Monday, 27 July 2020

Monday Mixed Bag

Tram Timetable Travesty?
The next phase of the seemingly eternal rail replacement project for Sheffield's tram network came into force on Saturday 25th. For the next month, no "blue" trams will run between Sheffield station and Halfway ...
... with the "purple" route remaining suspended since the start of the previous phase. In a ridiculous lack of financial common sense perpetrated by Stagecoach, The Government and South Yorkshire PTE, the tram people ate NOT running a replacement bus service. (We ain't got enough cash!).

So the PTE has tendered a replacement service using some money it hasn't got.
But as it isn't anything to do with Supertram, publicity is in the hands of the PTE. And because it is nothing to do with Supertram, publicity cannot be posted in the appropriate Supertram timetable frames. So we have the appalling bits of yellow paper wrapped up in thing plastic folders and tied on with bits of string.
thanks to the consummate skill of the PTE, at least six of the stops at or near Sheffield Centre are showing the times FROM Halfway TO the centre.
There were no timetables for journeys from Sheffield! Maybe somebody will get them changed. Oh dear, that means a another separate contract for removal and replacement!


Splendid Shelter Souvenir
There are two former tram shelters still standing in Northampton. One is at the Cock Hotel (A508, north of the town centre) ...
... and the other on the Kettering Road by the White Elephant pub.
Now you can own one yourself! Northampton firm "Fridge Street" have produce this:-
Previously featured in these columns are two magnetic preserved buses ...
... and no previously recorded, the hallowed front door of Northampton Grammar School which educated fbb for wight stimulating years.
No normal human beings were ever allowed through these portals, only Royalty, Senior Aristocracy and the Headmaster. The words "abandon hope all ye who enter here" were not chiseled into the fabric of the building but were well understood by the sniveling creatures who went there, ostensibly, to learn.

Wessex From First ...
... is, apparently, the latest "brand" from First Bus Wessex, Dorset and South Somerset - not a name that trips easily off the tongue off a potential passenger. The web site has this as a header ...
... but still highlights the memorable mouthful further down the page. The latest edition of the  Hampshire, Dorset and Berkshire "Insider" has flopped into fbb's inbox.
It highlights the growing battle between mask wearers and non mask wearers and the unwillingness of the police to become involved.

Basically, nobody wants to know; but some uneducated passengers are becoming aggressive towards those not dressed like a gangster. Boss Marc Reddy writes:-

I have written to Dorset Police, Hampshire Police and Thames Valley Police to ask them to support us and to provide some occasional high visibility enforcement. Dorset Police have advised they will assist if they have local resource capacity. Hampshire Police have advised us that if there is an issue on the bus as a result of a non-exempt customer refusing to wear a face covering then we should call 999 and ask for police assistance, and Thames Valley Police have not yet responded to my letter. Overall this is quite a disappointing response.

If only people realised how relatively useless a cloth mask is ...

But, yet again, political fear for the economy is the deciding factor, not the limited effectiveness of face covering. Remember viruses (viri?) can and will go through cloth and round corners.

fbb favours Martin Luther's advice in a previous epidemic, "Wash your hands and pray!"

Less contentiously, the bulletin is thrilled with Roger French's effusive blog about the Travel Shop at The Hard Interchange (Portsmouth).
Of course, that is Hampshire Bus. But the bulletin goes on to praise a place back in Wessex-land, where there is no Travel Centre, but where it would be easy to provide one.
First has a really lovely shop, sited just opposite the railway station and thus ideal for promoting their "brands". But all it has is a window. It is good to hear about new leaflets for 501/2/3 ...
...and they look very smart.

Erm, where can you obtain them?

Perhaps there is a lavish display in the station? Maybe not - the trains are run by a completely different company (?) and relationships are far too complex to allow for comprehensive bus publicity. There was none when fbb last visited.
Another positive (also in Hampshre) is gleaned from a Twitter from Peter Shelley.
When did the new buses start running?
They were "launched" towards the end of January 2020.

Rapid route equipment renewal - or not! An opportunity missed.

More Fear Factor!
Once you have bravely boarded your bus, in mask and socially distanced, having first assured yourself that all is "safe" and your journey is really necessary you need be in no doubt as to the potential dangers that lurk aboard.

Stagecoach in Northampton has plastered its stops with notices of terror ...
... often obscuring what you wanted to know, namely when the bus might be leaving! But when you do step aboard and buy your ticket - even your free ticket - you become the subject of more threats.
As correspondent Alan points out in an email entitled "We are all Doomed", Northampton is on the current list of places at risk of doing a Leicester; at risk of a second spike.
VERY nasty.

But Boris has, effectively, ended fbb's worries. As an obese elderly person he is a dead cert for the hot oven treatment at Whimple ...
... if as much as one minuscule Covid virus gets up his nose, down his throat or via his eye sockets.
No. not good enough. Stay safe and off to Tesco?

Running Late : Running Early?
fbb is grateful to Fran, a Church chum, who hand delivered his birthday card on Saturday 25th. Thanks, Fran, for the king thoughts and best wishes.

Sadly, it is five months late - or, happily, it is seven months early.
The loco carries the number 54632 and is hauling British Railways stock of an ill-defined type. Did pusuch a loco exist? fbb thinks not, but defers to the possible expertise of his hundreds of blog readers.

It looks a bit "Jinty"-like but with its typically low-slung smokebox number plate.

Puzzle Picture 1
Planning permission has been granted for the buildings which will sit on top of the ventilation shafts to be built as part of the Chiltern Tunnel on HS2.
It is a bit more than just a barn clone ...
... with a pig sty clone round the back. This structure sits above a shaft for both ventilation and escape.

Puzzle Picture 2
About 24 hours after the decision to replace the collapses keyboard, the hinge on the screen fell to bits. It seems that the metal hing has seized solid and no longer rotates. Thus the plastic screen frame ripped itself off the hings with the loss of a few small plidgets of plastic and the obligatory black screw.

Temporary repair has been effected by copious gaffer tape and one of Mrs fbb's universally useful clothes pegs.
This typical fbb bodge will, hopefully, prevent terminal damage to the cable ribbon that links the important bit of the laptop with the screen itself.

It does mean the machine cannot easily be closed, but, heyho, it works until fbb can sort out a better fix.

Stagecoach New Livery
The pallid white plus pallid blue and weak yellow has, generally, gone down badly with most bus watchers. Alan wondered whether something like this ...
... might be better looking.

The bus appeared on his local Northampton route a couple of days ago. with a subtle change of red, it could evoke the much respected Nortrhampton Corporation Transport livery of old ...
The Stagecoach bus comes from its Leamington Spa depot. The vehicles were so liveried for the University Bus services.
Replace "Unibus" with "Northampton" and you would have something for the town to be proud of.

 Next Electric Power blog : Tuesday 28th July 


  1. I think replacing the clothes peg with a nice black bulldog clip would be a worthwhile laptop upgrade.

  2. Hello everyone, Are you into trading or just wish to give it a try, please becareful on the platform you choose to invest on and the manager you choose to manage your account because that’s where failure starts from be wise. After reading so much comment i had to give trading tips a try, I have to come to the conclusion that binary options pays massively but the masses has refused to show us the right way to earn That’s why I have to give trading tips the accolades because they have been so helpful to traders . For a free masterclass strategy kindly contact ( for a free masterclass strategy. He'll give you a free tutors on how you can earn and recover your losses in trading for free..