Eventually the Cross City Line fleet of the awesome Class 323 EMUs will be replaced by the new Class 730 EMUs. In December 2022 West Midlands Railway 323221 was repainted in classic 1990s yellow and green livery of Centro | Regional Railways. BWA's Elliott first photographed it at University on 11/02/2023, then rode it from Birmingham New Street to Shenstone and back on 15/02/2023.


Centro Regional Railways livery on 323221

Eventually the Cross City Line fleet of the awesome Class 323 EMUs will be replaced by the new Class 730 EMUs. In December 2022 West Midlands Railway 323221 was repainted in classic 1990s yellow and green livery of Centro | Regional Railways. BWA's Elliott first photographed it at University on 11/02/2023, then rode it from Birmingham New Street to Shenstone and back on 15/02/2023.

Centro Regional Railways 323221

West Midlands Railway repainted the Class 323 unit 323221 in the 1990s livery of lime green, yellow and white with Centro and Regional Railways logos at the Soho depot. It returned to service on the 19th December 2022.

Birmingham We Are contributor Elliott Brown first spotted it at Selly Oak near the Worcester & Birmingham Canal a day later (near Selly Oak Shopping Park on 20/12/2022), but was unable to get a photo of it.

Several other attempts to see it including a trip from Five Ways to Longbridge (and back to Kings Norton on 21/12/2022), then Birmingham New Street to Aston (and back from Duddeston on 01/01/2023), finally Bournville to Birmingham New Street one way (on 28/01/2023), didn't catch it.


Previous liveries over the years

London Midland 323221 at Aston Station during August 2012.

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London Midland 323221 at Witton Station during September 2012.

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London Midland 323221 at Bournville Station during January 2015.

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West Midlands Railway 323221 in London Midland livery, late December 2017, at Birmingham New Street Station. The franchise changed that month.

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West Midlands Railway 323221 at Chester Road Station during December 2018.

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West Midlands Railway 323221 at Selly Oak Station during August 2019.

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University Station - 11th February 2023

On this day I went to the Selly Oak Shopping Park and walked up the Worcester & Birmingham Canal to catch a train one way from University to Birmingham New Street. And I finally got 323221 arriving on a service to Redditch! It was quite awesome to see. The station here is still not complete. At the front that day was 323204.

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The platforms here feel extra long, but don't walk past the no pedestrians sign at the end.

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Sometime in the future you will be able to use both sides of the new station building, but it is still not open or complete.

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First full view of the back of 323221 in it's "new" Regional Railways livery.

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These units still had this livery into the Central Trains era, but was changed to a darker green, yellow and white livery under London Midland from 2007 to 2017.

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Eventually when West Midlands Railway took over in 2017, they got a orange and white livery. They are due to be replaced by the new Class 730 Aventra with orange and purple livery sometime in the future, by 2024.

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Video clip on Youtube here West Midlands Railway 323 at University.


Birmingham New Street Station - 15th February 2023

A few days later, I went to Birmingham New Street to get the train to Shenstone in Staffordshire, to see the Annatomix mural. And guess what, Centro Regional Railways 323221 showed up at platform 8! So I got on it and had a half hour ride to Shenstone. While there was 11am emergency alarms tests at the station, but departed a few minutes later.

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The Class 323's have a big gap between the platform if they are curved, so MIND THE GAP.

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The refurbished interior is unchanged from when West Midlands Railway did up the entire fleet from 2018 to 2021.

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My walk around the village of Shenstone gave me time to get back to the station and back on West Midlands Railway 323221 in Regional Railways Centro livery, and back to Birmingham New Street. Arriving at platform 12.

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Shenstone Station - 15th February 2023

Between Sutton Coldfield and Staffordshire as usual is all the fields, and after that Shenstone is the first station outside of the WMCA. Got off West Midlands Railway 323221 at Shenstone. It was a bit bright from this side as I exited the station. Couldn't initially saw the Annatomix. A half hour walk around the village, found three pubs, and several old churches.

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The station building at Shenstone probably dates to 1884 but isn't listed, sunlight to bright from this side, was better to see from the car park.

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Up the steps to Lynn Lane, for a half hour walk around Shenstone.

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After the walk, back to Shenstone Station. The Annatomix was in the bike store area on platform 2. This time 323221 was at the back, with 323207 at the front, still I decided to get on 323221 again for the half hour train ride back to Birmingham New Street from Shenstone.

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323207 passed under the Lynn Lane bridge.

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Six carriages on three car sets linked together. The WMR livery contrasts with the Centro Regional Railways livery behind.

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Yellow doors with the Centro logo, press the button to open the doors when it lights up.

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Photography by Elliott Brown