Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Revolutionary Reign of the Red Lamppost [1]

A few weeks back, the fbbs were enjoying a pleasant awaybreak with No 3 son in Shoreham-by-Sea. Last Christmas, the lad (aged 35!) had bought his old man a shiny "blood and custard" coach for the model railway; like his one.
And beautiful it was to behold. Blood and custard was the standard nework-wide livery adopted by BR after nationalisation; standard apart from the Southern Region which hung on to its Malachite Green.
It (the model) came from an model shop on an unassuming and unlikely suburban row of retail establishments build as part of a post WW2 infill development at North Lancing.
Here, next to a butcher's and a Chinese take-away are the premises of Morris Models. 
The shop has an interesting history, having celebrated its half-century last year. In 1964 the business opened selling electrical and "fancy" goods with a sideline in "toy trains".
Eventually the shop lost its original remit and began to specialise. Upon the retirement of the original entrepreneurs, the new owners retained the name and the reputation.
So No 3 son, Mrs and fbb went to visit. The establishment was a veritable Aladdin's cave of modelling with a huge range of stuff. There was barely enough room for customers!
Now fbb had no intention of spending any money ... but ...

It was Mrs fbb who spotted a goodie in the window. It was a small box, labelled Hornby, containing two minuscule huts ...
... described as belonging to the North Eastern Railway. And half price to boot! They are made of resin, so would be relatively impervious to the British weather in their alfresco location.
Partially repainted, these are now transplanted onto the fbb layout; typical miscellaneous accommodation for who knows what.
Spookily, in the current (July) edition of Hornby magazine, there is an article by an expat, now living in Oz, who has built an enormous layout in a shed about twice the size of fbb towers. In amongst huge stations and long, long, express trains; and looking very lonely indeed, is pictured (lower left) ...
... a North Eastern Railway hut! Can readers of the same magazine spot another one elsewhere in the issue?

Now there was something about red lampposts? Oh, yes. Morris Models also sells railway books; and there, on a shelf along a narrow gangway, was this:-
It was at a stonking full price of thirty oncers and, of course, fbb could get it cheaper on Amazon. But when you are contemplating a massive capital outlay, you do need to be certain that the product is going to be worth the pain of passing over the pennies.

You can't leaf through a book on Amazon!

A partially unpunctuated Network SouthEast burst on an unsuspecting public nearly thirty years ago; and this excellent book charts the political, financial and practical origins of the brand; and takes us through to 2014 when some of the grander plans of the original team are only now beginning to bear fruit. It is a book about running the railway, not a doey-eyed collection of pictures of  2BILs and ancient steam engines alongside their less-loved modern counterparts.

It is about a vision; and a vision fulfilled.

And a vision that is, today, sadly missed.
Giles  Fearnley on the Telly
The big boss of First Bus was interviewed on BBC Breakfast yesterday morning. The interviewer, Ben, is about eight feet tall which is why Giles looks a bit like an interrogated naughty schoolboy! But the item was a very good plug for an improving bus service and an even better one for First and its new buses. That's OK for Manchester ...
... but it would be nice to see a few down here in the west!

Also announced last week were First Group's provision annual figures for 2014. Unless you are an accountant, much of this is gibberish, but it does seem that the bus side of the business is "on the up" with improvements all-round, the UK being a highlight.
It is always intriguing to see how PR gurus "spin" the news. The American businesses have "improved" but from really grim to almost possibly nearly just about OK! The UK rail division was equally positively reported despite the loss of Scotrail and Thameslink!
Do these people really believe what they write?

For an enjoyable bedtime read (perhaps not?), the provisional report can be obtained (here).

Giles was also on the wireless at 0540 (Radio 5 Live "Wake up to Money") with a similar message. He then returned home on the 0907 Cross Country to points west ...

... yawning.
 Next NSE book blog : Sunday 14th June 

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