Saturday, 20 July 2019

Goodbye to Guildford

fbb had travelled via the University and Stagecoach route 1 to the Surrey County Hospital to observe the "Tripartite" competition between the three operators. He sat on the wall ...
... and watched the world go by. There are two stops outside the hospital's main entrance, labelled, with great originality, H1 and H2.
H1 was the stop for buses to Guildford town centre; the Friary Bus Station ...
 ... 1 via the University, Arriva A direct (to the hospital and back) ...
... and Safeguard 4 direct.
 Stop H1 is for buses going out of town ...
... viz Stagecoach 1 to Stoughton ...
... and Safeguard 5 via Park Barn, Southway and Aldershot Road ...
... but to the Town Centre the long way round!
Running times offer a clearer explanation.
Bearing all this in mind, what were fbb's observations in terms of passenger loadings for each operator? The survey was very unscientific, but for buses into town, Arriva A left almost empty every time; Stagecoach 1s through from Stoughton has passengers but picked up nobody (long way round) and, of course, there were no Uni Students.

Safeguard's 4, having come via the Park Barn estate would arrive with passengers and, generally picked up the few extras that were leaving the hospital.

Before departing, fbb popped into the hospital for the usual reason and gazed around, hoping to see racks of leaflets for all three operators. But there was only one!
Safeguard deserves to survive the war!

After a reasonable time to get the feel of things, fbb returned to the town centre of Safeguard's 5 (remember, the long way round). This had a useful load (about 12) for Park Barn etc and picked up 3 plus fbb at the hospital.

It followed an Arriva B round the estate ...
... on the competitive service which brought the agreement with the blue bus boys to an abrupt end. Safeguard was the winner with only three souls alighting from Arriva at the bus station. 7 alighted from Safeguard - possibly not a profitable load but the better of the two.


This competition is just plain silly! None of the companies can be making any meaningful profit but Safeguard may be just hanging on. The fares situation is even more potty and fbb will add a couple of snippets to tomorrow's posting.

For the time being, a few other bits and pieces.

Signalbox Saved
Chorleywood station (Metropolitan Line etc.) ...
... has not changed a lot since steam days.
Even the signalbox at the end of the platform had survived ...
... but in a decaying state.

But Transport for London has a heart (somewhere?) and has restored the box and made it available for community use (information thanks to an on-line Twitterer).
Three rousing cheers for TfL!

Pacer Prohibition Postponement
Contrary to the general view, fbb LIKES Pacers, particularly those which retained their bus seats.
The view was excellent! Later more comfy versions were not too bad ...
... but these horrors (see also refurbished HSTs and class 800s) restrict the view significantly.
At least the worst you can get is a narrow pillar, not the blank wall of some seats on today's "better" trains. Of course the ride is less than smooth but that is past of the fun!

But even fbb has to admit that the ambiance of a Pacer is not the best way to attract (and keep) passengers. So, we have been told that they will all be gone by the end of 2020.

Oh yes they will!

Oh no they won't!
It appears that, thanks to on-going delays in the delivery of their replacements, many (some, a few?) will be needed beyond the deadline.

But surely Pacers will be illegal after the end of 2020?

Yes it will, but train operators can apply to DaFT for an emergency extension.

In Gilbert and Sullivan's "Iolanthe", a sentence of death is passed on any fairy that marries a mortal. So many have wedded peers of the realm that the Queen of the Fairies is distraught at the number of executions that will be needed.

The Lord Chancellor suggest a change of the law by adding one short and simple word.

"every fairy shall die who does marry a mortal."


"every fairy shall die who does not marry a mortal."

Hence, Pacers will NOT be illegal after the end of 2020.

Reductions On The Increase
fbb has, before, reported that the firm Rails of Sheffield is offering many expensive model railway locomotives at substantial discounts. Whether they have bought too many or have done deals to clear our manufacturers remaining stocks is not known.

But there are bargains to be had.
The Corries (or Prinnies, or Duchesses) were the top beasts of the London Midland and Scottish Railway. Rails were offering 46225 ...
at a massive discount (£65 off!). Still mighty expensive, but at least you could tell your wife about the saving first!
Of course, folk who are decrepit as fbb will remember  that Duchess of Montrose was the first BIG engine produced by Hornby Dublo post war. It, too was a magnificent beast and VERY expensive!
You could buy it in a set with an "oval" of track (3-rail, of course) and two coaches.
In the very early days the coaches had windows printed on the side ...
... no "glass"; but any kid was envious of his chums if they had one!

Sadly (actually, sensibly) fbb could not buy one because it would look totally unrealistic on his little branch-line layout - just as unrealistic as the train set did back them. but back then we didn't care!

 Next Mixture (plus Guildford fares) : Sunday 21st July 


  1. When you say H1, I think you mean H2 !

  2. "Later more comfy versions were not too bad" - in my opinion, very far from comfy, these Merseyrail refurbs were/are the most uncomfortable seats in any train I have travelled on. Always dread seeing on of those on the Hope Valley line - but thankfully that is mostly served by 150's, the earliest sprinters