The dinky vehicle keeping the Centenary Square ice rink silky smooth


It’s the funkiest little vehicle in the city with a top speed of 5mph.

But the new Pinguino has been working non-stop to keep the ice in shape at the brilliant new Centenary Square skating rink and will even be working throughout New Year’s Day, too.

Looking like a cross between a Smart car and a posh mobility scooter, the Pinguino’s wheels are little bigger than large dinner plates.

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But after every 45-minute ice skating session run by Ice Skate Birmingham, the deceptively fast Pinguino smooths the surface in just ten minutes.

And, while the Birmingham German Christmas Market shut down on December 23, the Centenary Square attractions will remain open until the end of Sunday, January 12, 2020!

Watch the above video to see our test drive on the ice – and what happens at the end!

Graham Young test drives the Italian-built WM Ice Technics Pinguino ice-resurfacing vehicle

How it works

To help with cornering, an attached knob on the Pinguino’s steering wheel turns everything.

If the trained operator takes his foot off the floor pedal, the Pinguino simply stops.

Pressing the back section of the accelerator makes it reverse.

Abie ‘Q’ Danter teaches Graham Young how to drive the Pinguino

There’s also an on-off switch, light switch, horn, timer, fuse box, water level gauge, fuel level indicator, scraper indicator and a big red button called Emergency Stop.

A blade sharper than a razor skims the top layer off ice away while the 205 litre water tank enables the Pinguino to simultaneously spray a fine layer of water to create silky smooth new ice.

After the outer lap, the driver cuts inside by 80 per cent every time to create a blended finish.

Powered by ‘fork lift truck gas’, the Pinguino ends its run by being reversed into a parking bay ready to dump its load of ice sideways.

Ice Skate Birmingham’s Abie Danter says: “Without having the rink enclosed, we would have been panicking on all of wet and windy days about the ice melting.

Brothers Noah and Charlie Smith from Tamworth enjoy one of the first sessions on Ice Skate Birmingham’s all-new Ice Rink in Centenary Square

“But, thanks to the Pinguino, the ice has been pristine no matter that the conditions have been like outside.

“And operating under cover like this means we have massively reduced our energy consumption, too.”

Where is Ice Skate Birmingham?

Ice Skate Birmingham is back in the heart of the city for the first time since 2016, having operated from two adjacent temporary sites in Eastside in 2017 and then 2018.

The address for Centenary Square is Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EA.

Watch this video here to see what the view is like on the 55m City Flyer Ride next to the 40m Big Wheel and 25m by 25m ice rink.

The site only closed on Christmas Day and is open again from 10am to 10pm until the end of Sunday, January 12, 2020.

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For a review of all three of Ice Skate Birmingham’s three attractions in Centenary Square, visit the BirminghamLive link here which includes locations, prices, dress codes and more.

Note: Broad Street is closed to traffic between Bridge Street and Paradise Queensway and Sheepcote Street and Bishopsgate Street.

The easiest way to get there is via the new West Midlands Metro tram services whichi began running between Grand Central and Centenary Square on December 11.

The nearby Brindleyplace Car Park, Paradise Car Park and Arena Birmingham Car Parks are all still accessible by motorists. For our best places to park guide for Birmingham click here

To book a skating slot, visit the Ice Skate Birmingham website here

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