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Transport
31 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Westside Metro Extension on Broad Street

Despite the pandemic and multiple lockdowns, there has been a lot ot progress on the Westside Metro Extension from Centenary Square towards the Hagley Road, just beyond Five Ways in Edgbaston. Here we will look at the building of it from April 2015 to December 2020 on Broad Street with gaps from Feb to July 2020 and Nov 2020 due to the lockdowns.

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The Westside Metro Extension on Broad Street





Despite the pandemic and multiple lockdowns, there has been a lot ot progress on the Westside Metro Extension from Centenary Square towards the Hagley Road, just beyond Five Ways in Edgbaston. Here we will look at the building of it from April 2015 to December 2020 on Broad Street with gaps from Feb to July 2020 and Nov 2020 due to the lockdowns.


Westside Metro Extension on Broad Street

Most progress was done during the various lockdowns in 2020. Especially in the months where I was unable to travel to the City Centre (until I had to go back to work in July). I also missed November (2nd lockdown, until I went back to work). Didn't really get around to checking the extension out again until late December 2020.

They have started to install Brindleyplace Tram Stop. I had a walk down on Broad Street on Christmas Eve to see it.

Enjoy this photo gallery from April 2015 to December 2020. Track laying began at the end of 2019, and they made a lot of progress during 2020, while Westside was quiet.

25th April 2015.

In April 2015, early signs on Broad Street of utility works between the future site of The Bank and The Mercian.

A lorry and van from the National Grid were on site in front of Zara's starting to move the undeground pipes and cables.

5th April 2017.

Just under the link bridge from the Hyatt to Symphony Hall. More utility diverence works. This time by Pier (UK) Ltd.

10th February 2018.

This view of Broad Street zoomed in from the Library of Birmingham's Secret Garden. Buses were still going up and down Broad Street at the time. This was close to Lee Longlands and Novotel.

15th February 2018.

Views from the top deck of the X10 NXWM Platinum bus, emerging from the Five Ways Underpass near the Five Ways Complex.

Was a lot of traffic here due to the roadworks close to Pryzm.

Traffic was diverted around to the right, with temporary traffic lights. Welcome to the City Centre.

It's hard to imagine Broad Street like this now, as it's been closed to traffic since 2019.

There was even a big hole in the road near Uber, at the corner of Ryland Street.

26th March 2018.

I was on a no 23 NXWM Platinum bus on the top deck, while the 24 was in front. Cones in the middle of the road, while more utilities were diverted near the O Bar.

Near the end of Broad Street approaching Centenary Square, and about to go under the link bridge from Symphony Hall to the Hyatt Regency Birmingham. This view would change a lot in the follow two years.

21st December 2019.

View from the no 24 National Express West Midlands Platinum bus from the top deck, looking towards Broad Street from Five Ways Island. Tracks had already been laid in the Five Ways underpass from Hagley Road to Broad Street.

3rd February 2020.

The road had been dug up and was gates at certain sections, near where pedestrians could cross the road. This was near the Bierkeller Entertainment Complex towards the Five Ways Complex.

22nd February 2020.

The footpath near Symphony Hall was closed, you had to cross through the temporary path towards the Hyatt Regency Birmingham.

Between Regency Wharf and Symphony Hall, it looked like a warzone! No road surface.

Towards Centenary Square, you can see Library Tram Stop in the distance.

14th July 2020.

First time back on Broad Street for about 4 months due to the first lockdown (I'd gone back to work). Tram tracks had been laid near Reflex '80s Bar (The Crown), Walkabout and towards The Brasshouse.

25th July 2020.

Tracks going all the way past Cineworld on Broad Street, down into the underpass below Five Ways Island.

The other side of the fence up Broad Street past the Five Ways Complex, towards The Bank, The Mercian and the Hampton by Hilton Hotel (Cumberland House).

29th August 2020.

Near Regency Wharf and the Solomon Cutler Wetherspoon. The road surface had yet to be filled up.

12th September 2020.

You could now walk down the middle of Broad Street. They were now doing the paving in front of the O Bar and Walkabout. As well as the paving on the Black Sabbath Bridge.

Near the Solomon Cutler Wetherspoon at Regency Wharf. You could walk over part of the track that goes towards Five Ways.

16th September 2020.

Now you can see the track that was installed to connect to the end of the current line at Library Tram Stop.

From Centenary Square at Library Tram Stop, where the tracks are connected to the existing line.

19th October 2020.

Near Brindleyplace, Free Radio and Popworld.

The tracks and the road surface were more or less complete near the Five Ways Complex.

25th October 2020.

My last major walk of the Westside Metro extension before the 2nd lockdown was announced. Seen here near Cineworld (which had closed down again) and Pryzm at the Five Ways Complex.

The freshly laid road surface not far from Revolution.

Autumn leaves on the tracks near Dil Bar Indian Restaurant.

Paving works between Symphony Hall and the Solomon Cutler at Regency Wharf. You could walk down the tracks.

They had already started to lay bricks on the new tracks near Centenary Square, with this view of the Library of Birmingham.

They had made a lot of progress since my previous update of this view, looked almost finished.

19th December 2020.

Headed to the Black Sabbath Bridge, as the Black Sabbath Bench is now back in place. Brickwork towards Walkabout and O Bar is now complete.

Looking towards The Brasshouse and Three Brindleyplace. All it needs now is the four Broad Street Walk of Stars of the Black Sabbath members to be laid, but that would mean removing the newly laid bricks!

24th December 2020. 

The view on Broad Street towards Five Ways. Cineworld has been closed since the middle of October. Buses have to divert down Ryland Street.

Similar to the October view, but all the autumn leaves have long since been cleared up.

Towards the so called Broad Street Cluster.

There is the usual shutdown over the Christmas holidays.

Can walk down the middle of the tracks past Novotel and Travelodge.

First view of Brindleyplace Tram Stop near Free Radio and Popworld.

The start of the building of the tram platforms near Brindleyplace.

Towards the Black Sabbath Bridge with what was The Crown ('80s Reflex Bar) and The ICC.

A lot of strong winter sunshine on Broad Street, was close to Walkabout here.

Looking back at the Black Sabbath Bridge.

Towards Centenary Square, the link bridge from Symphony Hall to the Hyatt.

From just in front of Library Tram Stop, the Westside Metro extension to Five Ways starts here.

27th December 2020.

View of Broad Street from Five Ways Island on the no 24 NXWM Platinum bus towards the so called Broad Street Cluster. Tracks below emerging from the Five Ways underpass. I expect they will build a tram stop near Cineworld sometime in 2021.

Also check out my Hagley Road, Edgbaston post .

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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110 passion points
Transport
31 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Westside Metro Extension on Hagley Road, Edgbaston

The tail end of the Westside Metro extension is being built at Hagley Road in Edgbaston, just beyond Five Ways. It goes past the Morrisons supermarket and Starbucks Coffee and will end outside of the refurbished Fifty4 Hagley Road. As of late December 2020, they have laid the tracks but yet to build up the road or pavement surface around most of it. Photo gallery from 2017 - 2020.

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The Westside Metro Extension on Hagley Road, Edgbaston





The tail end of the Westside Metro extension is being built at Hagley Road in Edgbaston, just beyond Five Ways. It goes past the Morrisons supermarket and Starbucks Coffee and will end outside of the refurbished Fifty4 Hagley Road. As of late December 2020, they have laid the tracks but yet to build up the road or pavement surface around most of it. Photo gallery from 2017 - 2020.


Westside Metro Extension on Hagley Road

One day from the end of 2021 onwards, West Midlands Metro trams will emerge from the Five Ways underpass, coming from Broad Street. Then will come to the end of the extension on Hagley Road in Edgbaston, this takes it past the Morrisons supermarket, with Starbucks Coffee at the end. But will end at the tram stop that will be built outside of Fifty4 Hagley Road.

The Five Ways underpass has been closed to all traffic since 2019, and they have to go on a diversion around Five Ways Island.

Beyond the end of the line, it was proposed that Sprint would continue down Hagley Road, but not sure what has happened to that. It would take a very long time to extend the line even further (as far as Bearwood and Quinton), but that seems unlikely for now.

1st October 2017.

The view from the wide pavement outside of Tricorn House. I thought they could built the line here (at the time). View towards Morrisons and Fifty4 Hagley Road, near where the line would eventually be built in 2020.

But they would eventually build the extension outside of Morrisons towards Starbucks Coffee.

You can see how wide the pavement was at the time at this side of Hagley Road back in 2017. The bus stops, lampposts, etc would all have to go.

A view towards the offices at Fifty4 Hagley Road. Just some barriers on the pavement. Trees and grass that would have to go.

15th February 2018.

A bus ride from the top deck of the X10 NXWM Platinum bus, as it passed Morrisons and the Marriott Hotel (on the right).

Cones in the middle of the road. Opposite was also a Pizza Hut Delivery place for take away.

The bus leaves Hagley Road, heading down the Five Ways Underpass towards Broad Street.

There was a digital billboard that you can see as you head under Five Ways Island.

View from the bus in the Five Ways Underpass. A view runners of the Great Birmingham Run used to have until a few years ago. Broad Street is at the end of the white light!

29th June 2019.

The view from the top of Hagley Road. The Five Ways Underpass to the left. It would be hard to get views of the Metro extension around the tunnel if you were on the pavement, especially with traffic going past.

21st December 2019.

One way to see a view of the tram tracks being laid was from the top deck of a bus going around Five Ways Island. This view towards Hagley Road past The Lansdowne, early track laying progress. This was taken from the top deck of the no 24 NXWM Platinum bus. By now going on a diversion to the City Centre.

23rd December 2019.

Saw these pink Midland Metro Alliance barriers just beyond Morrisons on the Hagley Road.

There was also some pink Midland Metro Alliance barriers in front of Fifty4 Hagley Road. All of that grass and young trees have been removed for the extension in the year since.

4th January 2020.

A view of the Five Ways Underpass with the tracks that had been laid. This was the view zoomed in from the window at Morrisons Cafe. This was my last photo of the extension on Hagley Road before the pandemic was declared, and we had those lockdowns and restrictions.

31st July 2020.

With restrictions eased by the summer, I was back to work in the middle of July. On a day off I headed towards the Hagley Road on a warm day to see The Two Towers again. Was lots of cones and barriers on the right.

There was also a lot of traffic trying to get past Fifty4 Hagley Road. As only one lane was open.

25th October 2020.

I heard that the crossing on the Hagley Road near Starbucks was closed, so that day I went to have a drink and toastie inside of Starbucks. Then got these photos of the tracks that had been laid. A bit awkward with the fences in the way.

Completed tracks emerging from the Five Ways underpass onto the Hagley Road, in from of Tricorn House and Cobalt Square.

There was a bus stop in use on the left, but all other traffic had to go to the right.

24th December 2020.

Christmas Eve, and I got off the no 1 bus on Highfield Road, and walked to Hagley Road to see the latest progress of the extension.  Starting from Fifty4 Hagley Road. This was near the old Birmingham 1 mile sign.

Bit of a mess outside of Fifty4 Hagley Road, but there is tracks laid just up ahead.

The tracks that have been installed in front of Barclays, towards Morrisons.

Cross over tracks just beyond Starbucks. Bright sunshine.

A path has been built towards Starbucks Coffee, with bricks in the middle. I'm not sure if they were open for takeaway or not.

Tracks in the direction of Fifty4 Hagley Road, past Barclays. You can see the cross over tracks. A lot of litter needs to be picked up when they resume in January 2021.

The tracks towards Morrisons. This was the wide pavement. Trees on the right survive next to the dry cleaning place.

Last photo, of water logged tracks that come out of the Five Ways underpass. With traffic waiting on the Hagley Road, having just come on from Five Ways Island.

27th December 2020.

The day after Boxing Day, I got the bus to Harborne, then caught a no 24 NXWM Platinum bus from Harborne Road, Edgbaston. Got the updated view of the tram tracks going in and out of the Five Ways underpass from Five Ways Island.

The bus stopped at traffic lights, so was able to get a second view. The tracks heading towards Morrisons and Fifty4 Hagley Road. Seems to be concrete barriers in the middle for some reason.

See also my Broad Street post.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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110 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
30 Dec 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Reflections of Birmingham

Since April 2014 I have been taking lots of Birmingham photos and over the years I have developed some themes that I now look for additions too. The first to become apparent was my attraction to reflections, particularly in the glass of city buildings. Here is a gallery of my favorite 50 'Reflection' photos. More themes to come soon including 'Lamps' next.

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Reflections of Birmingham





Since April 2014 I have been taking lots of Birmingham photos and over the years I have developed some themes that I now look for additions too. The first to become apparent was my attraction to reflections, particularly in the glass of city buildings. Here is a gallery of my favorite 50 'Reflection' photos. More themes to come soon including 'Lamps' next.


11th April 2014

On a visit to the 'Secret Garden' atop the Library I noticed this great reflection in the shear tinted glass facade of the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Later that day I saw this crazy visual mash-up including a reflection of the Library, it started me thinking about the pure asthetic quality of distorted reflections, something I have tried to develop since.

11th April 2014

18th April 2014

20th February 2015

I've always been pleased with this reflection in the Hyatt Regency Hotel of the urbanscape to the north of the city centre.

30th January 2016

Of course the stainless steel of Grand Central has become a favorite canvas for amazing distorted reflections.

30th January 2016

22nd July 2016

I like how the seemingly rigid structure of many 'glass boxes' actually breaks up reflections and offers perspectives otherwise unseen.

6th August 2016

15th October 2016

Modern architecture can provide great opprtunities to showcase classic examples.

12th November 2016

Sometimes it is simply the reflection of the sky that catches my eye.

28th January 2017

Flat glass on a curved building can produce crazy effects like this isolation of the reflection of the Library in the Arena.

20th May 2017

21st May 2017

Sometimes I just love the visual muddle.

3rd June 2017

I have developed a liking for using reflections to confuse the eye initially.

11th June 2017

18th June 2017

Reflected sunsets are a must in many modern buildings.

7th October 2017

22nd October 2017

More visual muddle and confusion.

16th December 2017

This is as close to a selfie as I get.

1st January 2018

Oh, of course cranes, another one of my themes, but also great when smashed up in a good reflection.

14th January 2018

24th February 2018

Some opportunities just can't be passed by.

21st July 2018

More visual confusion.

25th August 2018

The glass of the old Sympony Hall facace actually gave some great reflection opportunities.

27th August 2018

3rd February 2019

New buildings such as One Chamberlain Square are a feast of great reflection opportunities.

3rd March 2019

Two Chamberlain Square.

10th March 2019

17th March 2019

21st April 2019

A curved window! awesome.

20th July 2020

Flat glass on a curve producing tall thin reflections of the Library, the Hyatt, One Centenary Square (HSBC) and Alpha Tower.

12 August 2019

From the Hyatt, the Library in the Centenary Square pool.

24th August 2019

Confusing symmetry. 

8th September 2019

Reversed perpectives.

7th December 2019

From the Library, it just jumped out as I walked along the 'Secret Garden' and was great to get the Jamia Masjid Anwar-Ul-Uloom and Dudley Castle in the shot too.

7th December 2019

Wrong way round! At first glace the BT tower is on the wrong side of the 103 Colmore Row construction.

27th December 2019

I just liked the symmetry of the wheel and the skating tent.

22nd March 2020

Sometimes the focus point can make all the difference.

24th March 2020

19th May 2020

14th June 2020

I love this mash-up of reflections in the REP Theatre.

29th August 2020

4th November 2020

Visit to The Cube roof for sunrise.

5th November 2020

15th November 2020

15th November 2020

1st December 2020

19th Decembr 2020

25th December 2020

25th December 2020

Photos by Daniel Sturley

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40 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
30 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Babbs Mill Lake in the Kingfisher Country Park

A Christmas Day morning walk on Friday 25th December 2020 around Babbs Mill Lake. Located in Kingshurst, Solihull within Babbs Mill Jubilee Park. Which is now a satellite park of the Kingfisher Country Park, which stretches from East Birmingham into North Solihull. The lake and park was named after the nearby Babbs Mill, which dates to the 18th Century.

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Babbs Mill Lake in the Kingfisher Country Park





A Christmas Day morning walk on Friday 25th December 2020 around Babbs Mill Lake. Located in Kingshurst, Solihull within Babbs Mill Jubilee Park. Which is now a satellite park of the Kingfisher Country Park, which stretches from East Birmingham into North Solihull. The lake and park was named after the nearby Babbs Mill, which dates to the 18th Century.


Babbs Mill Lake

Heading towards Kingshurst in Solihull on Christmas Day, 25th December 2020, for a walk past Babbs Mill Lake. The lake is man-made and is near the River Cole. It is located within the Kingfisher Country Park. But the local park it is within is now called the Babbs Mill Jubilee Park, which was formed in 1977 during the Queen's Silver Jubilee year. It was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 2002. The Kingfisher Country Park was declared in 2004, and was a joint venture between Birmingham and Solihull.

 

Babbs Mill Lake is named after Babbs Mill, which still survives to this day. It is a Grade II listed building dating to the 18th Century. It was named after the miller, John Babb, who died in 1651.

 

First views of Babbs Mill Lake. We started the walk from the car park near Fordbridge Road.

Island in the middle of the lake, seems like a lot of birds goes there.

First view of the morning winter sun. This was not a sunrise or sunset, but the sun was pretty low in the sky.

A ramp going off into the lake towards the geese and swans.

At the end of the ramp was quite a lot of Canada geese. With the bright morning sunshine making it a bit dark here.

Too the right was a lot of gulls on the railing. This was close to some picnic benches, where I saw pigeons on them as well.

More of the morning sunburst off centre to the right.

Then off centre to the left.

A line of four trees making nice shadows with the sun behind to the left.

A newly laid footpath curves around the lake to the right.

The path doesn't seem quite finished. Plus was another section with unfinished tarmac. But saw the odd graffiti tag that will need removing by the local Council.

Can't get enough of that sunburst! Wow!

Sunburst to the left of the lake.

Sunburst to the right.

We only went around two sides of the lake. Was a muddy path after this.

The lake from the muddy path.

We turned back, and instead headed up the path towards Shard End (leading to Packington Avenue). The Birmingham / Solihull border is somewhere to the left of here.

Later walking back to the car park, got a few more shots, including the sunburst again.

The sun was now directly behind that line of trees, making incredible shadows!

Coming back saw a couple of Domestic geese near the lake, got this shot of one on the grass.

 

I didn't see any herons around Babbs Mill Lake, but later saw one coming into land near the Cole Valley Route in the Kingfisher Country Park. Not far from Packington Avenue in Shard End. This area is probably part of the Norman Chamberlain Local Nature Reserve.

I only managed to get two photos of it, this second zoom in came out a bit better. But would have been nice to see it near the lake.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
23 Dec 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - December 2020

The finished 103 Colmore Row looks oustanding and almost surreal, as if computer generated!

A fantastic gallery of December photos in this update from Elliott and Daniel.

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The Construction of 103 Colmore Row - December 2020





The finished 103 Colmore Row looks oustanding and almost surreal, as if computer generated!

A fantastic gallery of December photos in this update from Elliott and Daniel.


23rd November 2020

Photo by Daniel Sturley

4th December 2020

Photos by Elliott Brown

Photo by Daniel Sturley

5th December 2020

Photos by Daniel Sturley

6th December 2020

7th December 2020

11th December 2020

Photos by Elliott Brown

12th December 2020

14th December 2020

Photos by Daniel Sturley

19th December 2020

Photos by Elliott Brown

Photos by Daniel Sturley

21st December 2020

Photo by Elliott Brown

22nd December 2020

Photo by Elliott Brown

There are now over 1300 photos of the construction of this building and can be seen in reverse date order in the full gallery here: 103 Colmore Row Full Construction Gallery

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80 passion points
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