Saturday 26 March 2016

Oxfordshire Oddments

 Bridge Building 

See "Tears for Tramway Terminus Termination" (read again)

Just under 12 months ago, fbb was at the railway bridge of the the Great Western main line just north of Wantage; the site of the former Wantage Road station. There were notable signs of BAM Nuttall's lads preparing to replace the A338 road bridge.
The "Works" is the HQ of the Williams Formula 1 organisation. The "PH" is closed after an attempt at being and American Diner. But today, as you approach from the north, you espy one of these.
It's size can be judged better from the gates to the site, now looking towards the north.
It stands where the Wantage Tramway station once awaited interchange passengers and goods from the main line. The cream crud marks the approach ramps to the new bridge ...
... and fbb guesses that some massive concrete beams will be put in place over the tracks. There is a map to explain all.
The orange is the existing carriageway, the grey the new road and the green is the grassed embankments.

All this to make room for the Great Western electric string.

 Ah, well; improvements at Harwell 

The Harwell Science and Innovation Campus is a science and technology campus near the villages of Harwell and Chilton, Oxfordshire. The site is 2 miles outside Didcot, about 15 miles south of Oxford and roughly 6 miles east of Wantage. A large part of the site was formerly the main research establishment of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, but it has seen a transition to its new role as a science and business park as the nuclear facilities have been decommissioned.

No 1 son's late father-in-law used to work there when it was very hush hush. The only outward sign of Keith's employment was when he glowed slightly in the dark!

The Atomic Energy people used to run their own buses ...
... but later vehicles and the present-day operation are with the GoAhead group.
When fbb and Mrs were travelling between their gaff at Culham Station and Wantage, they passed through Abingdon and kept seeing these.
The "Connector" service was launched in July 2015 with the usual smiling officials and soundbites.

Titled the ‘Harwell Connector’, the service will link the Harwell science area with Didcot four times an hour.

The bus service, called the X1/X32, is claimed to be part of a wider scheme to improve access to the Science Vale area, which employs a large contingency of Didcot residents.

The new service was funded by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, backed by the Department for Transport, and was coordinated by Oxfordshire County Council.

Council leader Ian Hudspeth said: “We hope that the increased frequency of the service will lead to a step change in passenger use."

You can even enjoy (?) a video advert!

In essence an hourly X1 and an hourly X32 are augmented by short workings between Didcot and Harwell to provide the 15 minute frequency.
Impressive. It replaces a historic mixed bag of routes, here from earlier in the 2000s.
There used to be buses from Newbury as well.
Clearly a "regeneration" route aimed at businesses located on the Harwell Campus, the heavily subsidised route represents a huge improvement.

 Something a Bit Older 

Last Saturday fbb accompanied his younger grnadson to the White Horse Leisure Centre in Abingdon. It is the largest such in Oxfordshire offering Swimming, Tennis, Gym and indoor gamnes facilities complete with an excellent caff selling yummy (and fattening) bus and sarnies.

The old man and the lad were striding from car to main entrance to enjoy their afternoon when this turned up ...
... and disgorged a smattering of passengers at the door.
Regsitered 14 LFC, it was easy to spot that it was a Morris vehicle, so not far from its ancestral home.

The Morris Motors Brass Band was founded in 1924 as part of William Morris's welfare drive, and soon started entering national competitions, winning the Crystal Palace Grand Shield in the 1930s. A signature tune, The Morris March, was written for them by Beresford, which is featured on a programme of 1926. William Morris provided a special coach for the band, and their last coach, 14 LFC, dating from 1961. It was specially designed with a large capacity boot to take all the musical instruments, which raised the height of the back half of the coach, giving the passengers a good view as they drove to engagements.

It was restored under the auspices of Oxford Bus Museum.

A sight for sore eyes, indeed.
Easter Lamb - Resting?
It was on the Thursday before "Good" Friday that Jesus had his final meal with his gang. At that meal they celebrated that first Passover from the time of Moses. Here was broken break and wine (remember Melchizedek) as a visual aid of that powerful event from over 1000 years earlier.

But Jesus gave it a revised meaning. He told his disciples that he was the sacrificial lamb, his body was the broken break and his blood was to be remembered in the drinking of the wine.

In doing so, Jesus instituted one of the central ceremonies of today's church; called Communion" or "The Breaking of Break" or "Eucharist" or "The Lord's Supper" it re0-enacts the passover of long ago and imbues it with the new meaning of Easter.

The tapestry threads are close to completing their picture.
 Next Abingdon blog : Sunday 27th March 

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