Friday, 14 February 2020

Bus Archive Begets Beal's Book?

The Bus Archive?
The archive is home to more than...

1 million documents, timetables and other records 1 million images of buses, coaches trolleybuses and trams 8,000 books and other publications

The online archive is still being populated, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for using this search, consider contacting us or visiting us in person.

The Archive brings together material stored in three sites with London at Acton.
Company records etc are at Droitwich ...
... and timetables, publicity etc at Walsall.
Alan Mills was a long term Omnibus Society officer and he died in 2017 after a short illness aged approx 86.
fbb has a tenuous connection with the Walsall site in that his long-time chum and former brother-in-law John used to trot over to Walsall every Wednesday to help with sorting and cataloguing the vast accumulation of "stuff".

The bus archive web site allows a search to find out what is available and where.
Because of John's involvement, fbb is aware that some leaflets from his Westbrook Travel open top service 88 route on the Isle of Wight are stored in a folder, so he searched as advised.

The caveats are important as "Westbrook Travel Ltd" was unsuccessful ...
... but a plain Westbrook Travel gave the expected result.

That is all you get at the moment, but it is all a work in progress and the Archive teams fully intend to enhance the on-line search with more detail; but fbb guesses it will be some time before thay have all the documents themselves scanned in!

But the Edward Beal book had been part of a box of good things donated to the archive, and correspondent Julian though that el chubbo would be interested.

As indeed he is!
The first big surprise on opening the pages of this ancient volume is that Mr Beal is writing about 2-rail OO gauge modelling.
Both Trix and Hornby Dublo were both starting up again after the War and the "average enthusiast" had no aspirations to ditch the centre rail!
One pargraph from the above post-War advert says it all!
Note the "dig" at Trix, then powered by AC current with an unreliable and unpredictable reversing mechanism!

Beal refers to several track manufacturers (including Peco who were starting production of their spiked fibre-sleeper based track). Others were available!
One of the auction firms has recently sold a track kit from Midlin.
But this is no experimental system; the book deals with the challenge of 2-rail wiring including the complications of a reversing loop ...
... complete with the essential but dreaded DPDT switch. fbb will not bore his readers with the problem but it needs some knowledge and understanding to get it to work! And there it was, published in 1947 but written in the closing days of WW2.

Mention is also made of the B R M S B.
This group was set up to establish and promote common standards for all modellers in the smaller scales (that was O and OO; TT and N had not been invented!).

Whilst "real" modellers set about adopting these well prescribed dimensions, the two main manufacturers resiliently ignored them.
There was a huge gulf between the minority (serious modellers) and the vast majority of "toy train" owners.

Does the B R M S B still exist? Maybe, having established the standards, the Bureau's work was done.
This booklet was published by the E M gauge society in 1973. (E M - 18mm track gauge as opposed to the "narrow" 16.5mm of standard OO).

But in 1947 there was a great deal more to Railway Modelling than choosing between Bachmann, Hornby or Dapol!

Puzzle Picture
It is very simple really. fbb has bought a bag of pine trees to augment to afforestation on the new tunnel top on his outdoor layout.
These model trees are 100% plastic and impervious to weather. Having removed the label to check the contents, fbb parked the open bag under the dining room table - as you do.

Some of the smaller trees escaped and stuck to the un shod besocked tootsies of the old man.
They stuck just like those burrs you pick up when wading through undergrowth on happy summer country rambles.
Natural Velcro, of course.

 Next Weekend Mixture blog : Saturday 15th February 


  1. As the Bus Archive probably has around half a million timetables you'll be waiting a long time for a scan! We are always open to welcome visitors at the times staed on the website, or if you want something specific (and not too large and time-consuming!) photocopies should be possible at a reasonable price.