Thursday 7 June 2018

The Parcel From Widnes (1)

Nostalgia And Regrets?
In the 1960s our national railways were in turmoil. The post-war modernisation plan had largely failed to deliver a profitable railway; then The Great And Good Doctor was told by an indecisive government to sort the Railways out, once and for all.

In the midst of this "excitement" your youthful author was gaining a degree (just!), starting work as a teacher and leading a group of "juniors" every Sunday at Sheffield West Crusaders bible class. Most rail excursions were on Sundays, so it was South Yorkshire's buses that captivated the lad's interest.

He missed such a lot. Even at Northampton Grammar School, the same applied. Sundays was Crusaders.

So the teenager/student never caught a train from Northampton to Bedford ...
... so never rode on a diesel rail bus! BR did not see fit to get the illustration right.
British Railways bought a variety of railbus types in a desperate attempt to save ailing branch lines as here at Tetbury.
But they not provide the miracle act of salvation that was intended. They were cheap, they saved on fuel but all the other costs or running a fully staffed train on a fully staffed branch line remained. They were all withdrawn within eight years.

Then in the early 70s, fbb bought an Airfix kit.
It was a splendid model and was apparently easy to build ...
... and if you author could find a simple way of fitting a working motor, it might form the basis of a small "cameo" model railway. But wife, family, and a busy teaching job meant that it stayed in the box.
There was a sickening realisation that the youthful fbb lacked the time and the skills to do the job properly.
It would never look as good as he one on the box, and probably wouldn't work properly.

fbb cannot remember what happened to it, but it remained in the box in a drawer under the telly for may years, unloved, unmade and forgotten.

The real ones were all withdrawn as their unsaved branch lines fell to the so-called Beeching Axe - which wasn't the Beeching Axe at all but The Government's oft misdirected chopper.

One or two remain in preservation as here at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway ...
Regularly seen singularly or paired with M79964, E79962 was a regular on the Railway’s morning services until time caught up with this aged vehicle and it was retired from active service pending an overhaul at some time in the future.

Regularly seen singularly or paired with M79964, E79962 was a regular on the Railway’s morning services until time caught up with this aged vehicle and it was retired from active service pending an overhaul at some time in the future.

With no prospect in sight of being restored in the foreseeable future, E79962 was transferred into the ownership of the Vintage Carriages Trust at Ingrow and moved to their workshops in 2014. Restoration has commenced with a complete strip down and the unit is now receiving the care and attention that has become the hallmark of VCT renovations and is being restored to as near original condition as possible. The photograph shows the DRB down at Ingrow in a woebegone state with internal stripping and asbestos removal complete and restoration ready to commence.
At last the Keighley railbus now has a likely future, unlike fbb's Airfix kit which perished (probably)  just before the move from Sheffield to the Isle of Wight in January 1984.

Part two of this tale continues tomorrow.

Meanwhile ...

140 Years And Still Going Strong
In 1878 horse trams came to Nottingham.
The Corporation took over in 1879.

So this year celebrates 140 years of public transport in the city. The wording on the heritage-liveried bus has been changed to recognise the anniversary.
A newer vehicle wears a special commemorative livery.
Hearty congrats!

What Is It?
Seen on the down platform at Butlers Lane Station (on the Lichfield line).
It is green in colour and seemed to mark the sit of the "join" between two three-car electric trains.
fbb noticed no notice!

WHOOPS - for mysterious reasons this blog published itself in an unfinished state for a while yesterday. APOLOGIES.

The blog has now been completed/corrected.

If, because of this shambles, you missed yesterday's scheduled blog - it is (here).

Blogging length curtailed due to laptop problems.

 Next Parcel from Widnes blog : Friday 8th June 

1 comment:

  1. Andrew Kleissner7 June 2018 at 07:03

    Yes, the Tetbury branch used the AC Cars railbuses. The one in the picture that we briefly saw yesterday said “Kilmarnock” on the front – I don’t think I’d like to have travelled in that all the way to Gloucestershire, even assuming that it wouldn’t run out of diesel on the way! It was indeed a Park Royal car as per the Airfix kit, these started life on the Bedford – Northampton run and were later moved north.

    Incidentally Dapol still produce the old kit so fbb can still have a go at making one up. However the price has risen from three bob to £8.25! Over the years there have been several motorising kits available, I think that Peco did one in the sixties and Branchlines more recently; I believe there has also been at least one interior detailing set.

    Of course, as fbb says, the railbuses couldn’t save a line if it was still; being worked in the old way with full station staff, signallers and sidings. Sadly the “basic railway” concept hadn’t come along, that might have made a lot of difference to the economics but there would have been great opposition by the Unions because of the loss of jobs that would have entailed. Post-Beeching they presumably came to realise that the few jobs produced by the Basic Railway were preferable to the no jobs produced by a closed railway!