head down the motorway towards Duxford and the site of the rally, The Imperial War Museum. After a journey of approximately 1 and a half hours and driving down the M6, A14 and M11, we arrive at the site and it is time to park the car, but we go on the usual car park after an attempt by Mr UKBuses to park on the site car park which is only for use by disabled drivers. We pay our entrance fee and enter the site of Showbus 2010, Mr SBI's first visit to the rally after a three year break.

We arrive on site and have a casual stroll around first to have a look what's on offer, awaiting many of the buses to arrive, as we arrived a bit early. Mr SBI was a bit hungry and decided to pay the extortionate price of £4 for a bacon roll, even though it was a bit pricey, it tasted lovely and filled the gap. We start to take a few photographs in the coach section and "Oh, No!", rain starts to come down and we decide to take shelter and have a look around the "AirSpace", which is home to numerous planes including one of the prototypes of Concorde. After having a look around "AirSpace", we decide to try and photograph many of the buses on display today before rain sets in again. We start off by "Airspace" and work our way down the site towards the end of the runway, but whilst taking many shots, these mysterious people keep getting in the way (See below).
Who is this mysterious person?Who is this mysterious person?
Whilst working our way down the site, we decide to have a little snack break, so we decide to opt for a small portion of chips, well a small enough portion for the price tag of £2.50, the only good thing I'd say for the price was that they were nice and crispy, plus the major factor - tasty. We carry on around the site to take more photographs whilst the weather is dry (it is still overcast though) and whilst we have the opportunity to take them, but wait (see below), those two mysterious people seem to be in talks, what are they up to?

Are these two mysterious people working together?

We take photographs of buses from all around the United Kingdom, including London Routemasters', London buses, including their versions of the MCW Metrobus and DMS Fleetlines. There were also exhibits showcasing the BMMO, otherwise known to many people as Midland Red, with most of these vehicles being brought to Showbus by The Transport Museum at Wythall. There were also examples, of the recently departed West Midlands MCW Metrobus, in fleet livery and current liveries from operators which operated this type after West Midlands operation, and currently undergoing preservation. After covering most of the field, it was decided for the trio to have a lunch break, but is it those mysterious people again in collusion (see below).
Proof! These guys are working to wreck the photographs!

We attempt to take a few more photographs around the site, bumping into Ron Morgan along the way, before the rain sets in. But not very long after, the rain does indeed starts to set in, and what a downpour it was turning out to be. We decide to take as much cover as we possibly can whilst having a search of the stalls. Mr SBI comes away with a couple of photographs, a Midland Red Birmingham Area timetable booklet from October 1960, and the recent issues of Buses and Bus and Coach Preservation Magazines. Not a bad haul to take back home and peruse. Whilst on the stall hunt, we decide to board a "photograph bus", but are met with the words "Don't drip on the photographs" on the way in, so we decide not to purchase anything from that stall after the friendly greeting.

The rain was well and truly here to stay and after a discussion by the trio, and also a burger being eaten by Mr SBI at the crazy price of £4 again, we decide to call it a day as the rain shows no sign of stopping, so we head back up the motorway, where we drop off Mr WME in Wolverhampton, even though it was tempting to drop him off halfway back!, and Mr UKBuses and Mr SBI carry on home towards Stourbridge. Despite the rain, it was a great day out, a welcome return to Showbus after a three year break, and it was good to be reunited with Mr UKBuses and Mr WME. More trips will be taken with the trio in the coming months.

The photographs from Showbus 2010 can be seen on SBI Past Fotopic by clicking here.