Monday, 15 January 2018

Playing Catch-Up (2)

Technical specifications for 'Silver Lady'
Internal gas firing using our ‘FG’ type burner.
All new fully sprung 0-6-0 outside framed chassis
with two double acting slide valve cylinders
operated by simplified Walschaerts type valve gear.
Exhaust enhancer.
Operating simulated cylinder drain cocks
Water top-up system and water gauge.
Controls fitted as standard are:- 
   steam regulator
   safety valve
   pressure gauge
   displacement lubricator
   gas regulator
   reversing gear
Glazed cab spectacles.
Dimensions (loading gauge) are:-
   length 315mm over buffers
   width 125mm
   height 160mm
   weight 3.3 Kg
Full radio control is available using 2.4GHz
   for regulator
   reversing valve gear
   simulated cylinder drain cocks .
The wheels are adjustable between 32mm and 45mm gauge.
Available with insulated wheels.
Supplied with etched nickel silver works plates.
Available in any Standard Colour
She is sometimes called the "Silver Lady" or the "Flying Lady", but her real title is "Spirit of Ecstasy". Of course, silly fbb, Silver Lady is a model locomotive. powered by real steam. It is quit a big model, "G" gauge to be precise; the sort that normal model railway people would run on their garden railway.
The above version, keen-eyed readers will have spotted, is fitted with a "running plate", whereas this grey version hasn't.
Got it?

A similar loco was featured in n item on the BBC's Breakfast programme last week.
The item was discussing the Channel Four programme as below.
The "sit im leben" is that teams are attempting to build a railway track from Fort William to Inverness (about 70 miles) and them run the Silver Lady along it. It is not really a model railway programme as such as the participating teams have to overcome engineering problems in miniature like those who originally surveyed and built the UK's railway.

Unlike the real life full size originals, the programmes teams were not allowed tunnels, viaducts, cuttings or embankments; they had to devised "ingenious" methods of overcoming obstacles.
In the above case the little chuffer had to chuff up a spiral ramp to get to the bridge.
Not terribly realistic, although Swiss Railways use spirals in tunnels to gain height.

The loco was oil fired "live steam". radio controlled ...
... and ran on specially manufactured plastic track.
In various publicity shots we see the Silver Lady puffing happily alongside public footpaths and in gutters.
Some of the engineering challenges have been more unrealistic than others. An attempt to get the loco across water using a wooden "train ferry" appears to have been something of fluvial failure!

Spoiler Alert!!!!

But fbb has nt been watching. It clashes with "Vera" which provides a good two hours of slow moving crime fighting, usually of a "gritty" or generally depressing case. "ITV Hub" will be accessed in due course to catch up on the lady.

But back to BBC breakfast. The props people had created a working OO gauge circle of track to sit on the traditional coffee table.
Unusually for a "news" show, the presenters were surprisingly respectful of the whole idea and even asked some intelligent questions.

The star of the show, however, was the green Silver Lady. Did they make it?


Thames Valley Re-Born!
The company operated, surprisingly, in the Thames valley.
In 1972 it was merged, in an unpopular shotgun wedding, with Aldershot and District to form Alder Valley.
After stepping in to take over First's unprofitable Green Line service between Slough and London ...
... Reading Buses is in discussions with Slough Council and Heathrow Airport about taking over the other First Bus withdrawals.

Service 2: Slough – Dedworth 
Service withdrawn from Friday 29 January 2018.
Service 5: Slough – Cippenham
Service withdrawn from Saturday 20 January 2018.
Service 10/11: Slough – Datchet – Wrasybury – Heathrow 
Service withdrawn from Saturday 20 January.

Service 15: Slough – Eton Wick 
Service withdrawn from Saturday 20 January 2018.

The routes will be branded "Thames Valley" and fbb will review the details when they are finalised.

Will these routes be as big a burden to Reading Buses as they, apparently, were for First?
A risky strategy for Reading GM Martijn Gilbert?

 Next catch-up blog : Tuesday 16th January 


  1. Andrew Kleissner15 January 2018 at 15:16

    Not a "Silver Lady" but a "Silver Princess", a Budd-type carriage put into service on the LMS in 1947: . A curious blend of British and US practice.

  2. News items I have seen indicate there will be funding for the Reading Buses' Thames Valley services, so maybe not too risky a strategy.

  3. The 2 will be taken on commercially by Thames Valley Buses, as well as Courtney (a local operator) and the 5 will be operated on a contract by Thames Valley Buses. Replacement services for the 10 and 15 will also be operated by Courtney.
    The loadings, at least on the 2, seem to be good at peak times.

    1. But not enough for two operators ? A complete shambles by the looks of it from the authorities.

    2. With TVB looking like an hourly 2 service and Courtney looking like a half-hourly service with the 2/10 to Windsor (3 buses every 2 hours to Slough) I wonder what the end result will be.