Saturday, 29 August 2015

Trip to Tamworth / Sutton Coldfield 29-08-2015


4411Tamworth bus interchangeSutton Coldfield (Birmingham), Gracechurch Shopping Centre (Stop SD)110Arriva Midlands
3010Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham), Gracechurch Shopping Centre (Stop SH)Tamworth bus interchange110Arriva Midlands
3008Tamworth bus interchangeLichfield BS785Arriva Midlands
2378Lichfield BSRugeley BS825Arriva Midlands
3758Rugeley BSLichfield BS825Arriva Midlands

Today we decided to re-visit Tamworth. We checked the weather and the weather was forecasting showers in the North West. We were also anticipating heavy traffic on the motorway with it being a bank holiday weekend. We gave Matthew a short list of places to chose from, and from the list he chose Tamworth. Matthew got up a little after 10:00 and had toast and orange juice for breakfast. We set off around 12:00 onto the A5035 and we went Westwards towards Trentham. At the A34 we went South. We followed ABC Supreme CA04 FUD Southwards for a while and we passed First Potteries 65042 and Copeland's Tours MIB 229 coming the other way. Around Darlaston we passed through some roadworks and we passed to the West of Stone before going South Eastwards down the A51. As we traveled down towards Rugeley we saw Attain YT13 ALU parked in a lay by. We skirted the Northern edge of Rugeley and we continued through into Lichfield. As we passed through town we saw Arriva Midlands 2722 on a #35, 3725 on a X60 and Rotlala Diamond 20203. On the A51 east of Lichfield we saw Central Buses YX63 ZYK on a X55. We went into Tamworth and we saw required Arriva Midlands 3004 on a X60 to Cannock leaving town. We turned left into Aldergate and then we parked in the car park adjacent to the interchange on Corporation Street. After we parked up Matthew used the toilet in the tourist information centre and then we went to eat at cafe Rio where Matthew had an English breakfast with toast washed down with a can of Coke. As often is the case Matthew made friends with the people in the cafe... After we had finished eating we said goodbye to mum and we took the short walk towards the bus interchange. I asked Matthew which direction he wanted to travel, and from the choices he chose to go towards Sutton Coldfield. There were two double deckers in the interchange bound for Sutton. The on at the rear was dud Arriva Midlands 4411.

Arriva Midlands 4411 in Tamworth bus interchange
Behind this was required Arriva Midlands 4414.

Arriva Midlands 4414 in Tamworth bus interchange
Behind those two buses was Arriva Midlands 3501 which was on a #65 to Nuneaton.

Arriva Midlands 3501 in Tamworth bus interchange
The Scania appeared to have a re-paint in the older colours, with the cream part of the livery looking almost brilliant white! We hadn't check which buses we had been on, ans so we got on the rear bus which was the one we had been on before to Sutton Coldfield back in October 2014. We purchased a Midland Day saver at £6.20 and we went upstairs and sat down. Despite this being the second bus in the row it was still quite well filled. We set off out of the bus station and we traveled West towards the first roundabout. We turned South over the rivers before going East for one junction. We turned right and we passed the retail park and went under the A5. We continued south for a while and we entered Fazeley. We turned right and we went west on a straight road which presumable was part of the old A5 / Roman road Watling Street. At Mile Oak we turned left onto the Southbound A453. We traveled for a few miles before crossing the A38 and the M6 toll. We continued South and as we approached we saw Arriva Midlands 2156 on a #604 to Four Oaks. We past the hospital and the adjacent cemetery (I know!), and we came into town. As we approached the centre of town, Matthew took a picture of the empty seats opposite to us.

Inside Arriva Midlands 4411
We turned into The Lower Parade and we got up and got off the bus. In front of us was National Express West Midlands 4915 on a #905 to Birmingham.

NX West Midlands 4915 in Sutton Coldfield
Matthew indicated to me that he wanted to use the toilet. We decided to go off down the street to try and find one. Opposite to us was WMSNT 126 on a #168 to Erdington.

WMSNT 126 in Sutton Coldfield
Matthew also got another picture of Arriva Midlands 4411 before we carried on around the corner.

Arriva Midlands 4411 in Sutton Coldfield
As we turned the corner into South Parade we saw National Express West Midlands 2207 on a #71 to Solihull, branded for a #37 from Birmingham to Solihull.

NX West Midlands 2207 in Sutton Coldfield
We crossed the road and we asked a bloke standing by Santander where we could find a public toilet. He did say that there wasn't a public toilet but there was one in the pub next door, Talk of the Town. When we went in it was a little bit daunting. Matthew went to the toilet first and it wasn't the best. The door hinges were loose and you had to lift the door to close it. When we had finished we went to the bar and we ordered 2 halves of Coke. It cost a mere £2.10! They were playing so Reggae music, and the people in there all seemed very friendly. Once we had finished our drinks we went back outside to join uncle Dave. We walked back around the corner and we saw National Express West Midlands 4918 on a service from Birmingham.

NX West Midlands 4918 in Sutton Coldfield
This was followed by Midland Classic 1 on a X12 to Burton-on-Trent.

Midland Classic 1 in Sutton Coldfield
We also saw National Express West Midlands 4044 on a #5 to West Bromwich.

NX West Midlands 4044 in Sutton Coldfield
We walked a little further up the road and we saw National Express West Midlands 4324 on a #905 to Birmingham.

NX West Midlands 4324 in Sutton Coldfield
We also saw National Express West Midlands 4476 on a #906 to Birmingham.

NX West Midlands 4476 in Sutton Coldfield
We walked up to to top of the Parade and we crossed Victoria Road. I got my camera out and took a few pictures, Matthew also had a look at my camera and I thought for a moment he was going to start using it! We spotted an Arriva Midlands single decker come into The Lower Parade... It was dud Arriva Midlands 3010 on the next #110 to Tamworth.

Arriva Midlands 3010 in Sutton Coldfield
We went over to catch it and at this point I wasn't aware that we had already been on this bus before. we had been on the bus before from Coton Green to Tamworth back in October 2014. We got on the bus and we flashed the Arriva Midlands Day Saver to the driver and we sat down in the middle of the bus. As we waited for departure time we saw National Express West Midlands 4297 on a #77 to Walsall.

NX West Midlands 4297 in Sutton Coldfield
The bus set off onto Victoria Road and we rejoined the route we came down when we turned off Riland Road onto rectory Road. We headed North and we rejoined Tamworth Road before carrying on along the A453 and over Bassetts Pole roundabout. We headed up to Mile Oak and we turned right for the long,straight run run towards Fazeley. At Fazeley Square we turned left and we went North under the A5 and past the Ventura retail park. At the maim road we turned left before going West. At the roundabout we turned right and we crossed over the towns two rivers before going East. We went up Aldergate before turning left into the interchange on Corporation Street. Matthew took a picture inside Arriva Midlands 3010.

Inside Arriva Midlands 3010
We got off the bus and we saw required Arriva Midlands 3008 on a #785 to Lichfield.

Arriva Midlands 3008 in Tamworth bus interchange
As we hadn't had a new bus all day, I asked Matthew if he wanted to do the Mercedes Citaro single decker and he said yes, We got on the bus and we flashed the Arriva Midlands Day saver ticket to the driver before sitting down towards the back of the bus. The bus set off West out town and onto the A51. We crossed the Coventry Canal and we climbed the hill and went past the 'Pigs in Space' also know as the Packington Farm free range pigs. We turned right into Whittington Barracks. We ran through Whittington village and we re-joined the A51 further West. At the Southern end of town we turned North onto Upper St Johns Road. We crossed under the railway line and we turned right into Birmingham Road passing Hamilton Executive Travel TUI 3638 coming the other way. We turned into the bus station and the bus emptied out. Matthew took a picture inside Arriva Midlands 3008.

Inside Arriva Midlands 3008
As we had seen coach loading up as we entered the bus station, we decided to go over and get a picture before it left. On the way we saw Central Buses Dart AE06 ZBT which is route branded for the 'Route 66' service to Burntwood.

Central Buses AE06 ZBT in Lichfield bus station
At the end of the bus station was the coach we had seen as we entered the bus station, Ideal Motor Services 55 KXU from York.

Ideal Motor Services 55 KXU in Lichfield bus station
We walked back to the other end of the bus station and Matthew visited the toilet. After using the toilet we walked around to the Kiosk around the corner and Matthew had a bottle of orange tango, a toffee crisp and a millionaires shortbread to fill up the trip bag. We walked back to the middle of the bus station and we sat down. Matthew ate his Toffee Crisp and drank the orange Tango. Then there was a flurry of activity in the bus station. We saw Midlands Classic 81 on a Lichfield bound X12 service.

Midland Classic 81 in Lichfield bus station
As Matthew continued to eat and drink we also saw Midland Classic 2 on a Sutton Coldfield bound X12 service. Rotala Diamond Solo 20828 made an appearance on a local #20 service. We then saw a Dart approaching... It was required Arriva Midlands 2378 on a #825 to Rugeley.

Arriva Midlands 2378 in Lichfield bus station
I asked Matthew if he wanted to do this service and he said yes. We got on the bus and we flashed our Arriva Midlands Day saver tickets to the driver. We sat down towards the back of the bus. The back seat was empty so Matthew took a picture inside Arriva Midlands 2378.

Inside Arriva Midlands 2378
The bus set off out of the bus station and we left town up Staford Street. We joined the A51 on the edge of town and we went as far as the A515 where we went North. Aftyer a fast run along the A515 we left the main road to run through the village of Armitage made famous by the production of the sanitary ware Amitage Shanks. after traveling through the village we joined the A51 North of Rugeley and we turned as if to head back towards Lichfield. At the first roundabout we turned right and we headed into Rugeley town centre via Brereton. When we got to the bus station we got off the bus and we got another picture of Arriva Midlands 2378.

Arriva Midlands 2378 in Rugeley bus station
Across the way was required Arriva Midlands 3707 on a #31 to Cannock.

Arriva Midlands 3707 in Rugeley bus station
On the free Tesco service was dud Arriva Midlands 3797.

Arriva Midlands 3797 in Rugeley bus station
Matthew indicated that he wanted the toilet so we tried the 'tardis' style toilet in the bus station. It wouldn't accept the money so we went back to the stop to check the timetable. There was a X25 to Lichfield due in around 7 minutes and then a #825 due around 12 minutes after that. I decided to check the petrol station across the road to see if it had a toilet. They didn't have a toilet in the petrol station but he teller informed me there was one in the Subway / Burger King opposite. We rushed across the road and we went in the toilet. Matthew was in the toilet and I was try to get the attention from one of the members of staff in Subway so that I could quickly buy something. They were all too busy to serve me as they were sweep up! In the end We had to leave without buying anything. as we came out of the shop we saw the X25 disappearing towards Lichfield! We now had another 12 minute wait. The Tesco free bus came back around with Arriva Midlands 3797 and Matthew ate a packet of Milky Stars. It had now turned 17:00... Just before it's due time at 17:05, dud Arriva Midlands 3758 entered the bus station.

Arriva Midlands 3758 in Rugeley bus station
This bus was new to us back when we did it from Lichfield to Rugeley back in January. We got on the bus and we flashed the ticket to the driver. I asked him what time we would get into Lichfield and he told us it would be 17:35! We sat down near to the back of this nearly empty bus. I thought it wo9uld be best if we called mum to meet us at Lichfield as it was getting late. She was bored and was talking to the phone, so she agreed! The bus set off out of town through Brereton and at the roundabout at the top of the hill we turned left. Near to the power station we turned right to had up towards Armitage. We crossed under the railway line and we entered the village and we went out of the other side crossing back over the railway. We had a fast run up to and onto the A515 and we went southwards towards the A51. After joining the main road we went down a junction so that we could join Stafford road to run into town along the path of the old A51. we picked up another couple of passengers and we ran into town. mum texted to say that she had arrived in the car park opposite to the bus station, and I texted her back to tell her we were a mile or so away. When we got in the bus station we let the bus empty and Matthew got a picture inside Arriva Midlands 3758.

Inside Arriva Midlands 3758
He also got a better picture of the outside of the bus too...

Arriva Midlands 3758 in Lichfield bus station
On an adjacent stand, we saw dud Arriva Midlands 2986 displaying 'Sorry, Not in Service'.

Arriva Midlands 2986 in Lichfield bus station
We had this bus almost a year ago to the day from Burton-on-Trent to barton-under-Needwood last August. As we walked back to the car Matthew made a couple more friends... We got back into the car and mum had got Greggs sausage rolls and a bottle of Irn Bru for Matthew. We set off out of town and we joined the A51 and we went West. We passed Attain YT13 ALU which was parked in the same lay-by as we had seen it on the way down. We joined the A34 to the South of Stone and we headed past the town. We stopped at the Shell petrol station but the pump was broken and the price was more than at Tesco in Longton so we decided to drive on... We rejoined the A34 and we passed First Potteries 53830 on a #23 to Eccleshall. As we passed the roadworks near to Darlaston we saw First Potteries 32633 on a Stafford bound #10 service. Further north in Tittensor we saw Copeland's Tours MIB 516 going South. At Trentham we turned right onto the A5035 and we ran up to Longton. Once again there were loads on minibus on the spare ground today parked in two row facing the A50. In the middle of the front row was Z Carz Iveco minibus GK02 NWJ.

Z Carz GK02 NWJ in Longton
Next to the Iveco was Z Carz Ford minibus PY08 KDX.

Z Carz PY08 KDX in Longton
Next to the ford was another Iveco, this time in mint green... Z Carz minibus HX51 HRU.

Z Carz HX51 HRU in Longton
On the near end of the first row was Volkswagen minibus Z Carz OV05 WSW.

Z Carz OV05 WSW in Longton
In the secon row vehicles included Mercedes minibus M372 NWN and green Ford minibus T418 WYJ. The nearest bus in the second row was airport division minibus Z Carz DL03 HHU.

Z Carz DL03 HHU in Longton
We turned into Willow Row and there were more minibuses in the compound. These included Mercedes minibus S952 VMY and taxi minibus Z Carz X599 WDY.

Z Carz X599 WDY in Longton
We headed back onto the A50 and we went to the petrol station at Tesco to top up with diesel. We got back on the A50 and we went up to Heron Cross where we came off the road again. We headed through Blurton along Blurton Road and we followed dud First Potteries 66308 through the estate as it headed towards Newcastle on the #22. We got home just before 19:00. For a late tea Matthew had bangers and mash with carrots followed by a shortbread biscuit with a jam centre. Matthew chilled out on his computer until 00:15... Mark

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