Sunday, 3 December 2017

Sunday Ramblings

Christmas Is Coming ...
... and the first details of public transport over the festive season have reached fbb. It is a PDF document, so will be published in paper form. It contains timetables for Boxing Day and New Year's Day when special services will operate.

The Yellow route and a festive edition of the Blue route will operate providing trams from Halfway and Middlewood to Meadowhall via the City Centre to the special timetable below. Please note trams will not serve Malin Bridge, Herdings Leighton Road or Herdings Park; nearby stops at Hillsborough and Gleadless Townend should be used instead.
Oddly, the PTE, in the guise of Travel South Yorkshire, offers the same timetable (there's considerate) but with a new route colour.

Services will operate to a special timetable which starts from around 0600. Last departures from around 2100. Festive Special Green Route (Halfway - Meadowhall via The Cathedral) plus Yellow Route (Meadowhall - Middlewood). See special timetables in this leaflet.
It was Ludwig Wittgenstein who exposed what he called the Grue and Bleen dilemma; which is ably illustrated buy the "colour" of festive trams between Halfway and Meadowhell.

Supertram also includes details of the inevitable early close-down on Sundays 24th and 31st. when Sunday services will operate until about 1800.
Trying to include the three legged timetable on one timetable page is less satisfactory, however. Despite this moan, the company has provided a clear summary of what will be happening.
Good house points all round (almost) for Supertram. We now wait expectantly for leaflets from the bus operators and the PTE itself.

A long wait?

Christmas Has Come Early to fbb
An unexpected package flopped through the letterbox yesterday and fbb did not recognise the writing. To understand why fbb was so excited, we need to go back to blogs about Transdev's new ZIP service between Leeds and Manchester.
fbb wondered whether this was the first bus to run between the two cities. Of course it wasn't and fbb was gently put right by two of his blog correspondents.
Dennis Drat, in particular, gave a thorough and helpful summary of these services which were pre-bookable limited stop buses with fares restrictions, but carried conductors who issued "walk-on" tickets; thus the best of both worlds.

fbb had resigned himself to his usual level of ignorance until yesterday's post arrived.
One of a superb series of historical bus-books, this volume (Venture books £7.95) gives all the gen on this interesting set of routes.
A full review will follow in due course.

Thanks to correspondent Julian for this stimulating package!

Christmas Decoration (1)
Correspondent Alan forwards details of a meaningful event to be held on Monday 11th December at Northampton.

*There will be refreshments
  a tour of the depot and fantastic learning facilities
  as well as hearing from our speakers:
*Julian Edwards, Abellio’s Deputy Managing Director
*Vernon Barker, Siemens Managing Director
  who will both share their own thoughts
  on the ambitions they have for the franchise

There will be dancing in the streets of Northampton after this event!

Won't there?

Yes, 'tis the launch of the London Northwestern rail franchise, run by these jolly folk:-
Of course the franchise was held by GoAhead and called "London Midland", so the new franchise holders can spend huge amounts of passengers' money repainting rolling stock and stations and issuing new uniforms.

And the new logo ...
To add to the fun, trains in the Birmingham area will be differently branded ...
... leading to "West Midlands" trains pulling into Euston and London Northwestern trains on the locals via Walsall.

The Launch event at Siemens Northampton depot ...
... will include the reveal of a train in the London Northwestern new livery.

Bet you can't wait!

Christmas Decoration 2
Phase two of the lavish decorations at fbb mansions was installed yesterday. It is a delicate festooning of shrubs and plants that decorate the roadside display.
It looks better in reality!

Christmas Puzzle Picture
Regular readers will remember that No 3 son is working in Basel, Switzerland. To cheer up the dreary evenings, the lad is sending fbb some snaps of transport infrastructure for fbb to identify - using his encyclopaedic knowledge (NOT!) of Swiss trams, trains and buses.
The original is much bigger, of course, and immediately revealed a tram stop. But where?

The departure screen was illegible ...
... but the road direction signs could just about be decyphered.
Somewhere in the local area were St Jakob Arena and St Jakob Park. So is there a tram stop which might match those?

There is, on tram line 14 ...
... which ought to be spottable on Google maps. And there it is ...
... with St Jakob Park to the right and Arena to the left. All fbb had to do was to match the photograph. But that isn't easy, because Streetview is often incomplete; see how the blue lines that mark the camera car's trajectory have gaps in them, usually at the bits you want to use.
But a fuzzy over enlarged view from the opposite direction to the original confirmed fbb's answer.
But a toughie this time. No 3 son thought that the football sticker on the lamppost would help.
It didn't. F C Basel plays at St Jakob Park but fbb would not have thought of anything like that.

Advent does, of course, look forward to the coming of Jesus; but it is a time of preparation, not just a calendric countdown. The gift of the Son of God to earth is such a profound event, that the early Church leadership organised a whole month in which to prepare.

But preparation is not about buying presents and planning a massive knees-up (all of which are largely irrelevant to Christ Mas). It was the second feature of advent that needed consideration and reinforcement.

Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow

Isaac Watts, in his Advent hymn "Joy to the World", is spot on with his words to show the need for a personal commitment to God and the positive consequences thereof.

But why a calendar?

Gerhard Lang is widely considered the producer of the first printed Advent calendar in the early 1900s. Lang’s calendar was inspired by one that his mother had made for him and featured 24 colored pictures that attached to a piece of cardboard. Lang modified his calendars to include the little doors that are a staple of most Advent calendars today and they became a commercial success in Germany.

These became popular in the USA post WW2 when Ike (Dwight D Eisenhower) was pictured with his grand-kiddies and their Advent Calendar.
Richard Sellmer (based in Stuttgart) produced "The Little Town" in the traditional style ...
... this from 1956.

A real Advent Calendar would lead the opener through a sort-of preparation for Christmas, culminating in a nativity scene on Christmas Day. It is not at all clear how Homer Simpson and a tiny diurnal nibble of chocolate helps.
It is a good way of spending a ludicrous amount of money on a very small quantity of chocolate!
 Next Long Buckby blog : Monday 4th December 

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