Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Naivety of Youth

Three Youthful Realisations

This is Flushing ...
... in New York; and this is Flushing ...
... in Cornwall; and this is flushing ...
... from and old-fashioned train WC. Old-fashioned it may be, but No 3 son (aged 34) was unwilling to believe that such primeval poo disposal was practised in 2015. Even a visit to the necessary "facilities" in a First Great Western HST struggled to convince the callow youth (?).

This from the "Londonist" web site:-
The problem is old trains. Since 1996, all new rolling stock has been fitted with tanks to contain passengers’ slops. But older cars still dump their loads directly onto the tracks, and often they do it in stations. According to the BBC, tracks at King’s Cross, Liverpool Street and Paddington all experience the charms of raw sewage, debouched from outdated trains.

The union is calling on train companies to invest in containment systems, while both the government and the Rail Delivery Group reassure us that they are investing in new rolling stock. Complete fleet replacement will take years, however. Until then, please mind the crap, and don’t flush in stations.
Still a sign of the times!

Then there's all those wires.
Signalling Surprise
No 3 son stood with his old man on Par Station. A westbound HST arrived with consequent activity in the splendid signal box.
fbb explained that there was a man in there pulling levers.
Further that the levers were connected to a huge mechanical gubbins called the "interlocking" in the room below the lever-pulling man.
Then lengths of wire running on little pulleys ...
... linked the levers to the signal arms.

This system, patient papa propounded, ensured that, for example, a signal could not be set to "go" if the points were set against the train. The lad was then escorted to the end of the platform to listen to the bell signals and watch the man pull "off" the down starter for the departing HST.

No 3 son was unwilling to accept that such a primitive procedure was the best that 2015 could offer.

Of course, nice Mr Cameron (?) has told the cheery Kernow folk that he will be renewing their signalling and replacing all this "heritage" equipment with nice shiny electronic stuff so that a half hourly service can run between Plymouth and Penzance.

Spot the (Bat and) Ball
Before commuting from Shoreham-by-Sea to Watford, No 3 always checks for chaos. On this day he spotted this:-
It contained the following note:-
Was this, he asked some mysterious recreational or staff educational activity? "No", replied fbb, "Bat and Ball is a station just up the line from Sevenoaks."
"I don't believe you," riposted No 3, "no-one could come up with such a daft name as that!" He's got a point. The station is at Greatness.

Bat and Ball station is on Bat and Ball Road, so called because an eponymous pub was located at the end thereof.
There is no obvious geographical reason why the pub should be so-called; no playing field, for example, on a 1930s map.
Perhaps a blog reader can fill in our lack of knowledge?

What did baffle fbb, however, is why trains could not stop at Bat and Ball station. The problem was clearly temporary and there are only two tracks so trains would have to pass through.
Perhaps somebody forgot to bring the keys to unlock?

No 3 son is still uneasy about all three.

But don't try to "have a jar" in the Bat and Ball. It has long since closed.
The two entrance doors have been rebuilt as one. Is nothing sacred?

 Next bus blog : Sunday 22nd March 


  1. I'm a little concerned, fbb. No. 3 son seems not to trust the veracity of his father's pronouncements on all things transport.
    Is he naturally questioning about all matters, or just those propounded by his seniors?
    Perhaps Mrs fbb needs to have a word about respecting his elders and betters!
    (firmly tongue in cheek!!).

  2. I had the same trouble with No 1 son who did not believe there was such a place as Boulby Potash Mine or such an example of mass production as Adam Smith's pin factory. It was quite late in his education that the learned that the old man was right! He never did accept the backward bending supply curve for potatoes! Perhaps enthusiasm for the esoteric (and, dare I admit it, the occasional piece of fictional fabrication!) can be a but off-putting if overplayed?

  3. As to Bat and Ball I found in the local rag of 23/2
    "Trains travelling from Sevenoaks to London are unable to call at Bat and Ball station tonight.

    Safety checks of the line are being made at the station and there is no firm estimate yet of how long disruption will last but it is likely to continue until the end of service.

    The issue is affecting Southeastern routes between Sevenoaks and London Victoria and Thameslink services between Sevenoaks and Bedford".

    Although in South Eastern territory, all except two services are ThamesLink

  4. When the train is in the station
    Please refrain from urination
    When the train is going
    so can you.

    To the tune Humoresque, by Dvorak

  5. Bat & Ball is served almost (if not wholly) exclusively by Driver Only trains and all the monitors at the station had failed. Note that it is on a sharp curve and looking out of the cab window would not be an adequate substitute.

  6. OT but I was a regular commuter twixt Tunbridge Wells and London via the main line, and the Bat and Ball line was used as an emergency diversion. Even if napping you could tell you were on diversion. Somehow the change of track rhythm woke you up.

  7. Bat and Ball - if you take the road up into Sevenoaks you pass the Vine. It is one of England's historic cricket grounds having seen its first came in 1734. They only used 2 stumps in those days. Check out Sevenoaks cricket club.