Monday, April 26

Reviewing North Walsall

Thursday 22nd April – The latest stage in Centro’s quest to overhaul bus services in the West Midlands will see a number of route changes take place in North Walsall from this Sunday. The area has always been an exploration favourite but there were some routes that had escaped me until now…
  • I start with the 549, a peaceful journey mainly because other passengers seemed scarce despite it being the morning peak. The Pool Hayes has a few schoolkids about, there’s still a strange stump of the Cavalcade which has yet to be flattened, and the Parkbrook has been repainted in a hideous shade of lime green – yuk!!
  • Walsall: arrive on time so I have half an hour or so to gather a few timetables and mix in some photos of the Fountain, a traditional backstreet local on Lower Forster Street, and the Gala Baths.
  • The 374 has been on the WME hitlist for quite some time, a small Walsall local route operated by Diamond Bus and set to become the plain 74. The bus itself arrived with a bright yellow all-over IKEA livery, very hard to miss and presumably branded for the 399 route – this will do nicely!! The ride is notable for Walhouse Rd (a rather leafy part of Chuckery), Gillity Avenue (with local shops including Gillity News) and Athlone Road (flanking either side of a pretty little green with some spring blossoms). It also includes aspects of the Park Hall estate, with the rather rural Skip Lane, before I hop off at Liskeard Road.
  • Gillity: what a find! My decision to alight paid instant dividends as I could line up a couple of bus shots, IKEA yellow taking centre stage. The precinct was also appealing with some well-presented local shops, not forgetting the King Arthur pub, a modern building yes but it looked inviting with lots of pot plants and hanging baskets. There is a definite Cornwall theme with the street names as I set off in search of the canal.
  • Rushall Canal: I joining the canal at Sutton Road, near the Longhorn pub and quickly focus in on Moat Bridge near the back of the arboretum. Sutton Road Bridge itself is quite grand but a little awkward to photograph, especially with the combination of sun glare and shadow. Gillity Bridge is a nice find, curving humpback flanked on one side by a green fence. The canal then encounters a series of locks – I think lock 3 was the first I came across, approaching Five Ways Bridge with its lovely cottage at Park Hall Road. Another lock brings me to Birmingham Road (grand and angular whilst being on a frustrating skew), then I arrive at Bell Bridge and lock 7? by Walstead Road. The walk was lovely and relaxing, enjoying the morning sunshine with some fascinating new territory.
  • 319A: after a brief flirtation with Walstead Road, the Bell Inn and the X51, its back to Walsall for the next significant route of the day. The result was a 319A ride up towards Goscote, currently operated by National Express West Midlands but due to convert into the new 19 route. We zoom down Forest Lane, over the distinctive narrow railway bridges to connect into Dartmouth Avenue. This brings us directly into Coalpool, where St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Church looms large next to its primary school. The local shops are a familiar sight, as is the old library building which I’m pleased is still in situ unlike the old pub on the bottom corner of Coalpool Lane. Harden Road and Walker Road round to the Royal Oak, Well Lane with a little wiggle, Goscote Lane by a demolished factory works, then Thames Road with housing works seemingly still ongoing from February 2005. I get a good view of the new Blakenall Village Centre at the end of the road, then hop off at Blakenall Heath for a bit of a stroll.
  • Goscote Walk: Goscote has been an area I’ve tended to avoid other than a brave foray in June 2005, so I was keen to rewrite the record. Green Rock Lane feels ominous, and I’m surprised to find the Green Rock Tavern seemingly intact having assumed the place was closed and demolished. The top of the road brings me to Hollands Bridge – I can’t resist a few canal shots even though the bridge is essentially a concrete lump with detached walkways. Next up is the Barley Mow pub, situated on the corner of Goscote Lane where it bends round towards Pelsall – I focus on the side elevation with its bold lettering and signs for the tap room. Further down Goscote Lane is the site of the Dolphin (now levelled brown earth on Slacky Lane corner) and the old factory. Goscote Hospital is a building site as the facility is being converted into a palliative care centre, then I join the canal at Hildicks Bridge, taking me round to the remains of Shakespeare Crescent where a notorious estate has been flattened to leave an empty stretch of tarmac and waste ground blocked off by mounds of masonry.
  • Coalpool: following up on those 319A landmarks with views of the old pub site (up for auction and surrounded by red and white hoardings), the Methodist chapel and the library (neatly framed by a lone tree) - all useful stuff I thought. I follow this by completing the 319A ride through to Bloxwich, taking in Abbotts Street then Lichfield Road – I’m shocked to find the Knave of Hearts is being demolished/converted to make way for a Co-op supermarket, another fine building gone!
  • Bloxwich: the briefest of visits with just enough time to try a 319A shot and a view of the Pat Collins memorial clock looking pretty with lots of flowers underneath before spotting the 347 on the horizon.
  • 347: operated by Midland/Choice, the route links Turnberry Road with Ryders Hayes near Pelsall. I believe the route is being absorbed partially into the new 25 Bloxwich-Pelsall-Aldridge route. Having missed out on the Bloxwich North section, I had to make do with the second half of the route, beginning with a bash down Bloxwich High Street and back up Field Road past the Wheatsheaf. Chantry Avenue bursts into Blakenall, a long narrow street to negotiate, then we have Well Lane twisting out onto Slacky Lane crossing the tight canal bridge and entering much greener surroundings. The rural retreat is only temporary as Goscote Road pokes into Pelsall, emerging by the Red Cow to join Allens Lane into Mouse Hill. Having negotiated Pelsall Village, the final section takes us into Ryders Hayes estate – Smithy Drive, Gilpin Crescent, Lothians Road, St Johns Rd and St Paul’s Crescent. I alight at what seemed like an opportune place near the top of the loop, although there’s no obvious layover so scope for photos was pretty limited.
  • Ryders Hayes: this was my first look at the estate and it makes a good impression, well maintained gardens and houses although no real photoworthy landmarks. There are a few footpaths leading off into the surrounding fields, so there could be good walking opportunities towards Clayhanger.
  • Pelsall: always a pleasure to call by, especially on a warm sunny afternoon. The Queens, the cenotaph and the finger post sign all add to the photos, then I decide to sample a spot of lunch overlooking the common, very nice indeed. Picking back up on the photo trail, I grab views of the library followed by the pubs (Railway Tavern, Old Bush and the Red Cow) before the 395/394 combination leads me to Rushall and onwards to Walsall Wood.
  • Walsall Wood: I alight at the Brookland Road stop, which proved handy for photos of the new library and a public artwork comprising a series of silhouette figures with engraved local memories, very eyecatching. Walsall Wood High Street allows me to discover St John’s Church and war memorial then renew my acquaintance with the Boatman’s Rest and the Drunken Duck pubs.
  • 380: a Black Diamond run to the Catshill estate near Brownhills, soon to be renumbered as the 24. The route takes in Castlefort, Holly Lane, Streets Corner, Friezland Lane and some backstreets behind Brownhills Town Centre before finishing with Sadler Road, Catshill Road and a tight loop of Fullelove Road - apparently a mobile homes park also featured in there somewhere.
  • I do a circuit of Fullelove Road just for my own information, even though it is purely residential, then catch the 394 down by the Anchor for a decent enough ride back into Walsall. For once I drop lucky as the 549 is there waiting for me, cue for a storming run back through to Wednesfield. There are definitely more passengers outbound from Walsall but the bus is still by no means full. I’d still like to have a ride on the 335/336 Alumwell circulars to see if there’s anything else worthy of a photo across that way.
  • Wednesfield: a final photographic indulgence on the way home. My focus here is St Thomas’ Church, where the flowerbeds are in full bloom and look glorious, and the new library, where landscaping works are drawing to a close - and that was that!
Another trip logged and it served its purpose. It was interesting to cover routes like the 347 and 380 even though the photos didn’t fall for me. I think it was important to add substance to my explorations of Goscote and Coalpool, whilst Pelsall delivered its usual customary village charm. The highlight for me though was Gillity, with the 374 Ikea bus, the pub and precinct and the canal too – all treats to savour and build on in future. It was a solid way to round up the final few routes before the changes, having covered most of the affected services quite well over the years. The new network will give me an excuse to return to North Walsall once again, and that can’t be bad!

Tuesday, April 20


Friday 16th April: A day of firsts as the intrepid adventurers – Stephen, Nick, Ken and myself – descend upon Old Trafford to watch the second day of Lancashire v Warwickshire…

Its an early start, heading to Queen Street to catch the 325 National Express coach at 7:55am. Waiting outside the Express & Star offices, the coach arrives on time and proves quite comfortable for a relaxing start to the day. This was my first time using National Express coaches and I was suitably impressed, especially as the £15.50 return seemed very reasonable compared to the train option. The journey was enjoyable, cruising up the A449 and M6 on the VE2 chatting with Mr B.

Bonus: We didn’t need to stop at Penkridge so our first pickup is Hanley, a place I’d never visited before. The approach proved fascinating with some intriguing pubs like the Coachmakers Arms, and then we arrived at the bus station which looked dated and grotty on the side of a dodgy precinct, one long row of numbered bays on the left (served by the First local routes), then another row at the far end for the coaches. The fact it wasn’t particularly modern meant the station rather appealed to me, especially the layover area where a parade of buses were lined up with blinds for Market Drayton, Bentilee, Mere and so forth. When the driver invited us to stretch our legs (he wanted a cigarette break), I darted off for some bonus photos, trying to get shots of the stands and routes like the 101 and the 20. I even had a sneaky peek at the town, dashing up Charles Street to find the Market Tavern, the Burton Stores and the Reginald Mitchell Wetherspoons on Parliament Row – cracking stuff. I’m seriously now contemplating a proper visit.

Back on the coach, we whizz through Etruria and back on the A500 (towards Nantwich) to rejoin the M6. We branch off to call at Manchester Airport, a maze of circulatory roads, terminal buildings and hotels – the bus interchange looks smart with the odd Stagecoach in attendance. The final approach into Manchester takes us along a straight main road with the Royal Brewery, a large cemetery and glimpses of Moss Side. We enter the city flanked by intriguing railway viaducts and bridges, passing pubs like the City Arms and the Peveril of the Peak (glorious green tiles) to arrive at Chorlton Street for Manchester Central Coach Station. The interchange is built into a multi-storey car park but the passengers areas are quite bright and inviting with a WH Smiths, ticket offices and vending machines.

Manchester it is then, and time for the journey to the ground. With a merry dance we swiftly find the Metrolink; Chorlton Street by Yates’, crossing Portland Street to Charlotte Street with hints of the Chinese Quarter then Mosley Street to St Peter’s Square. The cityscape is quite inspiring, with tall characterful buildings all well presented and creating a sense of excitement. The Metrolink stop has yellow GMPTE branding and is overlooked by a distinctive large circular library. The trams seem to run very regularly with a combination of new and older fleet (cue for a few pictures there), whilst the ticket machines are simple to use and the £2.40 return to Old Trafford is again reasonable (especially considering the bus fare from home to town in Wolverhampton!)

Old Trafford is served by the line to Altrincham – there is an offshoot to Eccles, with both branches connecting to Bury on the other side of the City Centre. We have one of the older trams, the interior being more reminiscent of the Tube than our own Metro. Nick and I sit near the rotating join and admire the scenery at stops such as GMEX, Cornbrook (change here for Eccles), Trafford Bar (ramps and steps, more like a proper station than a halt) and Old Trafford itself. The stop here has been built with matchdays in mind so there are lots of segregating railings and barriers to contend with, bear left for Altrincham keep right for Manchester. The stop is also next door to the cricket ground so the whole thing could not be simpler.

We head off down Brian Statham Way looking for a place to get our tickets. There is a turnstile section (Welcome to Old Trafford) but we have to continue round the corner with great views of the impressive Trafford Town Hall (apparently the Manchester United ground is further up the road, you can just about see some of the stand struts on the horizon). The perimeter fence of the cricket ground includes some nice railings with the red rose emblem, plus a carved corner sign too. Arriving at the main entrance, the back of the pavilion is prominent with its towers. We hand over our £15 and follow the concourse round to find some seats, noting a second hand book stall (leave donations) and a members enclosure.

We end up sitting in the Brian Statham End with good views behind one set of wickets. Looking around the ground, the old pavilion is quite enchanting with its clock turrets, green domes and elegant balconies. Sadly a giant red monstrosity is being constructed right next to it which rather ruins the view and appears to have seriosuly annoyed the locals - I'm not surprised! Elsewhere there are a motley collection of stands, some of which appear to be completely empty, with sponsorship by Thwaites’ Brewery Wainwright Beer and Chewits! The JCBs are in alongside the red lump, so construction is an ongoing process here and the ground has an incomplete feel with one particular corner of the ground having a car park backdrop rather than a stand.

It’s a lovely sunny morning, more like summer than spring and a far cry from the recent cold drizzly snap. Warwickshire had resumed on 18/1 overnight and had progressed to 24/1 by the time we took our seats – then the chaos starts. Westwood is bowled by Glen Chapple (good ball or poor batting, not too sure?), and is quickly followed by Naqqash Tahir (also bowled Chapple, this one keeping low according to SB). Warwickshire are then in a mess when Trott goes without scoring, 28/4 and the jinx strikes again, cue for some furious scribbling on scorecards. Bell and Troughton see us safely through to lunch and are beginning to build a partnership.

The lunch interval gives us chance to explore more of the ground, heading round towards the car park corner. Security announcements warn spectators not to leave bags unattended, and there’s a message for drivers that their cars might be clamped – it all seems rather foreboding and restrictive. Taking our perambulation, it appears that some of the stands are roped off as inaccessible (hence being empty) and the concourse is flanked behind green metallic screens screaming out No Alcohol at regular intervals. I was hoping to get some nice angles of the various structures but felt the scope for this was very limited, although we did confirm that the red thing looked out of place wherever we viewed it from. We arrive over by the Stretford End to find we were effectively leaving the ground, so its an about turn back to the Brian Statham. On a more positive note, I was able to note the arrival of an ice cream van and picked up a spot of lunch (cheesy chips for £2.50, might have been more expensive elsewhere).

I actually really enjoyed those chips as we settled back in our seats. Ken and Nick had visited the pavilion and smuggled out an Eccles cake, and the conversation turned to cheese, fruit and nuts. Resuming on 122/4 we were hopeful of making progress, but the innings is put on the back foot when Jim retired hurt (apparently with a migraine) and then Bell got out for 47 attempting a sweep shot off debut spinner Kerrigan – an unlucky dismissal possibly but risky shot selection? Ambrose didn’t last long before also falling to Kerrigan, whilst Ricky Clarke managed a useful 43 (including one fine six) before Saj Mahmood uprooted his stumps just before tea. Woakes and Carter reach the interval at 238/7, so the initial crisis of 28/4 had been averted but the chance to really impose ourselves on the game hadn’t been taken either.

Tea then, and another walk around the ground. With Nick leading the way we head into the Pavillion so I can claim my own Eccles cake, plus have a general look around the Long Room and the member’s bar (lots of real ales) – I was very impressed and quite surprised that anybody could apparently get access. We even saw Jimmy Anderson by the dressing room, a nice highlight. After comparing notes with Railway Pete, SB and I grab an ice cream from Gerards van (unfortunate name in Manchester surely?) then its back to our favourite vantage point for the evening session.

Stephen had predicted another start of session collapse and so it proved – a pointless run out saw off Carter, then the returning Troughton rather gave his wicket away with an injudicious swish. Woakes and Imran Tahir just about crept us above the 250 mark for a valuable extra bonus point, and the innings closed on 254 all out, a lead of a solitary run. Lancashire began their second innings and didn’t look in a huge degree of trouble. Tom Smith departed early c Ambrose b Carter, but Horton and Moore looked assured and you couldn’t really see another wicket coming. Thankfully there was a strike before the close, Clarke taking a fine slip catch to snaffle Horton off Woakes. Anderson performed his night-watchman duties quite comfortably and it was 84/2 at the close. An intriguing days play then, finishing quite even with neither team able to build a commanding advantage – good competitive entertainment.

Filing out of the ground, its round the corner to the Metro stop, timing it perfectly to hop on the tram to Bury – it wasn’t as crowded onboard as I was expecting. I’d definitely consider returning to Old Trafford again and wouldn’t mind exploring the wider Metrolink network. At St Peter’s Gardens we make our way down Oxford Street to find the Paramount Wetherspoon’s but its packed out on a Friday evening and we don’t want to chance waiting ages to be served. Portland Street has a couple of narrow hostelries – the Circus Tavern and the Great Horse (the latter a Hyde’s house) – again popular but food might be an issue. We thus continue with our city centre wander, emerging at Piccadilly Gardens and eventually finding a chip shop on Oldham Street. We tuck in over by the fountains, a popular spot or so it seems, revving up for the nightlife as a hen party parades by – I pity the girl dressed up as Marge Simpson!! Actually the meal was very enjoyable, the chips crisp with lots of vinegar tang and the pie proving easy to handle with a firm crust and a great filling.

We still have a bit of time to kill before the 8pm return coach, so we consider the prospect of a quick drink. I have a closer look at Piccadilly Gardens – there’s a bus interchange here with a few routes on layover (85/86 to Chorlton?) plus a Metrolink stop on the spur to Piccadilly Station. We head round by the coach station, close to the Canal Street Gay Quarter, and find the Paddy’s Horse pub and Maxwell’s chip shop which might be useful for future reference. Passing up on the chance of a swift half, we loop back to Coach Central and wait on the concourse for our departure – I stock up on cola and Boost bars just in case.

The ride back home provided a quiet, reflective end to the day, leaving Manchester as darkness fell and then negotiating Manchester Airport as I tuck into my Eccles cake. Stephen and I enjoy a varied conversation discussing Wolves, Eccles the dog on Corrie, Westwood’s captaincy and life in general. It was interesting to see Hanley in the dark, with the Town Hall and Regent Theatre both lit up all enticingly, then its a slog down the M6 and back through Penkridge, arriving a couple of minutes ahead of our 22:10pm ETA. Waving off Nick and Ken, I wait with Mr B for his 559 then jump on the 533 to complete proceedings for another day.

And what an adventure it was – I really enjoyed sampling another major British city and now have some bearings on which to build in the future. I would definitely consider returning to Manchester for a general day out, perhaps sampling one of the pubs we didn’t quite manage this time. The National Express coach worked well and provides future food for thought, and I even achieved a little ambition by tackling an Eccles cake with its curranty centre – you can’t ask for much more than that!!

Thursday, April 8

Taking Leave Part Two

A continued look at my adventures during my extended Easter break...

Tuesday 30th March: dipping into Dudley for a look at the Fens Branch of the Stourbridge Canal. Upper Pensnett gets me started with a photo of the Queens Head pub, then I enjoy a walk around the Fens Pools with the weather quite bleak and blustery. I join the canal at Wide Waters and follow along to Cressett Lane Bridge before veering off into Brockmoor. The afternoon comprises a stroll around Hawbush and Brierley Hill, during which my discoveries included Bull Street Bridge, Marsh Park and the Bull's Head.

Wednesday 31st March: A wet and windy whizz around Willenhall. I begin at Darlaston, investigating the Vine pub and the Green, before heading along Gipsy Lane to track down Willenhall Leisure Centre. A tour of the town provides photos of the Falcon on Gomer Street West, the new Morrisons and the 340 bus at Union Street terminus.

Thursday 1st April: The new month kicks off just as the old one ended, as I make an immediate return to Willenhall. The weather is still grim but I persevere for views of Portobello (the old Bird in Hand and the abandoned shops), Willenhall Town (the Windmill and the Market Place) and St Anne's Road (Forge Tavern and Rushbrooke Farthing). If anything the rain gets worse as I proceed to Lane Head and Short Heath, battling hard for my shots of landmarks such as the Bridge Tavern, the Brown Jug and Holy Trinity Church.

Tuesday 6th April: Easter itself was a quiet time so I was back on the beat come the following Tuesday. Bridgnorth and Much Wenlock were my destinations for some classic Shropshire exploring, with highlights including a proper look around Low Town and a glimpse of the Cliff Railway. At Much Wenlock I admired the medieval architecture and sampled a pint of Black Sheep Bitter in the George & Dragon - a fitting way to conclude my holiday if ever there was one!

Monday, April 5

Bus Station Departure

Saturday 3rd April marked the last day in service for Wolverhampton Bus Station, which has now closed to undergo a 15 month redevelopment as part of the Wolverhampton Interchange project. As the old bus station had been part of my life on virtually a daily basis, I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on my own memories of the place...

Over the years the bus station featured in countless journeys, providing a gateway to exploring Wolverhampton and the wider West Midlands, from exciting days out to the more mundane process of going to work or shopping up town. Certainly the station was always a welcome sight at the end of the working day as I looked forward to catching my bus home, although other days would bring a touch of sadness at the thought of another epic adventure drawing to a close.

My earlier memories of the station mainly involve waiting at stand Q (later to become stand S) for a 532 or 533, keeping half an eye out in case the 598 came first. I think the place back then was predominantly brown and yellow with corporate Centro green benches and metal dividers that created little mazes at the stands themselves. With the arrival of Network West Midlands branding came an updated colour scheme in shades of blue, enhancing the appearance slightly although the facility still looked bland and dated. Another more recent addition were the security announcements bringing me good news from West Midlands Police or telling me to keep my mobile phone out of sight whilst staying alert.

In terms of infrastructure, the station comprised four long rows of stands overlooked by the Queens Building. Main access was from Lichfield Street by the Britannia Hotel, buses arriving by the Pagoda then sweeping round the bend by the clock to the set-down stops. Centro and National Express had a joint enquiries office where I would often stop by to pick up a timetable, then there was the Spar store in Transport House and some curious concrete artwork lumps around the entrance opposite Queen Street. The bus parking area was at the far end by the courts, with a further vehicular access off Pipers Row - I quite liked this back area as there used to be a good chance of getting a Choice photo or two. Aside from my normal routes, the other stands I particularly remember are C (for the 559), F (for the 529) and R (the 79 stop where there was usually a big crowd gathering), whilst the 500 Market Bus used to go from the Pagoda until funding for the route was sadly withdrawn.

Perhaps it was overfamiliarity or the sheer volume of traffic, but looking back I don't think I really liked the station that much. It always seemed a soulless location to me, never particularly welcoming nor did it feel that safe (especially not on the evenings). As a place to take photos it never inspired me in the same way that somewhere like Stourbridge did - I prefer quieter spots where I can take my time and not get in the way - although it was infinitely better than the new Centro stations at Wednesbury and West Bromwich that seemed to make bus photography almost impossible. My fear is that the new interchange once finished will follow the trend and prove equally as restrictive. In time I expect my affection for the old station will grow, looking back through rose-tinted glasses and all that, so we'll see what transpires.

Saying that, the new interchange is definitely an exciting development and will apparently offer world class facilities, whatever that means!! I look forward to seeing the transformation taking shape and hope to record the various stages of construction process, some of the photos might even prove to be quite historical. The interim period also provides opportunities, as buses will call at temporary locations across the City Centre including Queen Street, Stafford Street and Pipers Row, and I'm hoping to capture these arrangements on camera too.

I couldn't let the bus station close without marking the occasion though, so Saturday brought with it a farewell photography session. Routes such as the 532, 517, 505, 513 and 574 all featured alongside some general station scenes. The honour of my final bus shot went to the 512 route about to depart for Warstones, and then it was time to catch my last bus. Stand H and the 525 brought the curtain down on my own personal experiences of the bus station, and it felt rather strange boarding the bus knowing that I wouldn't be sampling those familiar surroundings again. It was a bus station departure in more ways than one...

Friday, April 2

WME Update Digest: March 2010

Good Friday greetings from here at WME Towers. Yes, Easter is upon us and so is a new month. Having survived April Fool's Day intact, its time to look back and see what March has left us in terms of gallery updates...

By my recent standards, March was actually a quiet month. It started well with a series of new additions, but then the site action hit the buffers as I concentrated on using my fortnight's holiday to get out and about exploring. Despite the curtailed nature of the updates, there have still been some encouraging developments to tell you about.

Top of the charts this time out is WME Staffordshire, which now boasts two new collections. Exploring Great Wyrley offers two views of the old Great Wyrley branch library, the shell of which looked rather bereft back in October 2008, whilst Kidsgrove Station adds a welcome new location into the mix. Photos here include a platform view, a footbridge sign and a sneaky shot of a train heading for Crewe - I'm particularly pleased to include the collection as it ventures away from my usual focus on South Staffordshire.

Exploration Extra has been one of my busier galleries so far this year and encouragingly maintained its charge with some further Rail Rover 2008 content. Having concentrated on places like Chirk and Moreton-in-Marsh thus far, the collection now features some Derbyshire extracts from Thursday of that epic week. Derby Station makes an appearance alongside the route 6 University bus, with Matlock taking its bow thanks to pictures of the station entrance and a totem sign - hopefully there will be more to follow.

Of the core West Midlands galleries it was WME Solihull that surprisingly received the most attention. Solihull Station has received a photo injection of some extra train shots and the customary back entrance view, not forgetting that an archive shot of the 57a has pitched up on Solihull by Bus. Heading eastwards, WME Coventry also gets a bus photo in the form of the de Courcey 85 service calling at Coventry Station.

I shall finish as ever with a look at the month's stragglers. Bringing up the rear with a solitary new photo each are
WME Dudley (the 244 on Lutley Lane), WME Birmingham (the 18 outside Yardley Wood Garage), WME Wolverhampton (the latest in the Wolverhampton Station entrance series) and WME Sandwell (an extra view of Wednesbury Leisure Centre) - come to think of it, Sandwell has been particularly comatose for a while so I hope this sparks a flurry of activity. On that note I shall bid you farewell, so enjoy the updates and have a great Easter.