Saturday, 4 July 2020

Famous For Visitors Since 1066 (2)

Today is fbb's 3,500th published blog.

The specially built narrow width Hastings diesel electric units appeared in blue and grey livery ...
... and some of the six-car sets had a buffet.
They was very posh and shiny ...
... and had the first ever BR powered doors through to the next carriage.
The buffet cars were later removed.

There are also narrow class 33 diesels to handle freight trains.
But in an impassioned desire to get rid of stock which contained asbestos and in response to the growing cost of maintaining a small dedicated fleet of non-standard passenger trains, BR took the decision to electrify the Hastings line with the aim of using the standard British Railways electric trains of the day.

To paraphrase Scooby Doo, they'd have gotten away with it easily if it hadn't been for those pesky kids tunnels!

Various engineering solutions were adopted to overcome the problem. Tunnels were single-tracked, speed limits were applied to stop the trains swaying into the side and one tunnel had lower-height slab track installed. In the end the route was passed as C1 loading gauge, i.e. normal.

Enter the Jaffa cakes!
Dark on the top, light on the bottom and with a strip of orange through the middle; thus the trains for the Hastings line got their nickname.
For a while they even carried a special brand name ...
... despite the growing proliferation of the Network SouthEast paint job! The timetable was improved and there were special fares offers.
But this move pushed this line into railway normality, continued with the arrival of the Networkers.

Will the "old" SouthWest Trains Windsor lines class 707 stock begin to appear on the Hastings run ...
... now that First's South Western Railway has decided to throw them away?

And so, we return to those withdrawn narrow-bodied buffet cars.

What I need, pronounced the general manager of the southern region, is a nice inspection saloon; so that I can tour my realm and, well, inspect it. It would be a jackpot idea to turn one of those surplus buffets into a posh single car manager's state coach.

And so they did.
And you could, originally, drive whatever was pushing it, as a cab was installed at the front end.
It/She/He (possibly not "he") was named Caroline.

Hence "Sweet Caroline", hence Neil Diamond. His song doesn't really offer itself as a possible parody although the chorus is nice.
The saloon has had various owners since the demise of British Railways - but now comes the news from Revolution Trains that it is going to make a model of Sweet Caroline.
And if you, as Fred Pontin was wont to say, "Book Early" you can have one for the bargain price of only £135. (only??????). Full price will be £149.

If you are one of the first to buy, you will be entered in a prize draw to be a passenger in Caroline for a spiffing rail tour ...
... with refreshments, as yet unspecified.

That price is for an unpowered coach, and it is the same price as a typical powered locomotive!

Or you could buy a MARC Models metal kit for £75 ...
... adding sweet little plastic chairs and tables.
OR you could buy one assembled and painted ...
... for £275.

fbb will not be investing in his own model for the MD of the Peterville Quarry Railway. He (the OO scale manager, that is) can take a ride in Henrietta propelled at a gentle pace by Toby the Tram Engine.
In any case, the manager has a bigger nut to crack.

The Three-Way Dilemma
Long term blog readers may remember that fbb installed a three-way point at the throat to Peterville Quarry station, replacing a normal turnout.
Such devices are used on model railways, as on the big railway ...
... to save space and squeeze in an extra siding.
fbb's point was installed four years ago; but two years later it had failed. Look closely and you will see as little wire almost hidden between two small chunks of moulded plastic, there in the middle between the point blades.
That is an "over-centre" spring which keeps the moving point blades tight against the fixed stock rails.

The spring for the left hand turn had dissolved away completely whilst that for the right hand turn was still strong and working well.

Assuming that it was he who had "done something wrong" fbb replaced the three-way-point, spending another £30.

Then two years later, i.e. last Wednesday, the old man was attempting to clean track and he saw that the replacement point had broken in exactly the same way, i.e. the left turn over-centre spring had rotted but that for the right turn was good and functioning well.

Co-incidence or design fault?

Both sets of points have gone off the Peco at Beer for their comments. Probably they will tactfully tell fbb that three-way points are too delicate to be used outside. That would be understandable if  BOTH over-centre springs had rotted - but only one, and the same one on each set?

But fbb has something else to challenge his ever inventive mind ...
Is Peterville about to get an airfield?

You will have to wait and see.

 Next Weekend Variety blog : Sunday 5th July 


  1. Looks like a comment about FBB slagging off TSY wasn't worthy of a mere reposte on Thursday, but an extra bit of response on Friday.

    In response, fbb might consider that rather than believing that someone might be an apologist for TSY and the failings of the local operators, the thrust might actually be something rather different

    It is more a reflection that it is a subject (i.e. current day South Yorkshire operations) that fbb returns to with some frequency. A less than quick check shows that in the first 3 months of 2020, in-depth articles (rather than mere off hand comments etc) appeared 18 times. I've not studied the next 3 months - I gave up at March!

    fbb has fundamentally failed to understand the criticism. Not that the complaints about TSY are wrong; we know much of it IS justified. That isn't what is being said. It's the frequency of the posts criticising them.

    For a gentleman so keen to highlight the faults of others, it seems similar criticism of the composition of the blog is simply not tolerable.

    1. I think the obvious riposte is his blog, his rules - jog on if you don't like what is written.

      For what it's worth I completely agree with you - clearly TSY has many failings, but FBB has probably milked them to death. At what point does this blog become the ramblings of an obsessive shouting into an empty room?

      It used to be Traveline who raised the ire of our corpulent host - presumably because they were chosen over his own Xephos offering to provide the national journey planner. Similarly TSY will seemingly never be forgiven for not taking FBBs maps - never scorn our weighty host, he will never forget!

      Maybe FBB might like to revisit some earlier blog postings to remember the range of subjects that used to be covered.

      But, as I must remind myself, his blog his rules.

  2. Congratulations FBB on 3,500 blog posts!

    However, if we accept that
    a) you don't like Travel South Yorkshire
    b) you think model railways are too expensive
    how many posts does that leave?

    Of course, your blog, your rules but it is rather rich criticising "anomini", who whilst wishing to contribute also feel the need to remain so as their jobs are at stake, when you yourself hide your identity.

    Anyway, well done on reaching 3,500 posts, but for the next 3,500 maybe less will be more.

  3. If you don't like it don't read it. I would also say your defenses of the awful TSY are as bad if not worse. TSY are embarrassingly poor and he is right to criticise. Buses of Sheffield is an absolute joke and needs to be called out so other idiot councils don't think copying it is a good idea. Travelknd is ok but compared to apps around the world it is cumbersome and generally poor. Certainly not something to be proud of.