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Sunday 13th August 2023 Worcestershire, Wythall, Birmingham B47 6AJ

A Summer Sunday photographing a rare historic survivor from the early 1930s in and around Birmingham

Join us for a full day of photography featuring Birmingham Corporation No.486, a remarkable survivor from the 1930s, posed in and around the city in which it first entered service before the Second World War


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About this event

Join us for a full day of vintage transport photography featuring a rare historic survivor, Birmingham 486, a 1931 Regent which was painstakingly restored over several years at a cost of £500,000.

No.486 was part of a batch of sixty vehicles ordered by Birmingham Corporation in the early 1930s to cope with the increasing traffic between the City Centre and the growing suburbs. Tram routes only went a certain distance from the centre, and they did not serve every district. The chassis were built by AEC with manufacture of the bodies were split between Metro-Cammell in Birmingham and Short Brothers of Rochester in Kent. The Birmingham-built buses were the first to trial all-metal frames which were being introduced to provide greater longevity. No.486 was one of these vehicles, and it entered service from Harborne Depot on 4th December 1931.

No.486 had its busiest days in the early 1930s - by February 1934 it had already covered some 90,000 miles on routes to and from the City Centre and on the Outer Circle route. Diesel-engined Daimlers began to be introduced in the latter part of the decade and 486 was amongst those vehicles which then saw less service; between February 1934 and May 1938, it had covered only 22,000 further miles. However, the Second World War brought them back into main stream service and they worked throughout the war with the most long-lived only being withdrawn in 1947. The metal-framed vehicles proved worth the investment, as over sixteen years in service they received very little attention other than occasional repaints.

Following extensive bombing attacks, London Transport was in desperate need of additional buses to work services in the Capital, and 486 was one of thirty vehicles despatched to help with the crisis (many London buses were Regents, so it was a logical choice). It was based at Turnham Green Depot from where its routes included the 55 Greenford (Red Lion) to Chiswick (Edensor Road) and Night Service 297, Turnham Green to Liverpool Street. As 1940 went on, bombing of Birmingham became so intensive that their need was now greater than that of London with some 145 vehicles damaged or destroyed in bombing raids that year alone, and by the close of November 1940 all thirty loaned to the Capital were back in Birmingham though probably in no less danger.

Engine failure saw 486 sidelined, withdrawn and then sold for scrap in 1946. It was not until the late 1960s that a group of enthusiasts discovered what proved to be 486 in a field in Herefordshire, being used by an elderly local gentleman as his accommodation. By the skin of its teeth, 486 survived and was sold privately; it was not until the late 1970s that the vehicle moved back to Birmingham, being stored first at Castle Bromwich, then Trueman’s Heath, at the former Moseley Road Bus/Tram Depot and eventually to the then newly acquired Wythall site where a number of local preservation groups had formed the Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Trust.

In 2013, restoration started in earnest, a project that was to take many years and cost an eye-watering £500,000. The work was contracted out to professional restoration expert Ian Barrett in Surrey and the overall project co-ordinated by Rob Handford. On 18th December 2018, No.486 was driven back to Wythall to begin the final phase of restoration including completion of the painting and lining plus additional attention to the engine. When one sees the finished product, it looks stunning and is a tribute to the effort and craftsmanship that reconstructed the body, chassis and engine of this remarkable survivor.

We are running on a Sunday to ensure quieter roads and will find locations which are as unspoiled as possible. Our event will start from and finish at Wythall Transport Museum where free parking is available. Expected start time is circa 09.30 and finish 17:30. We hope you will want to join us for a day photographing this beautiful vehicle and remarkable historic survivor.

Event requirements


  • Spare batteries
  • Camera
  • Lenses

Other things you should bring

  • Snacks


  • All levels welcome


  • Low

Other essentials

  • Sturdy outdoor shoes
  • Wet weather gear

Event location

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