New photos added on Saturday 3rd November 2018. New TfWM bus livery on route 31...
Diamond bus 30941 uses the turning circle at the terminus of the 31 Walsall - Mossley route. This is located near the junction
of Cresswell Crescent and Broad Lane, a hundred yards from Bloxwich North railway station. 30941 wears the new TfWM red bus
livery, which is much closer to the NXWM colour scheme than Diamond's all-over blue. The 31 had not long become a "shared"
route operated jointly by NXWM and Diamond with a common livery and interchangeable tickets. This shot was taken at 13:09 on Friday 2nd
November 2018. 49 years earlier Walsall Corporation trolleybus 866 was
photographed making the same maneouvre
while working the same route.
NXWM 2129 runs along Cresswell Crescent on the Mossley estate in Bloxwich. It was also working the 31 route and has just left the terminus
bound for Walsall via Bloxwich town centre and Leamore. This shot was taken at 13:19 on Friday 2nd November 2018, and this vehicle is also
painted in the new Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) red bus livery. Both the 31 (Walsall-Mossley) and 32 (Walsall-Lower Farm) routes were
amongst a small number on which different operators were co-operating on a voluntary basis to provide an integrated timetable and interchangeable
tickets. On these routes the operators involved were NXWM and Diamond.
Diamond bus 30940 emerges from Bell Lane in north Bloxwich while working a 31 Walsall - Mossley service. It was actually going towards
Mossley when photographed at 13:31 on Friday 2nd November 2018. 30940 is in the new TfWM
red bus livery as were all buses working the 31 route on this afternoon, although there was at least one NXWM-liveried bus on the 32. Both
operators were using Volvo B7RLE vehicles with Wright Eclipse bodies.
New photos added on Sunday 18th February 2018. Dudley - Wolves buses...
There are two main bus routes between Dudley and Wolverhampton. The first is the 126 from Birmingham, an old Midland Red route via Bearwood which uses
the A4123 Birmingham New Road for most of its journey. It diverts from that road briefly to visit Dudley town centre, but rejoins it to reach Wolverhampton
by skirting the west side of Coseley. In this shot NXWM's 6786 is seen in Bilston St, Wolverhampton, at 12:44 on Friday 16th February 2018. It's very
near the end of its journey, the building in the background is the main police station.
The other main route is number 1, which nowadays runs from Dudley through Wolverhampton city centre to Tettenhall Wood. It was created by combining
the long-standing routes 501 Wolverhampton - Tettenhall and 558 Dudley - Wolverhampton. The latter is an ex-Wolverhampton Corporation route,
number 58, which runs via Sedgley. NXWM 5403 is seen here in Darlington St, Wolverhampton, heading for Tettenhall at 13:15 on Friday 16th February
2018. The building on the right is the Methodist Church.
New photos added on Tuesday 28th November 2017. The 79 bus, then and now...
Daimler Fleetline 6412 was working a 79 Wolverhampton - Birmingham service when seen in West Bromwich town centre. If they illustrate nothing else this
pair of photos shows how much better a conventional destination blind was compared to its modern-day electronic matrix counterpart - although it does
help if the blind is wound accurately.
Transbus Trident 4551 heads north-west along the Holyhead Road, Wednesbury, while working a 79 West Bromwich to Wolverhampton service. The relief sculpture
to the left is one of several on the walls of Morrisons supermarket. This shot was taken at 15:38 on Friday 27th October 2017. Since the tram route was
built the 79 service runs between West Bromwich and Wolverhampton only. However the Metro has been closed for six months between Priestfield and
Wolverhampton during which time I've had the misfortune to use the 79 to get to Wolverhampton city centre on two occasions. The journey from home is near
enough six miles as the crow flies, and is one I've walked by the most direct route in around 1¾ hours. At present the Metro option would require
bus to Wednesbury, Metro to Bilston and finally bus into the city the long-way round via Stow Heath Lane and the Willenhall Road. The alternative is bus
to Wednesbury, for the 79 all the way into Wolves via the same diversion from Bilston. Neither is very appealing, and on my last trip the latter option
took the best part of 1½ hours in each direction due to late-running buses, convoluted indirect bus routes, and endemic traffic congestion. God
help anyone who has to commute by bus nowadays.
New photos added on Friday 27th October 2017...
3875 was a dual-door Park Royal bodied Daimler Fleetline from the 3781-3880 batch. These were Birmingham buses that became part of the WMPTE
fleet. Although they worked from other garages I always associated them with Pershore Road services operated by Cotteridge. However
this photo was taken at Dudley Bus Station, and route 566 was a Wolverhampton - Dudley service. I have no date for this, but the lack of a
destination suggests that 3875 was either on-loan or a recent transfer to whichever garage operated the 566.
408Y was a WMPTE owned minibus when this photo was taken. It was based in Coventry, where this undated photo was taken. A Ford Transit with a converted
body, I've no idea what it was used for, but it was in the WMPTE fleet list so was of note to those interested in the local buses.
New photos added on Monday 25th December 2017. Some National Express West Midlands (NXWM) buses from 2010 and 2017...
NXWM Volvos compete for the stand at Carters Green, West Bromwich, on the evening of Monday 11th October 2010. On the left is B7TL 4231, and on
the right is B6LE 533. 4231 was still working for NXWM in late 2017. 533 dated from 1997 and was evidently withdrawn for a few months in
early 2010 before being re-instated. Final withdrawal came in late 2014.
NWXM 4275 runs along Corporation St, Birmingham, while working a route 80 West Bromwich to Birmingham via Smethwick service. This bus dates from
2002 and was pictured here at lunchtime on Wednesday 10th November 2010. It was still working from West Brom garage in late 2017. The distinctive tower
in the background is part of the Methodist Central Hall.
NXWM 4821 is seen on a route 9 Birmingham to Stourbridge service at lunchtime on Wednesday 10th November 2010. The deceptively suburban-looking location
is in fact Colmore Row, in Birmingham City Centre. It's a pretty impressive display of leaves for almost mid-November.
NXWM 4799 (ex-4816) draws up to load in The Priory Queensway, Birmingham. It was working a route 16 service from the City Centre to Hamstead when
photographed on the morning of Saturday 25th March 2017. The new crimson livery is considerably more elegant than the previous red-and-mainly-white
effort that adorns the buses in the background. Subtle lining which follows the contours of the vehicle helps enormously compared with the brash
diagonal colour-breaks used on many buses and trains nowadays.
NXWM 837 is seen here running along Hydes Road, Wednesbury, with a route 40 Wednesbury - West Bromwich via
Stone Cross service. This shot was taken on the afternoon of Friday 7th April 2017. This used to be route number 10 when it was operated
by West Bromwich Corporation, and was always a double-decker. It became 410 when WMPTE took over, and all the West Brom routes gained a
4 prefix to differentiate them from similarly numbered routes in neighbouring towns. In recent years it has been renumbered to 40,
for reasons that aren't entirely clear to me. Nowadays the route is shared between NXWM and Diamond, and primarily operated by single-deckers,
although the occasional NXWM double-decker can still appear.
NXWM 5420 is branded for route 1, Dudley to Tettenhall Wood. However in this shot, taken at lunchtime on Sunday 29th October 2017, it was working
a 79 service from Wolverhampton to West Bromwich when photographed in Holyhead Road, Wednesbury.
New photo added on Saturday 24th October 2015...
Buses unload at Dudley on the afternoon of Saturday 4th September 2010.
New photos added on Sunday 2nd October 2011. Indie buses in the Black Country...
National Express West Midlands (NXWM) is the dominant bus operator in the West Midlands conurbation, but
there are a number of smaller players as well. Midland
is one of the bigger independent operators, with just over 60 vehicles according to their autumn 2011
fleet list. Midland buses carry a smart red livery,
visible branding, and fleet numbers. This is 3869 (R869 MCE) seen on the approach to Darlaston
bus station at 14:42 on Saturday 1st October. Digital destination displays don't always register on a still
photo, so it's not clear from the picture which service this bus is working. Midland operate both 9 and
334 services which share a common route between Darlaston and Walsall, but the timetables suggest this will be
a 334, the 14:32 Bilston - Walsall.
The Midland Bus Company is - as far as I can tell - unconnected with Midland. They're
a much smaller outfit, with only a handful of vehicles according to information available on the web. Typically
for operators of this size their vehicles are unbranded and don't carry fleet numbers. Or at least these
things aren't very obvious. This is H137 MOB, leaving Walsall Bradford Place bus station at 12:41 on
Saturday 1st October 2011.
When I first saw this vehicle in the distance I thought it was one of the yellow IKEA-branded buses which used to
operate a Walsall - Wednesbury service via their store near the M6 at junction 9. In fact it's a Sandwell Travel
bus, registration number M458 LLJ, working the 12:55 route 334 Bilston - Walsall service. This is another operator
with just a handful of unbranded vehicles carrying no visible fleet numbers. The photo was taken at 13:13 on Saturday
1st October, and the bus is on the Darlaston Road approaching the Brown Lion at Pleck.
This is another Sandwell Travel vehicle, seen crossing the railway bridge on the Wednesbury Road at Pleck. The
photo was taken at 13:42 on Saturday 1st October, and the Centro timetable suggests it might be a late running
13:25 route 334 Walsall - Bilston service. R470 LGH used to be a
London bus, and was new in autumn 1997. It still
carries its London fleet number, LDP 70.
Photos added on Tuesday 3rd May 2011. Proper buses...
My first visit to the bus museum at Wythall took place on Monday 2nd May. This is West Brom 248, or 248H as it became when West Brom's
buses were transferred to the WMPTE. These are the buses I rode most often in my primary school days, so I was especially keen to
photograph this one. However my timing was awry, and it was departing on a tour just as I arrived. This photo was taken when it returned,
but was a bit of a grab shot prior to the vehicle being parked in shadow.
Midland Red D9 number 5399 was also operating on this day. I rode these less often than West Brom vehicles, but would no doubt have had
a few on the 245 Wednesbury - Stourbridge service while making occasional visits to Dudley Zoo.
A bus I would never have been on was this Routemaster coach, RCL2219, in Green Line livery.
Buses and clock towers added on Sunday 10th October 2010...
518, a Volvo B6LE, runs along Ridding Lane, Wednesbury, with a 428 service from Wednesbury to West Bromwich via Hateley Heath. At the
time this photo was taken the Travel WM fleet list showed this
vehicle based at Acocks Green garage, which probably explains why it hasn't got the correct destination in the blinds. The clock tower
in the market place was built in 1911 to celebrate the coronation of George V. This picture was taken on Monday 4th October.
4292 is a Volvo B7 ALX based at West Bromwich garage. It's seen here on the afternoon of Sunday 10th October working a 74 service from
Birmingham to Dudley. The bus is pulling away from a stop in Dudley St, West Bromwich. In the background stands the clock tower
in Carters Green, built in 1897 as a memorial to Alderman Reuben Farley
(1826-1899). It contrasts with the rather utilitarian street lights.
Single deck buses rest between duties at West Bromwich garage on Sunday 10th October. Nearest the camera are 1582 and 1574, both
Mercedes 0405N vehicles.