Saturday, 23 August 2014

Trip to Tamworth / Whittington 23-08-2014


4206Tamworth bus interchangeMile Oak, adj French Avenue110Arriva Midlands
4205Mile Oak, opp French AvenueTamworth bus interchange110Arriva Midlands
KV03 ZFDTamworth bus interchangeElford (Staffs), Adj Social Club82Solus Coaches
KV03 ZFDElford (Staffs), Adj Social ClubTamworth bus interchange82Solus Coaches
2617Tamworth bus interchangeCoton Green, adj Roman Way3Arriva Midlands
2614Coton Green, adj Shopping PrecinctTamworth bus interchange3AArriva Midlands
3809Tamworth bus interchangeWhittington, adj Barracks Museum765Arriva Midlands
3805Whittington, opp Barracks MuseumTamworth bus interchange765Arriva Midlands

Today we decided to re-visit Tamworth. Once again the weather was very changeable so we left the decision until Saturday morning. Matthew got up at around 09:45 and had toast and juice for breakfast. Research consisted of checking we had the Tamworth timetables on the phone, and looking for a place to eat. The weather was forecast for Tamorth that afternoon was for mainly overcast with sunny intervals. Uncle Dave hadn't stopped over so we set off to pick him up around 11:30. Today was our first trip out in the new diesel 'Support vehicle'. We set off through Blurton and headed towards Heron Cross. On Blurton Road we saw a rare outing for step entranced Dart Copeland's Tours MIB 797 on the #40 Longton - Fenton - Longton circular. We headed through Fenton and stopped to pick up uncle Dave and then headed bac up to Heron Cross. We joined the A50 and went West to the A500. Here we headed South to the A34. As the weather was poor we decided to take it easy and go the most direct slower route along A roads. As we passed near to Stone we saw Bennetts Solo MX52 FDJ on a #1 town service. We carried on South until we reached the A51. We then went South East along the A51. When we got to Colwich the diesel light came on and we needed to find a garage. We passed an expensive looking garage near Rugeley, we carried on South-East along the A51 and we reached Lichfield. Just on the other side of town we came a cross a Shell garage on the junction of the A51 & A5206 and put in some diesel for the trip. We got back onto the A51 and carried on East towards Tamworth. We got to the edge of town and went straight in, before turning into Aldergate. The car parking spaces by the Assembly Rooms off Corporaion Street were full so we went back around the small one way system and parked in the car park off Aldergate. Last time we came to Tamworth we hadn't researched to eating situation, so we ate at the truck stop off the A5. This time we had researched a cafe called Cafe Rio which is situated in the car park off Aldergate. Matthew had a breakfast washed down with a bottle of Coke. After we had finished eating we collected the trip bag from the support vehicle and said goodbye to mum. We walked across the car park and into Corporation Street, which with it's five bus stops it is know collectively as Tamworth bus interchange... As we crossed the street we saw a double decker arriving on the #110 from Birmingham. It was required Arriva Midlands 4206.

Arriva Midlands 4206 in Tamworth bus interchange
We waited for the driver change to take place and then we got on the bus. As it was empty, Matthew took a picture of the lower saloon.

Inside Arriva Midlands 4206
We booked a Midland DaySaver at £6.20, as we intended to try and go a little further today. We went upstairs and sat down, waiting a few minutes before the bus departed. At 14:00 the bus set off onto Church Street and as we waited at the traffic lights we saw dud Arriva Midlands 4200 coming in to form the next #110 departure at 14:15. We had been on this bus on our previous visit to Tamworth back in June this year. This bus has now been covered in an all over advert for the new Sapphire buses coming to Tamworth to work the #110 in September. We carried on West until we got to the roundabout and then we went South onto Tamedrive. At the big roundabout we turned left onto Riverdrive, before heading South past the Ventura shopping park along the A4091. We crossed under the A5 and past the previous further point on this service in Fazeley. We crossed over the canal and we turned right onto the old A5 which has now been renumbered to the B5404. The road isn't very wide by modern standards but then Romans knew how to build a road straight... We passed required Arriva Midlands Mercedes Citaro 3008 on the next Tamworth bound #110, so we knew we had about 7 minutes before we passed the next bus. We passed a lumber yard with a big crane that can lift whole tree trunks, and then carried on West for around a mile before we reached Mile Oak. We turned South onto the A453 and we decided to get off as there was a bus due back the other way any minutes now. We got off and Matthew got another picture of Arriva Midlands 4206.

Arriva Midlands 4206 in Mile Oak
There was a bus stop opposite, but it took over a minutes to get across this busy road. Once at the stop there wasn't much of a view down the road because a a big hedge. I had to stand on the road to see the bus and retreat back onto the pavement when I saw it approaching. Even then Matthew didn't quite get enough notice to get good picture of this bus, dud Arriva Midlands 4205.

Arriva Midlands 4205 in Mile Oak
We got on the bus and flashed the tickets and the we went upstairs and sat down. The bus was quite well filled. We set of North on the A453 and then East to Fazeley. We turned North onto the A4091 and we passed Arriva Midlands 4200 again, this time going towards Birmingham. As we passed Ventura Park we saw Arriva Midlands Volvo B6 2613 turning into the out of town shopping complex. The bus was branded and working the #6 service. We got back onto the A51 Riverdrive and then onto Tamedrive before running into town along Church Street and Aldergate. On Church Street we passed Arriva Midlands 3008 on the next #110 to Birmingham as expected. We pulled into Tamworth bus interchange and we waited for the bus to empty so Matthew could take a picture inside Arriva Midlands 4205.

Inside Arriva Midlands 4205
We got off the bus and there were a couple of services in the bus station. There were a couple of buses in the interchange and of course we hadn't taken a decent picture of Arriva Midlands 4205 yet today. I asked Matthew what he wanted to do and he pointed to a anonymous looking white minibus parked up. It was required Solus Coaches KV03 ZFD.

Solus Coaches KV03 ZFD in Tamworth bus interchange
We walked up to the driver and asked if it was a service bus and he told us yes. It was the #82 Clifton Campville circular service. which went out via Ashby Road and and No Man's Heath and back via Harlaston, Elford and Wigginton. The bus set off at 14:35 and went around the one way system and onto Aldergate. We passed the Arriva bus garage with the only bus visible being their trainer vehicle. We turned right into Albert Road and back passed the railway station along Offadrive. We crossed the railway line and then we sat at the temporary lights on Upper Gungate for a short while. Once the lights had changed we went North East onto Ashby Road. Once out of town it was quite a fast run. We were slowed a little by an elderley Land Rover which turned off before we got to No Man's Heath. At No Man's Heath we turn West towards Clifton Campville. Another spirited run along Clifton Road and we arrived in the village of Clifton Campville. Most passengers alighted opposite the Green Man pub, just leaving ourselves and one lady with here dog. We carried on West To Harlaston and the lady and her dog alighted here. As often is the case on rural runs, the driver knew most of his passengers and was a friendly and talkative chap. As we carried on we talked about buses and bus travel and then he told us about the Scarecrow Festival in the next village. Apparently the festival is held every year in this village over the August bank holiday weekend and resident along the route make scarecrows and place them in their garden in the designated streets. All the scarecrows have a number and you pick up forms from the village hall so that you can pick the best ones. People who want to enter the competition who don't live on the route display the scarecrows in the village hall. One garden with large ornate gates made a pair of matching Beefeater guard scarecrows that looked like they were guarding the gate of Buckingham Palace! Details of the festival can be found here... Once out of Elford we went back South down the A513 until we reached Whittington Lane. This was a single lane track into the village. As you would expect we saw a vehicle coming the other way! There was a passing place about half way along the lane and once the car had passed we carried on into the village. We turned South and picked up a couple of folk before heading South down to the A513. We passed Arriva Midlands double decker 4201 on the #2 service and then we came into town and inter the interchange via Aldergate. We waited for the bus to empty and Matthew took a picture inside this fine example of a Mercedes minibus.

Inside Solus Coaches KV03 ZFD
Once off the bus we bumped into mum and as it was warm she persuaded Matthew to give up his hoodie. We saw a few buses whilst we decided what to do next. Arriva Midlands 3804 was about to work the next #110 to Birmingham

Arriva Midlands 3804 in Tamworth bus interchange
Stagecoach Warwickshire 36174 was also in the interchange on a #766 to Atherstone.

Stagecoach Warwickshire 36174 in Tamworth bus interchange
Matthew wanted the toilet so we walked up to the public toliet block at the top end of the interchange. Whilst he was in there Happy Al's coach AA10 ALS made an appearance. Once hew was finished we walked back into the interchange and Matthew took a picture of this coach.

Happy Al's AA10 ALS in Tamworth bus interchange
At this point we decided to do required Arriva Midlands Volvo B6 2617 which was on the #3 to Coton Green.

Arriva Midlands 2617 in Tamworth bus interchange
We got on the bus and flashed our tickets. We sat down near to the back and the bus waited until it's departure time. The bus set off onto Church Road and back onto Aldergate. We went passed the end of the railway station and crossed the railway line before turning left into Salter Lane. The bus followed Salter Lane around and into the estate. The bus seemed to take a different route to what remembered because it did! There seems to be a #3 and a #3A, with unusually the #3A service going clockwise and the #3 going anti-clockwise. As such we came down Fontenaye Road the opposite way from what had done before. When we passed the shops we got up to get off the bus. Before we got off Matthew took a picture inside empty Arriva Midlands 2617.

Inside Arriva Midlands 2617
We got off the bus and Matthew took another picture of Arriva Midlands 2617 as it went off into the distance.

Arriva Midlands 2617 in Coton Green
We headed across to the shops and we went into the Co-op food store. In here Matthew picked a can of Coke and a few chocolate bars and we headed to the till. He said hello to the cashier and we paid for the thing and left the shop to walk to the bus stop. From this side of the road the #3A departed. There was one due in a few minutes. Matthew had time to eat the Toffee Crisp that he had just brought, and then the bus turned up. It was another Volvo B6, and as it got closer we saw it was required Arriva Midlands 2614. We got on the bus and sat down near to the back. The bus set off back through the estate in the opposite direction from earlier and people were getting off the bus and it was emptying out. Matthew took a picture facing forwards into the bus as it was empty in front of us. We went back over the railway line and into Aldergate before entering the bus interchange. When we got there, Matthew waited for the bus to empty before taking another picture inside this bus.

Inside Arriva Midlands 2614
We got off and Matthew got a picture of Arriva Midlands 2614 from the outside too.

Arriva Midlands 2614 in Tamworth bus interchange
There was time for on quick out and back trip before we went home. On the #6 service again, Arriva Midlands branded volvo B6 2613 made an appearance in the interchange.

Arriva Midlands 2613 in Tamworth bus interchange
I asked Matthew if he wanted to do this bus and he said no. Behind this was required Arriva Midlands 3809 on the next #765 to Lichfield.

Arriva Midlands 3809 in Tamworth bus interchange
Whilst we waited for the bus to be readied for service, We saw all over advertisement bus Arriva Midlands 4200 re-appear from Birmingham.

Arriva Midlands 4200 in Tamworth bus interchange
Matthew decided to go toilet. Instead of going to the toilet block he decided to use the toilet in the Tourist Office opposite. We came out of the toilet and the bus had started to load. We flashed our tickets and sat down near to the back of the bus. The bus set off out of town along church Street and carried straight on along the A51. On the edge of town we passed the road that goes into the other end of Coton Green and we carried on over the Coventry Canal and the river Tame. We climbed the hill through Hopwas before passing Packington free-range pork farm and the Staffordshire Regiment museum. We had worked out that the bus passed the one coming the other way somewhere between the museum and Whittington village. After we turned off the A51 we got up to get off at the next stop.

Arriva Midlands 3809 in Whittington
We crossed the road to wait for the bus back. Matthew ate the chocolate of a Kinder Egg and we made up the ball that came inside it in six interlocking pieces. He also had a small bottle of cherryade. We heard the bus and it came around the corner. It was required Arriva Midlands 3805.

Arriva Midlands 3805 in Whittington
We flashed our tickets and sat down near to the back. A couple of people got off in Hopwas and Matthew took a picture inside of the empty bus in front of us.

Inside Arriva Midlands 3805
The bus carried on into town and over the Coventry Canal and the river Tame. We carried on into town along the A51 and we entered the interchange of Aldergate. When we got off the bus we took a few more picture before we left. Arriva Midlands 4205 made a re-appearance so matthew took a picture of it.

Arriva Midlands 4205 in Tamworth bus interchange
We walked to the toilet block as the tourist office had now closed. After Matthew had used the toilet we walked back to the new 'support vehicle' after another successful afternoons bus travel. Mum was waiting back at he car for us and we had Greggs sausage rolls and Matthew had a 500ml bottle of Irn Bru. As we had fuel I decided to go back a slightly different way. We set off back along the A51 and into Lichfield. Once we had crossed through the small city we came to a roundabout with a junction for the A515 to Ashbourne. I knew this road crossed the A50 East of Uttoxeter, and we wanted to visit Z Carz anyway... We turned onto the A515 and a couple of miles North we passed Arriva Midlands 3758 on a #825 Stafford - Lichfield service. We carried on North and we passed through the villages of King's Bromley, Yoxall and Draycott in the Clay. Eventually we reached the A50 ans we went West towards Uttoxter. Near to Doveridge we passed Gold Star minibus PUI 5768 parked in a layby. We carried on passed Uttoxter and onto the long stretch of the A50 up to Draycott in the Moors. We carried on passed Blythe Bridge and Meir and we came of the A50 at Longton to check out what was on the depot at Z Carz tonight. First in the Row was Mercedes minibus W221 CDN the driver was just coming off and the door was open.

Z Carz W221 CDN in Longton
Next was Mercedes minibus M372 NWN.

Z Carz M372 NWN in Longton
Behind this was Volvo coach M534 RSO.

Z Carz M534 RSO in Longton
Behind the coach was Airport Transfer bus DL03 HHU. At the back of the site was silver LDV minibus CN57 HWA.

Z Carz CN57 HWA in Longton
We also saw Mercedes minibus BV51 BNO which also had the door open as the driver was getting off.

Z Carz BV51 BNO in Longton
We turned into Willow Row where we saw Ford minibus BN03 OVS and long term SORN minibus T408 JUX. We headed back onto the A50 and through heron Cross. We saw Lightning Travel T2 DLT before continuing through Blurton. At the Ladybank Road stop we saw First Potteries 43876 on the #22 to Dresden. We got home around 18:20. For a late tea Matthew had bangers and mash with carrots followed by a lemon cake. Matthew then chilled out on his computer until bedtime around 00:45... Mark

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