Tuesday 31 December 2013

Post Festive Snippets [6]

   Some of fbb's old, decayed slides:   

 A selection will be presented in the   
 form of a post-festive quiz.           
 Answers and other information will be  
 posted on the following day's blog     

           yesterday's answer           
Yep, you're right. Brussels, Brussel (Flemish), Bruxelles (French). fbb applied the electrodes to his head, powered up the battery charger and managed to remember (guess correctly?) where his picture was taken. It was near the Palais de Justice at the junction with Boulevard de Waterloo and Avenue Louise (unlabelled on the map, but bottom right.)
Then, it was a major crossroads for road traffic and trams (see wiring, middle right in top photo. There are no crossing wires there today:-
fbb has visited Brussels on four occasions; dates being rough and not recorded. 1960 on holiday with Auntie; 1962 to stay with friends and learn a bit of real French and 1966 ditto but B&B based. 

In the early sixties there were plenty of these around ...
... with a fare collecting person sitting at a little desk at the back and issuing narrow paper tickets. He would also hand punch your multi-journey ticket.
By 1966, trams were modernised and some lightly used routes were one man operated. In the top picture there is a red blob attached  to the front of the tram; that says "1 mann"!
In the mid sixties (?) it was announced that all trams would be withdrawn from city centre streets (as in pic above courtesy Northampton correspondent). There was uproar! In fact, routes within the heart-shaped historic city were moved underground ...
... but with infrastructure built to accommodate future "Metro" routes.

By the fbb's visit in 2000 (?), the north south axis was as shown above; pre-metro stations and "normal" trams whilst the east west route was a "proper" metro service.
And development continues.
click on the map to enlarge

There are now four "Underground" Metro lines. The original east west route (much extended) comprises lines 1 and 5; lines 2 and 6 provide a sort-of non-circling inner circle route (also extended into the suburbs); buried, as at the junction shown in fbb's 1966 picture at the top of this blog.

Upgraded tram lines 3 and 4 take up the north south axis and route 7 is a sort of part outer circle.
These services are mostly equipped with mega-trams and have large sections of reserved track and underground bits at busy junctions.
A lot has happened in 50 years!

Former Brussels trams have been exported and continued to give good service. Like the vehicle in the fbb photo at the top of this blog, here is a short car running, still in Brussels livery, in Buenos Aires.

         today's puzzle picture         
What and where is this yellow machine?
 fbb's Christmas Calendar for 2013 
Tuesday 31st December
Whilst our celebration of Christmas fizzles out with the un-decoration for Twelfth Night ...

At the beginning of the Twelfth Night festival, a cake that contained a bean was eaten. The person who found the bean would rule the feast. Midnight signaled the end of his rule and the world would return to normal. The common theme was that the normal order of things was reversed. This Lord of Misrule tradition dates back to pre-Christian European festivals such as the Celtic festival of Samhain and the Ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia.

... the Gift of Christ-mas (i.e. The Christ, The Messiah, God's chosen servant who suffered for the sins off the people) continues into eternity via the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.
But that's another story!

There was a minor kerfuffle c/o Auntie BBC, hidden well down the festive and meteorological news. The guest editor of "Today" had invited an atheist Reverend (surely a contradiction in terms!) to present "Thought for the Day"; but the Beeb demoted him from the usual God slot to one an hour earlier.

In his broadcast piece his Irreverence stated, "I do not believe that there is an omnipotent other who will intervene to save us from our own worst impulses. Whilst I don't literally believe the stories underlying Christmas, I do believe in its most important message."

Hang on a bit! Faith is  personal thing, between man and God (or not, as the case may be); but ...

"I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. This very day in David's town your Saviour was born, Christ the Lord! And this is what will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

... What is the important message of Christ-mas?
 Next Bus blog : Wednesday 1st January 2014 

Monday 30 December 2013

Post Festive Snippets [5]

   Some of fbb's old, decayed slides:   

 A selection will be presented in the   
 form of a post-festive quiz.           
 Answers and other information will be  
 posted on the following day's blog     

           yesterday's answer           
Whilst readers may recognise this vehicle as formerly carrying the name "Samuel Ledgard", they may not know that the company was, latterly, called "The Executors of Samuel Ledgard Ltd"

At the age of 77, Samuel passed away suddenly on the 4th April 1952. For a while there was uncertainty whether the Company would survive or not, due to heavy death duties. The company was personally owned by the boss! However, the executors and trustees of his will made it clear that their intention was to continue the Company under the present management, although because of Samuel Ledgard's great reluctance to commit anything to paper it took some time before the Company's finances were sorted out. In May 1952 the various transport interests were re-formed by the executors; the main Company being renamed "The Executors of Samuel Ledgard Ltd."

The livery was a very smart blue, seen here on 1949 U ...
... in the form of a Corgi model and on full-sized sister vehicle 1952 U.
At its peak, the company had about 100 vehicles in the fleet, of which just a dozen were taken over by West Yorkshire.

By the end of 1966, however, rumour was rife that succesor Tom Ledgard was planning to sell out to West Yorkshire Road Car Co. Ltd. Sadly, the rumours proved to be true and, although the agreement to sell the Company had been made in June 1967, it was not until August 1967 that the announcement came. Following the transfer of licences to West Yorkshire, Ledgard's officially ceased to exist at midnight on Saturday 14th October 1967 and thus ended the reign of one of Yorkshire's best loved and most sadly missed independent operators.

Spookily, the bus photographed by fbb has a link to the start of the company in 1912. 1949 U is the reverse of the registration number carried by the very first bus the company operated.
Such is the affection in which this company was held that still, after 46 years on non-existence, re-unions are held, the last being in October 2013.
Aah, happy memories! And "our Sam" didn't just run buses.

He was landlord of "The Nelson" on Armley Road ...
... which is now the Jaipur Indian Restaurant.

Goodness gracious me!

         today's puzzle picture         
            answer tomorrow             
 fbb's Christmas Calendar for 2013 
Monday 30th December
 The VIP who came to see Jesus was Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin

The Great Sanhedrin was made up of a Chief/Prince/Leader called Nasi (at some times this position may have been held by the Kohen Gadol or the High Priest), a vice chief justice (Av Beit Din), and sixty-nine general members. In the Second Temple period, the Great Sanhedrin met in the Hall of Hewn Stones in the Temple in Jerusalem. The court convened every day except festivals and Shabbat (Sabbath).
As time went by, the Sanhedrin became increasingly angered by the revolutionary work of Jesus and, ultimately, sought to have him executed.  It is not surprising that Nicodemus came to see Jesus by night.

Jesus said, “I am telling you the truth: no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born again.”

“How can a grown man be born again?” Nicodemus asked. “He certainly cannot enter his mother's womb and be born a second time!”

“I am telling you the truth,” replied Jesus, “that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. A person is born physically of human parents, but is born spiritually of the Spirit. Do not be surprised because I tell you that you must all be born again."

So Christmas is not just about the birth of a baby but, ultimately, about an indivdual's rebirth or totally fresh start in order to become a member of God's Kingdom. If we really want the "Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all Men" that is carolled as the half-truth of the festive season ...
... we need that fresh start of forgiveness and commitment; not just once but everyday.
One thing is certain; for us, as for Nicodemus, it isn't a soft option!

As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.
 Next tram blog : Tuesday 31st December 

Sunday 29 December 2013

Post Festive Snippets [4]

 to provide a break from the rigours of 
 daily blogging, fbb will be looking at 
 some of his old, decayed colour slides.
 The selection will be presented in the 
 form of a post-festive quiz.           
 Answers and other information will be  
 posted on the following day's blog     

  the Trent bus in Northampton, a P.S.  
Our Northampton correspondent has delved into his extensive archives and exhumes the following delights. These relate to joint services 300 and 301 introduced for the opening of the Weston Favell Shopping centre in 1973. See "Post Festive Snippets [3]" (read again).

First, here is an extract from the Corporation timetable book dated April 8th 1973 ...
... and a later United Counties version with an increased frequency.
Roger Warwick writes in his extensive history of United Counties (Episode 9),

"The next company to step into the breach with the supply of hired vehicles was the Trent Motor Traction Co ltd. of Derby who provided a series of Leyland Tiger Cubs carrying Alexander forty-one seat dual purpose bodywork. A total of ten different buses were on loan at various times between 10th February and 10th June 1973" 

           yesterday's answer           
The tower (lower right) is the clue; and here it is again.
It is the control tower at Tinsley marshalling yard, Sheffield.

Tinsley opened in 1965 and was to be a "Network Yard": a major railfreight node where wagon-load freight trains would arrive, be split and resorted into new trains for onward departure to other Network yards, directly to the many rail-connected businesses in the area in "trip" freights, or to the Freight Terminal for unloading and forwarding by road. To assist with this, it featured power-assisted shunting and a new computerised system of wagon control.

The clever bit of Tinsley is pictured here.
Having had their details fed into a "computer" (by hand then, bar codes were for the future!) the wagons were propelled over a small hump and switched into various sidings to make up outgoing trains. The speed was regulated by hundreds of little hydraulic ram thingeys which could push or retard the wheels as the wagons moved to their correct location, with pointwork changing automatically.

The yard even had its own special shunting locomotives; being two conventional 0-6-0 diesels joined together with bits of meccano and sticky-backed plastic.
fbb (then much less f!) was privileged to join an Institute of Transport visit to watch it all happen. It was very impressive. What was most entertaining for the visitor (but not for those living in earshot!) was the incessant plinkety-plink as the wagons  made their way along the track, making pinging contact with the little rams.

But it was a technology too late!
Wagon load freight was becoming uneconomic and the yard closed in stages from 1985, less than 20 years after opening. It was also the site of Tinsley Traction Maintenance Depot, which was closed in 1998. At its peak, 200 locomotives were allocated to this depot.

A bus service had started to the site in 1964 but restricted to railway and construction staff only. This restriction was removed in 1968 and the "final" version of the 287 operated from July 1973. It was at about this time that the newly-wed fbbs rose at circa 0430 to "cop" the route! What marital dedication!

The road (Wood Lane) still exists and runs through the site to join up with Europa Way. The central chunk is "buses only" ...
... although no services run that way!

         today's puzzle picture         
What was the name of the company that operated this bus; immediately prior to take-over by West Yorkshire Road Car? It is photographed on Headingley Lane in Leeds.
            answer tomorrow               
 fbb's Christmas Calendar for 2013 
Sunday 29th December

From a Biblical point of view, Christmas never ends. What began in that cattle shed is part of the here and now. How Christmas changes lives can be a bit of a mystery in today's secular and spiritually apathetic society. One of Jerusalem's religious high-ups was bothered by this very problem ...
... as recorded by John in the fourth gospel.

Which takes us back to Moses, some 1200 years previously.

Whilst trekking through the desert to get to the "Promised Land" they had a "bit of bovver" with snakes.
"Easy-peasy," says God, in the simplified and stylised narrative of the book of Exodus ...
... "raise a snake up on a pole. If anyone gets bitten, all they have to do is to look up at the snake and they will survive - seemples!"

And they did : and they were!

Seemples indeed.

It was this incident that Jesus used to illustrate the answer he gave to the VIP enquirer. The question hasn't changed for 2014, neither has the answer!
P.S. That's one possible origin of the snake as a symbol of the medical profession ...
... although the source and the route of the tradition is confused and oft debated.
 Next bus blog : Monday 30th December 

Saturday 28 December 2013

Post Festive Snippets [3]

 to provide a break from the rigours of 
 daily blogging, fbb will be looking at 
 some of his old, decayed colour slides.
 The selection will be presented in the 
 form of a post-festive quiz.           
 Answers and other information will be  
 posted on the following day's blog     

           yesterday's answer           
This bus is being operated by United Counties in Northampton.
Weston Favell District Centre was opened in 1974. It took the name of a nearby village which had been progressively swallowed up by the town. The centre included two supermarkets (later merged into one mega-Tesco), a parade of indoor shops, a library and the Emmanuel multi-denominational church.

Bus services were extended or diverted to serve the complex. fbb's memory is a little unreliable here as by now he had left the family home nearby and was resident in Sheffield and married with one small child!

Corporation [NCT] service 1 was extended from Weston Favell Trumpet Inn. United Counties [UC] had routes 304 and 305 exclusively but the 300 and 301 circular routes were jointly operated. Both operators struggled to find sufficient vehicles. NCT bought a couple of ex Wolverhampton single decks ...
... whilst two ex Trent buses appeared on UC Eastern District routes and elsewhere on their network. Here is sister vehicle trundling through Kettering.
Both were part of a batch of dual-purpose ("coach" seated buses) vehicles for longer distance services, although they often found their way onto local bus routes.
The dreaded internet suggests that YRC 189 ended up preserved at Quantock Moor Services but it is no longer listed there. Another source offers this sad view.
Perhaps one of our blog readers can elucidate?

One of these iconic "country" buses (YRC 191) is, however, preserved.
It is seen here performing at Trent's 100th Birthday earlier this year.

The consequence of these changes was that NCT vehicles would, for the first time ever,  use departure stands in Derngate bus station as here with a single deck Fleetline on the 301.

         today's puzzle picture         
What is this Sheffield Transport bus doing? The picture was taken at about 0500 with Mrs fbb on board; and neither the route nor the destination remain.
            answer tomorrow             
 fbb's Christmas Calendar for 2013 
Saturday 28th December

 30 years pass by 

So that's it, then. Christmas is over for another year!

In he traditional Church calendar, Christmas starts on December 25th and finishes on 12th night. Our consumerist society starts Christmas in late August and finishes it with the Boxing Day sales! From a bible point of view, Christmas is, in itself, not supremely important; only two of the four Gospel writers mention it; each having a particular purpose in nailing the origins of Jesus firmly in the realm of the God-given supernatural.

Next arrival on the scene is another religious weirdo.
John's clothes were made of camel's hair; he wore a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.

Yep! A weirdo! And his preaching was controversial as well.

The one who comes after me has his winnowing shovel with him to thresh out all the grain. He will gather his wheat into his barn, but he will burn the chaff in a fire that never goes out.

Simeon in the Temple warned that Jesus would bring both good news and bad news.

You snakes; who told you that you could escape from the punishment God is about to send?

The "serious" message of Christmas is coming back after thirty years of absence

People confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan.
The promised Messiah is here.

Or is he?
 Next bus blog : Sunday 29th December