Sunday, 19 June 2016

B is for Sunday

Bus Station - Size DOES Matter
In this week's staff newsletter from Stagecoach Devon we are treated to some "artist's impressions" of the new Exeter Bus Station. And they do confirm that it won't be big enough. The present facility has fourteen stands; the new one ...
... has only 12. Before the old is bulldozed in favour of the new it is often necessary from buses to pull into the "wrong" stand as their official departure bay is full. This can only get worse, especially on account of the drastic reduction of off-stand parking. The plan showsa only five such spaces; the text says four! Totally inadequate.
fbb is sure that Exeter bus passengers will be thrilled with the "good quality public realm" matched only bu a longer walk to the shops. But one key benefit is that the bus station's passenger areas will be fully enclosed.
Artists'impressions are often mildly amusing. These show very few vehicles on the stands (perhaps there's a strike!) and those that are ready for their passengers are all going to Tiverton ...
carrying the new brand, "one for the road". It's service 1/1A - gettit?

Local chat suggests that it is National Express routes that will be banished which is, joy of joys, really good for integration.

Buffers Bogies - Growing Bigger
The little model railway club, attended by fbb, decided last autumn that instead an end-to-end layout they wanted a proper "oval" so that members could see the trains whizzing around. Extra baseboards were built, track purchased and now the original straight scenic section has been bent round two corners of a rectangle ...
... with rather tight radius curves leading to a ladder of storage sidings.
Last week, fbb asked a difficult question. There are three-way points in the storage sidings area.
A normal point has one set of blades operated by one point motor. The three-way point has two sets of blades operated by two point motors. The blades must be changed in the correct order. The point above is set to turn leat. If you want to turn right you need to change the turn left blades first, then the straight on blades can move to turn right.

If you try to do them in the wrong order something very nasty will happen tor either the point motor or the point blades.

fbb left the trackwork team pondering.

But end-to-end aficionados have spring to the defence of the design and extended the Pen-(something that fbb has forgotten) Quay Cornish industrial layout. Here is the team hard at work at a recent meeting.
Is the guy on the right asleep? They have no concerns as they don't have any three way points.

Birmingham Metro - Bigger with Batteries
The line used to terminate in a gloomy little platform on the east side of the equally gloomy Snow Hill national rail station.
But the extension across the city centre meant that the tracks had to be diverted onto a big ramp ...
... along a bit of green (is it plastic?) ...
... and through a gap in the existing buildings ...
... to a new stops on the level, less convenient for changing to a proper train but more convenient for offices etc. Bull Street was, for a while, a temporary terminus until ...
... at last, the pink beauties have arrived via Corporation Street at the Stephenson Street Terminus outside New Street Station.
At about the same time as the extension opened, the operating company, National Express, revealed some not so good news.

The Midland Metro tram service between Wolverhampton and Birmingham has made losses of £34 million since it opened 17 years ago.

Operators National Express had hoped that eight million people across the region would use the trams each year.

But currently around five million are actually doing so, accounts reveal.

Bosses said they had expected greater income from fares for short journeys but instead people were making longer trips using the service.

Which is maybe who they have introduced a "short hop" fare in the city centre!

Anyway, a pensioner was photographed taking one of the first rides ...
... but only to Bull Street last November. Will she pop back to "cop" the final bit?

A further extension via street running to Centenary Square is under way, but with a difference.

Cutting-edge battery technology is to be fitted to Midland Metro trams in a UK first. Centro, the West Midlands public transport delivery body, put pen to paper with Spanish tram manufacture CAF to start work on fitting batteries to the Metro fleet.

The equipment will enable the CAF-manufactured Urbos 3 trams to operate without the need for overhead line equipment to power them - the first tram fleet in the UK to do so.

The technology will allow the trams to run overhead line-free through architecturally sensitive areas or where expensive building works would be needed to install overhead power lines.

The 21 tram fleet is scheduled to be ready for when the extension from Birmingham New Street station to Centenary Square is opens in 2019.

Battery power will drive the trams through the architecturally sensitive Victoria Square and Town Hall areas.
Something different for Brum!

 Next Back to Bristol blog : Monday 20th June 


  1. Tiverton? They're going to Langney Shops.... in Eastbourne!

    Madness, the existing bus station could be modernised to give all of those features without too much expense. It also has the important bonus of having another three stands (15-17) that can service 15m coaches and provide a welcome point to visitors arriving in the city. So where are the coaches going?

    1. Which explains why I have never heard of this rebranding on the Tiverrton route. In typical fbb style I jumped to the wrong conclusion!- Again!

  2. Happy Father's Day Fat Bus Bloke (Dad). Fascinating stuff as ever. Your insistence on dragging me round the buses in Sheffield in the early 80s has ingrained a lasting respect for public transport in me (and possibly some minor lung damage from non-filtered diesel fumes :)

  3. Express coaches in Exeter will have to use kerbside stops in Bampfylde Street (behind the current bus Garage). Less than ideal, especially in the middle of the night, but better than an earlier suggestion of banishing them to the motorway services.