Surely he cannot be so unkind to the lovely HSTs?
Recently Mrs fbb caught a new train from Exeter St Davids to Totnes. When quizzed by your blogger, eager for impressions, she reported "It's a train, innit - with hard seats."
... but clearly opinions are, as usual, varied.
After all the traumas, the plans are bin hand to ramp up the services into something like the full timetable starting with the December change.
The recently announced schedule looks like this, cycling every off-peak hour. fbb has not listed ALL stops to save space.
XX00 Reading - Swindon - Bristol Temple Meads
XX03 Reading - Exeter - Plymouth (some to Penzance)
XX07 Reading - Newbury - Bedwyn
XX15 Bristol Parkway - Bristol Temple Meads fast
XX18 Reading - Bristol Parkway - Cardiff
XX20 Rading - Oxford
XX30 Reading - Swindon - Bristol Temple Meads
XX33 Reading - Swindon - Cheltenham Spa
XX37 Reading - Newbury - Exeter OR
Reading - Newbury**
XX45 Bristol Parkway - Bristol Temple Meads fast
XX48 Reading - Bristol Parkway - Cardiff - Swansea
XX50 Reading - Oxford - North Cotswolds
When the XX37 is a "Newbury only" it will be worked by a class 387, not an 800.
By far the majority of these trains will have more seats than anything that runs at the moment so for many passengers there is a "double bonus".
The current edition of Modern Railways has also provided a simple diagram explaining the pattern of service to Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance.
DARK GREEN : London Plymouth every hour
evey TWO hours forward to Penzance
LIGHT GREEN : three trains every two hours Plymouth to Penzance
occasionally extended to Exeter
RED : TWO hourly London Exeter via Newbury
This will give the much desired two trains every hour (roughly) between Plymouth and Penzance. The LIGHT GREENs will be a mixture of "Castles" short HSTs ...
... and "better quality" diesels units.
The considered opinion of the many is that, despite the delays, the cost overruns and the years of hassle, it will all be worth it!
There will be mixed opinions on that topic, for sure, but it all looks very impressive.
And Help Required, Please
One of the first things that fbb did when he started at Sheffield University, was to pop into the Sheffield Transport Offices on Division Street and purchase an official fleet list. Several happy hours were spend perusing this whilst seated on a bench outside the Cathedral.
It is still there - the Cathedral obviously, but also the bench ...
... although it is further back from the road. fbb's bench was here ...
... roughly where the man in the white shirt is. But no matter. In amongst the Atlanteans, a marque new to fbb, brought up of Lodekkas and FLFs, was one bodied by Mann Egerton.
This picture of a bus on route 42 popped up in an on-line search but fbb has never been able to find it again (hence the poor quality)!
fbb thinks this is the unique Mann Egerton vehicle. It was memorable for having a full rear end destination blind set (only the number was ever shown) and strange half-circle knobbles at the base of the windscreen to hold the wiper mechanism.
A diligent search on-line only reveals a standard rear platform decker claiming a Mann Egerton body - which your author does NOT remember.
Is fbb's memory failing or not?
Weekend variety follows tomorrow.