Tuesday, 3 October 2023

Very Handy Andy : Fine And Dandy (2)

Disintegrated Integration

Manchester Mega-Mayor Andy Burnham has made much of his desire to have an integrated transport system like that in London. But, as we shall see, London's "system" is very far from integrated.

Yesterday, we saw that National Rail was offering a fare of £6.70 for one stop on the Elizabeth Line line between Paddington and Bond Street (it has, fbb understands, stopped being called Burberry Street!). But this is the stalwart work of the National Rail web site.

Perhaps Transport for London will have a better offer. It certainly has a more complicated set of search results which give all sorts of baffling options if you are foolish enough to ask the wrong question.

There are certainly plenty of Paddingons to consider!
The obvious is a good start, however. Thanks to TfL's misplaced enthusiasm for covering every possible option in one over-complex journey planner, you can go by bike ot walk.
The bike is an integrated failure covering 0 kilometres in 0 minutes! Well done TfL.

But, unlike National Rail, TfL does not show fares on its journey planner - you just have to know by some magic of metal telepathy.

So you might choose the bus-only option.
You might also wonder why anyone would want a two-bus journey at double the fare (?) when one bus will get you there!
Before fbb explores his second set of integrated transport questions in London, illustrating how well integrated the system is in the Capital. he would like to work out where Bond Street station is and how you get there from Selfridges.
It's a massive slab pf a department store on Oxford Street. Bond Street station is just a bit further east but not too hard to find. Selfridge's is the block between Duke Street and Orchard Street.
In case you wondered, there is no Bond Street at Bond Street underground station. New Bond Street is a  block further east.

So, back to fbb's second set of questions based on a possible integrated journey from London Bridge Station to Kings Cross and/or St Pancras (International stations?).

Here is the TfL plus National Rail map.
There is the Underground Northern Line (BLACK) and Thameslink (DASHED CHERRY RED).

Thameslink is a National Rail service only recently allowed on to the standard Underground map itself.

Again, National Rail gives the fares.
And there is our old friend £6.70 via the Northern Line.

Of course we would expect the fare on Thameslink to be the same, not only the same as on the Northern Line, but also the same (£6.70, remember) as charged on the Elizabeth Line line.

But ...
... the Thameslink line fare is only £3.70. And yes, it is the same journey which costs £6.70 on the Northern Line, delightfully integrated.

But beware. Click on the "Fare info" link ...
... don't you DARE try to use your £3.70 Thameslink ticket on the Underground.

Integration? What integration?

What The National Rail Site Doesn't Tell ...
... is that no normal London citizen would ever pay £6.70 for an Underground ride. So why is that fare shown on the Journey Planner? It must be the integration at work.

Tomorrow, fbb will fill in the bus information between London Bridge and Kings Cross, or at least try to; and we will then have full details of the integrated system in London so prized by Manchester's Mayor Burnham.

How we all look forward to your London-style system in Manchester, Andy!!

Harvest Hymn - For Real.
There are some slight differences in words in the third verse compared with the quiz.

They don't write powerful simple hymns like this any more!

 Next Andy's Integrated blog : Wednesday 4th October 

Monday, 2 October 2023

Very Handy Andy : Fine And Dandy (1)

Or Is It?

Seems quite a big in-box?
Leaving aide the rather odd phrase "overland train services", we are encouraged that Mr Burnham wants to have a fully integrated transport system for Manchester. We may be slightly less encouraged that he wants to be as integrated as transport in London.
Maybe he has never used public transport in London?

So we begin this series of mini-blogs with two questions.

1. Who "owns" the Elizabeth Line line?

2, What is the fare from Paddington to Bond Street?

It is just one stop on the purple one, a journey of just THREE minutes..

It would appear that the Elizabeth Line line is part of National Rail because it appears on the National Rail journey planner. And, according to said web site, that journey will cost you £6.70 - repeat six pounds and seventy pence for one stop.

Of course, you could go all the way to Liverpool Street for your Zone 1 fare of £6.70.

But if you continued to Whitechapel, you would cross into Zone 2.
The grey shading bulges just enough to move you into the next zone.

But it appears that you can travel even further for your £6.70.

Even more exciting, you could go almost anywhere on the Underground for £6.70.

So here is the next integrated transport question for London.

3. What is the fare from London Bridge to Kings Cross? Will it, too, be £6.70?

4. And what if I travel by bus on London's integrated network.

These questions will be answered in tomorrow's blog!

Harvest Hymn Verse 3

WARNING : There are several versions of the words to verse 3. You will need to be guided by the pictures rather than relying on a hurriedly borrowed hymnbook!

 More from "Andy mini-blog" : Tuesday 3rd Oct 

Sunday, 1 October 2023

Sunday Variety

Let The Train Take The Grain!

Look very closely at this post WW2 picture of the Ben Nevis Distillery at Fort William. It was a visit taken on the fbb's recent holiday.. Now look even more closely to the right of the old car!
You might spot a railway track emenating from a wagon turntable. Here is the track where grain from Inverness was unloaded from railway wagons.
It is lorries that disgorge their malted marvel into the shiny hopper today! And just beyond are the remnants of the wagon turntable.
A detailed map also shows the tracks ...
And the siding off the Highland Railway main line can also be seem cartographically.
Of course, nothing comes and goes by train these days. The line of the track can still be spotted c/o Google Earth.
The taster was good, although fbb is not a spirits drinker, he could appreciate the richness of the flavour and the warmth of "the nip".
The Distillery is undergoing a rebrand at the moment, so sales were limited.
But, horror of horrors, Ben Nevis Distillery is now owned by a Japanese company.

Silly Signalbox for Simple Septuagenarian.
Hornby Playtrains is a range introduced to capture the imagination of younger potential model railway enthusiasts. The sets are pure toys with no real pretence at realism. But when some more accessories came out, fbb was intrigued.
The company claimed that the model was to OO scale (1:76) so, in theory at least, it could sit on fbb's Peterville Quarry layout. And at just over a fiver, it would not matter if it were a disaster, darling!
It would obviously need a full repaint! 

So fbb ordered one.

It arrived yesterday in "kit" form ...
... with instructions; and the box suggests assembly should be within the old man's capabilities.
Hmmm, time will tell!

The original Peterville signalbox ...
... is now looking very tired after years of outdoor location, so a possible replacement seemed a good idea - and for £6 ... cheap as chips!

Travel Essex
fbb doesn't DO Apps - he prefers to use his brain and look up a timetable. That way he has all the information handy if anything goes wrong with his journey plans.

Which, of course, it often does.

Sadly, Essex County Council no longer provides timetables. There are some excellent local maps, assuming that they are kept up to date.

The county does, however, have a nice line in semi-literate posters.
Arrive TO the bus?

Harvest 2
Verse two of the evergreen harvest hymn.
And some really helpful picture clues.
Easy, innit! One more verse tomorrow.

Coming Up! "Just Like London"; Andy's Aspirations!

It may be necessary to post a run of mini-blogs to cover the Fellowship meetings' preparation and delivery. The old bloke is only slowly recovering from his "Present From Scotland", viz a very nasty head and chest cold.
Good advice for dealing with a heavy cold. If you take lots of pills and potions it will clear up in a fortnight. If you do absolutely nothing it will be gone in 14 days!

The 14 days are up on Tuesday!

Saturday, 30 September 2023

Saturday Variety

 On The Bright Side

fbb can remember several articles in the Railway Press that painted a sorrowful picture of train travel in the USA. The thrust of these articles was that everybody flies everywhere or drives a huge gas-guzzling car! 

Over the past ew years, fbb has been following the development of Brightline, which lays claim to being the first privately owned USA railway operation for over 100 years.
The service began by linking West Palm Beach with Miami on the east coast of Florida. Here is the southern terminus at Miami Central.
Everything about this line is new including some very spectacular stations. 

This year the line has bern extended from West Palm Beach to Orlando with a station adjacent to the new Terminal C at the airport.
Again it is spectacular ...
But the station is dwarfed into insignificance ...
... by the airport as a whole!
Somewhere to the south of the terminus, Brightline have been able to squeeze in a depot.
There is an on-line video of the first trial train to run from depot to terminus. It looks equally impressive!
... as was the razzmatazz for the opening of Orlando station.
Yep, it looks real good!
The lounges (waiting rooms in old-speak) are lush ...
... and you can book an add-on minibus for that extra mile from station to hotel.
Currently, trains run every hour ...
... taking something over three hours for the full length of the line.

The map (above) shows that the next target is Tampa.

And a promotional video:-
How is it going with High Speed 2, Rishi?

When Trains Were Trains And Men Were Men!
Back then we were not too concerned about greenhouse gases. The locos were oil-fired.

Naff Network?
This weekend's booby prize must go to Stagecoach on Skye with its superbly helpful network map.

Stirling Uni - A P.S.
Some detail from the branding of this service, a brand which will be appearing on the buses soon.
Travel is FREE if you have your Union Card with you. If not, you are "toast".

Scottish Holiday - A P.S.
What is (was?) going on here ...
... and here?
Maybe involving one of these?
Answer tomorrow.

Fellowship Meetings - Harvest
Tomorrow and Monday our duplicate meetings involve some Harvest Festival stuff. Here is part One of a quiz (fairly simple) to identify the missing words from a well known hymn.
Some pictures that might help?
Another verse tomorrow!

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 1st October