Monday, 27 May 2019

Bank Holiday Bits

Footbridge Follow-Up
Regular readers will remember the escalators and footbridge that were added to the old Central Bus Station in Sheffield. These led up to a shopping gallery (seen here looking away from the centre) ...
... and ever upwards via a second escalator to car park and "nite spots". The gallery was an effort-free route from buses to town but, despite the picture above, was not well used. Thus the shops deteriorated and the route was even less well used. With the total rebuild of the bus station the whole caboodle was removed.

By pure co-incidence, Sheffield corespondent Roy was explaining all this to a much younger bus enthusiast a few weeks ago. The aim was to spot where the footbridge was!
The bus, in its Buses Farce Sheffield promotional livery, is standing almost exactly where the service 71 (Prince of Wales Road Circular) is standing in the top piccy above.
Note the metal railings and the gap in the concrete wall; this is where the footbridge sat. Note also the discontinuity in the next gallery up.
This is where the next flight of escalators led up to the car park. Access "up there" is now by steps.
The shops are long gone ...
... with access to gallery level and parking being by a replacement staircase. Whether the decline in bus station usage did for the shops or whether the decline in the shops reduced footfall via the escalators is not easy to decide.

The trouble is that those irritants called "people" do not always do what the planners want them to - clever schemes can so easily fail.

Tanks Follow-Up
fbb replaced the missing (?) ladders on his Texaco tank wagon ...
... although they should have been curved and not straight. (See previous blog - here).

The thot plickens! A recent advert for a pack of three second-hand Monobloc tank wagons by Hornby appeared from Hattons of Widnes ...
... complete with ladders. But an advert in Hornby's on-line catalogue also offered a pack of three ...
... definitely ladder-less!

The answer might be that the three from Hornby are from the Railroad range that is cheaper than the headline range; and its models often lack the detail of the top price models - detailing which may well include ladders!

Ribble 100 Follow-Up
Thanks to Roy, yet again, for snaps of the three double decks sporting heritage Ribble livery as part of the companies' response to the centenary of this much loved pre-Stagecoach company. They were photographed at the Stagecoach depot in Morecambe.

The liveries are:-

Stagecoach ready-for-the-sell-off.
Arriva from just before the National Bus Company
Arriva National Bus Company (NBC) plus Merseytravel logo
Stagecoach NBC dual purpose "coach" stripes.
And a reminder of Transdev's commemorative bus ...
... not so much a livery as a reminder of all things Ribble!

Daddy, What's a Trafficator?

trafficator
[ˈtrafɪkeɪtə]
NOUN : BRITISH
an obsolete kind of signalling device on the side of a motor vehicle, having the form of a small illuminated pointer which could be extended to indicate a change of direction.

A created word, derived from "traffic" and "indicator" i.e. a device giving an indication to other traffic of which way the driver might be turning.
Did they always flash?

fbb's dad's first car (a post war Austin seven convertible) had them and, as usual, they pinged up out of a slot in the bodywork.
Sometimes they didn't go back down and had to be propelled back into their hole by a driver's or passenger's hand.

But here are a couple of heritage Potteries buses, snapped by Alan in Kidsgrove.
The rear of the two was equipped with trafficators and used them ...
... instead of being "updated" with the modern front and rear amber lights.
Does fbb remember correctly; but were the indicator flashing lights on the front of his dad's KRP 996 Ford Consul (in Dorchester grey) white rather than amber - in the same lens as sidelights?

A Much Appreciated Gift
Readers may remember that fbb inadvertently crushed an ancient Triang model building.
A strong wind blew it off his layout and under the front off-side wheel of the fbb limo -  with the obvious crunchy consequences.

But chum and former colleague Peter offered to donate his stored but much loved R62 ...
... and his waiting room comes complete with the chimney stack (they almost always fall off and get lost) and the Triang advert on the end wall. Because of this, your author has decided NOT to repaint it in the Peterville Quarry Railway colours (white and blue) but to keep it in its as-bought plastic glory.

It will be re-located as a staff rest-room adjacent to the carriage shed ...
... but fbb will add "glass" and, eventually, an internal light for when "the lads" work an evening shift.

It is good to have a bit of model railway history back on the layout; the red plastic versions date from 1955/1956. Later products were made of a terra-cotta coloured plastic.

For their age they are remarkably good models.

And Finally!
fbb saw this on line and thought it was worth passing on - without comment!

 Next "X-files" blog : Tuesday 28th May 

Sunday, 26 May 2019

fbb Hits The Buffers (and Other Things)

No doubt you correctly identified this as a Hornby R083 clip-on OO gauge buffer stop, but cheekily turned upside down to confuse you!

Buffer stops are an essential part of the real railway. Their purpose is simple; they are a sort of final back stop to prevent over-running railway stock from causing too much damage to what lies beyond. It would never stop a locomotive or its train but it might hold back a slow moving wagon or a terminating train sliding on a bit of greasy rail.

Buffer stops come in a variety of forms ...
... but the most common is something assembled from readily available lengths of rail.
At many terminal or bay platforms, something hydraulic presents a much more sophisticated safety feature ...
... but the 4mm passengers on fbb's layout would have no such luxuries in model form.

The sidings at Peterville Quarry Railway have lacked such appendages despite a desire to use Peco's sleeper-built models.
This simple self-assembly model has been in the Peco catalogue for hundreds of years; but fbb found it difficult to fix down. Something that clipped to the rails (and clipped firmly) was needed. The Hornby version looked OK and one reviewer said that it "clipped firmly". Bingo.

But then the fun started.
Then the fun really started:-
Whoops! Missed out four at £13.36!

H-e-e-e-e-e-lp! Isn't internet shopping wonderful?

In the end six at £2.59 each direct from Hornby seemed about the best and the least stressful.

fbb was duly warned of their impending arrival ...
... and Rene delivered at 1235.
DPD (dpd?) even told fbb that his buffer stops had travelled from Margate to Seaton via Birmingham and Exeter.
dpd (dynamic parcel distribution) is, as we all know ...
... part of the French State Post Office ...
... and their shiny van (driven by Rene - French name, see) delivered a large box with plenty of filler ...
... watched over alertly by Jacko. After removing more packing ...
... a very small box was revealed much to Jacko's obvious surprise.
(Memo : why not use a jiffy bag?). It did, happily, contain six buffer stops.

After a touch of white and red paint ...
... they were duly installed. They are a tad shiny, but weather and snails will soon add a little realistic muck.

Pictureview
Four newsworthy pictures from Alan in Northampton. His information is annotated by fbb.

A new train actually running!
The first Great Northern Class 717s finally entered service on March 25, several months later than planned. The six-car dual-voltage electric multiple units will replace 43-year old Class 313s on services from Moorgate. They were originally due in traffic from in autumn 2018.

A surprise visitor to Leighton Buzzard
London Northwestern (formerly London Midland, formerly Silverlink) has a few class 319s in its fleet. They often work trains between Watford and st Albans Abbey and cover peak extra between Euston and Milton Keynes; but do not often stray into lands of danger north of the home of the concrete cows.

Alan snapped this example off-piste at Leighton Buzzard

London Northwestern Railway is owned by a consortium of Dutch State Railways (Abellio), JR Railway and Mitsui, both Japanese companies.

A station running a little late
Meridian Water was due to open with the new timetable when Angel Road was due to close. But it didn't happen.
fbb will be penning a further blog on Meridian\Water in due course but the station IS now open. (Did someone lose the keys?)

All change for the Goblin?
Passengers on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line have been suffering dire deprivations for many months. The electrification was completed but the new electric trains weren't. So why not just run the old diesels, you may ask?
That is because the bosses of our privatised railway companies, the Department For Transport DaFT), had given the diesels away to the West Midlands, as snapped by occasional correspondent Roger a few days ago.
A limited service was run using existing Overground stock when a spare set could be round round the back of the depot as per Alan's snap.
But thanks to a twitterer, we now have pictures of the first of the new trains, class 710, in operation.
Like the existing Overground fleet, they have longitudinal seating like a modern "tube" train.
They are a pain in the neck - literally - as you have to twist uncomfortably sideways if you want to see out. Good for capacity, but poor for enjoying the view. The information screens are full colour "proper" type computer screens ...
... so it won't be long before Overground starts selling advertising space on them! According to the twit writer, those on the first train(s) were given a shiny commemorative badge.
fbb wants one! No he doesn't really because he would lose it.

Overground is currently run by Deutsche Bahn (German State Railways) via their on-the-market subsidiary, Arriva.

This swish new four car stock will eventually appear on the Overgound routes from Liverpool Street and the Watford Electrics from Euston. Six five car units will be used to enhance services on the North- and West- London lines.

On 25 April 2018, the Islington Gazette reported that the trains would be introduced three months later than scheduled due to delays in their testing.

On 20 June 2018 the Barking & Dagenham Post reported that that the trains would be in service by November 2018, "almost 18 months later than planned".

In November 2018, TfL said that they hoped the units would be in service by December 2018, however, due to further technical problems experienced during unit testing, the units will not enter service until 2019.

In April 2019, the Office of Rail and Road approved for the use of the Class 710, with restrictions.

On 22 May 2019 TfL announced that approval had been gained for the Class 710s to enter passenger service. Two units entered service on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line on Thursday 23 May 2019, with service on the Watford DC Line and West Anglia Route expected to start later in 2019.

Why does nothing work properly out of the box?

And a P.S.
After receiving the pack of buffer stops, fbb was thumbing through a copy of Hornby Magazine and noticed something in the Hattons advert.
£9.50 plus £4 postage = £13.50. fbb paid £19.54

Snivel Caveat Grrr Emptor Weep!!

 Next Bank Holiday Bits blog : Monday 27th May