Sunday, 24 September 2017

Fragmentary Weekend Blog (2)

Siarad Am Orsafoedd Newydd
O.K., here's a clue. Newydd = "new"; Orsafoedd is derived from the simpler "Gorsaf".

Globe-trotting Northampton newshound, Alan, has recently trotted to North Wales. fbb thanks him for some Welsh bits and pieces for today and tomorrow.

Here is the Caernarfon terminus of the magnificent Welsh Highland Railway that runs south all the way to Porthmadog.
Its locos may be spectacular ex South African railway monsters ...
... its trains may be long and the scenery breath-taking ...
... but its northern base is a bit of a dump. So a new station is currently under construction. It will be here, on this car parking area ...
... and it will look like this:-
Like Seaton's new tram station, it seems inappropriate for a heritage line with quaint stock and a vintage "look" everywhere else. Here is work in progress as snapped by Alan.
Looking from ground level, you can see a significant gap between proto-building and the retaining wall.
This is to allow for a possible future extension northwards to Bangor. Super big snag ...
... the former rail tunnel is now a road. Will there be street running through the tunnel? Alan also adds that Morrisons cafe will need to be demolished ...
... and and there are a few other things in the way. So it won't be happening any time in the near future.

"Siarad Am Orsafoedd Newydd" means "talking about new stations".

It Used To Be So Simple
When Hornby Dublo shocked the model railway world by introducing a "Castle Locomotive", you could (if you had indulgent parents) have one for your train set. It was "Bristol Castle". That was the only Castle you could buy.
The above ad is for the Bristolian set, introduced in 1957, which included two coaches and cost £7 7s and 6d (today, £165 with inflation added).
Hattons had been trading for 11 years when Dublo introduced their Great Western finest, but roll forward to today and Hattons is now producing its own locomotives. (More honestly, they are getting the lads and lasses in China to make them.) Their publicity has just appeared for a South Eastern and Chatham Railway (SECR) Class P. It is a very small tank locomotive.
And they are offering TWELVE versions!
The most delightful paint scheme is that used on the Bluebell Railway, not authentic for the SECR, but glorious all the same.
Yet another Christmas present idea or Mrs fbb - Hint hint! And only £99. (Only!)

Six Of The Best In Sheffield
Readers with a working set of "leedle grey cells" may remember that Bright Bus, a supplier of school bus services, closed at the end of the Summer Term. South Yorkshire PTE announced that they would be providing replacement services "but some pupils may not have a direct journey."

Hmmm?

After a few weeks of term, problems are emerging with vociferous complaints in the press and a promise from the PTE to sort it out.
First bus have announce a batch of changes from tomorrow. the note appeared on-line towards the end of last week.
Well, that's OK then.

Some journeys are cut short, some are withdrawn, one runs half an hour later on schooldays etc. etc. - huge inconvenience and confusion for anyone choosing to travel at the critical times. There is no warning on First's web site, so the only way to find out is to look at the "three lines" menu on your phone.
Then, on the menu ...
... click on "News and service updates". This brings up ...
... another menu with another "News and service updates" upon which to click or tap. Scroll down through loads of stuff and, if you are persistent, you will come to the details of the changes.

Phew, it's hard work.

How many people will be surprised/angry/confused tomorrow?

First's on-line timetables have been updated, as they have on one other well-known system.

Traveline? Travel South Yorkshire? No chance.
From tomorrow, for example, the 1520 from Crystal Peaks is cancelled on schooldays.

It's All Chinese to Me!
Or, maybe:-

Back to North Wales tomorrow.

 Next Information blog : Monday 25th September 

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Fragmentary Weekend Blog (1)

Ta Ta Tramstop (For a While)
Seaton's rather fine tram terminus, with its design in keeping with the "Victorian" nature of the trams, has gone - for ever consigned to some landfill site.
Just an excavator and a pile of rubble was left between Tesco and The Underfleet. Even the track has been ripped up.
This is in preparation for a shiny new terminal not at all in keeping with the age of the tram!
It will be several feet above the previous floor level to protect the station from floods and the trams will load and unload under cover. Our Victorian tram-travelling forefathers would be gob-smacked with such luxury!

Originally announced as happening "at the end of September" the destruction came all of a sudden starting on 18th. The on-line timetable clearly shows the "blue" service as operating until 30th inst ...
... (right hand blue column) and the orange service continuing thereafter cross-hatched in grey indicating a bus link. The map shows the line between tramstop (lower left) and depot (upper right).
Road access (normally strictly private) to the deport is at the end of Riverside Way ...
... hence the need for some means of getting there. There are no parking facilities.
A Sewards coach shuttles from the former terminus to the depot ...
... where a tour of the parked trams is offered by way of compensation for the disruption.

But there appears to be a problem. All tramway staff have decamped from the former station to the depot, so apart from the "We are open" notices etc ...
... there are no staff to help potential customers. The coach drivers were welcoming hesitant enquirers to the coach but, as one Sewards driver explained ...
... "When the coach is away on its shuttle run, there is nobody to help or encourage people. They will just walk away."

Generally the coach runs have carried few passengers as observed from the front door of fbb mansions.

Memo to Seaton Tramway. Have a hut and a man/woman/person in it to encourage your potential customers.

Ta Ta Time Travel
Great Western Railway were quick to correct their email which had previously invited booking before the end of September for journeys made before 9th September.
Revised emails came 48 hours later.

Bus, What Bus?
Sheffield correspondent Roy assiduously follows public transport developments in the City. He was mystified by the picture accompanying this headline.
An invisible Bright Bus? Actually, of your look very carefully you can just spot the "invisible" bus on the left. Here it is on the same photo but uncropped by an over-enthusiastic layout editor.
More on Sheffield's school buses tomorrow. The white blobs in both pictures are the Travel South Yorkshire stop, frame and flag on Granville Road.

Non-Bus Niceties :Family Business
fbb always enjoys a touch of quirk, and excitedly snapped this van parked outside the extensive food preparation area of fbb mansions.
There was a branch of Ashe and Nephew (wine merchants) at Nether Green ...
... not far from fbb's Sheffield pad; and your observant blogger has seen "... and Daughters" somewhere but cannot remember who, or where. But "and Grandson" must be very rare.

Non-Bus Niceties : Saving the Planet - Not!
And another nail in the coffin of the war on waste.
Mrs fbb has recently bought a kite, not for herself, bus as a gift for a child. The packet (left) measures about 18 inches by 4 inches by half an inch thick. It came in a box as illustrated which was big enough to hold 24 kites - nuff said.

Blue Or Orange?
the new Stagecoach Yorkshire leaflets are predominantly orange ...
... a style which hithertofore has used mainly blue. But this bus from the Wirrall Peninsula has dropped the white and much of the orange.
Was the man in the paintshop feeling a little "blue"?

In Memoriam
fbb's readers will join him in a moment of sadness to mark the death of Harry Blundred ...
... an ebullient pioneer in the bus industry. As well as being the minibus king ...
... he also installed TV screens at every stand at Exeter Bus Station (red suspended boxes, below) - and they worked!
Harold Davies Blundred died, aged 75, in Barbados on 23rd August. He was one of the bus industry's great innovators, prepared to take a risk. In the case of his minibus revolution, it did not really work; but his general philosophy has motivated many developments in today's industry.

And both Stagecoach and Arriva are now trying the minibus idea again; Arriva in Macclesfield ...
... and Stagecoach in Ashford.
Neither scheme is a roaring success but it is early days. It would be a fitting memorial to Harry Blundred if they were successful in the long term.

More "stuff" tomorrow.

 Next fragmentary blog : Sunday 24th Septmber