Sunday 30 September 2018

Weekend Bits (2)

Get Chattie With Hattie
A humble (and now rather elderly} Stagecoach double decker began its life with bus users in Chichester and the Sussex/Hampshire area.
The bus was "open topped" and ran seaside services in Cleethorpes ...
... before taking on a more "historic" role in Lincoln.
... acquiring its "Irish" registration from the Road Car single decker.
The topless old girl then went to Skeggy where it (she?) obtained he present livery and Hattie nomenclature.
The bus has changed yet again - tables added, plus refreshment facilities making the bus available for community and "social" use.
The Wemdy House" can be seen at the back of the top deck.

The Best Of Times, The Worst Of Times
Rutland is the UK's smallest county with its "capital" as Oakham.
Oakham railway station is on the cross country line from Birmingham New Street to Nuneaton, Leicester, Stamford,  Peterborough, Ely, Cambridge and Stanstead Airport.

The station is also famous for having a full-sized replica ...
... of the OO gauge Airfix plastic kit.
The train service is provided by Cross Country Trains.

National Rail lists one of its facilities as ...
... benches!

The ticket office ...
... is open at the following times -

Monday - Friday 06:30 - 12:45
Saturday 07:45 - 14:10
Sunday 12:00 - 19:00

So outside these times there is at least one self service ticket machine?

Well, actually, NO!

There is, however, one self-service machine at the station.
It sells fresh eggs!

Meanwhile at the bus "interchange" in John Street ...
... the comfy little waiting room ...
... has a good display of timetable leaflets.
Correspondent Alan, who contributed this material, thinks that this is a full set for the County. Also he noticed this notice.
A timetable book? Remember when you could obtain such a delight?

But here's the big question. How can tiny little Rutland afford such profligate luxury when most much bigger counties have given up completely? AND the Ruttles have arranged funding to ensure the continuation of the Rutland Flyer bus from 24th September.
What financial magic does Rutland have that is not available elsewhere?

Or is the truthful answer that savings via cancelling tendered services are negligible but easy to do - and the voters are simply being conned about the need to chop?

Maybe Rutland should be holding a teach-in for the others?

Suspicious Sheffield Scare
The local rag has had a field day with a "Shock Horror" lead.
Well, they would day that, wouldn't they?

Bear in mind that, although the trams say "Stagecoach", the vehicles themselves, the track and all the bits and bobs are owned by South Yorkshire County Council. Stagecoach simply holds the contract to RUN the system.

So what is going on?

Two possibilities seem likely.

1. The Council is playing the "fear" game to "encourage" National Government to find renewals.

2. The reporter has latched on to a "could", "might" or "maybe" soundbite with little or no substance.

Watch this space!

Remember That 75 minute Late Arrival?
Last weekend, the fbb's had a tortuous journey from Axminster to Glasgow with a very late arrival in the Scottish City.

Delay Repay came into effect and it was efficient and quick to deal with on-line. All fbb had to do was to send a picture of the appropriate rail tickets, plus details of the specific delayed journey and, just three days later, this missive arrived in the old man's in-box.

I write further to your Delay Repay request regarding a delay to your recent journey.

Please accept our apologies once again for any inconvenience this delay caused you.

Under the terms of our ‘Delay Repay’ scheme, customers who are delayed by 30-59 minutes will receive compensation equivalent to 50% of the cost of the affected leg of their journey; if a return ticket is used, the ticket price is halved to calculate this compensation. If you are delayed by 60-119 minutes, you will receive 100% of the cost of your single ticket, or 50% of your return ticket. If you are delayed by more than two hours, we will compensate you for 100% of either the cost of your single ticket, or both portions of your return ticket.I

I would therefore like to offer you the enclosed cheque for £124.75

I hope that your experience will not discourage you from using our services in the future/


Next week we will be following LAST week's Scotland holiday enjoyed by the fbbs. Because of internet worries on the remote West Coast of Scotland, this will pan out exactly one week late but still day by day. There will be plenty to enjoy and fascinate, promise!

124 minutes late at Axminster!
See an appendage to tomorrow's blog.

 Rail Discoveries blog Day 1 - Monday 1st October 

Saturday 29 September 2018

Weekend Bits (1)

Wonderful Wellingborough, One Day!
Over the years, correspondent Alan has been less than enamoured of services and information is this "average" East Midlands Town. Only a few days ago, he popped into the Library (only source of bus timetable leaflets) and picked up a leaflet for Stagecoach service 34/34A.

The service was withdrawn in July!

Stagecoach 34: between ​Brambleside, Kettering, Pytchley, Little Harrowden, Wellingborough and Berrymoor (Monday to Saturday) Service withdrawn (replacement of off-peak journeys for Pytchley, Orlingbury and Little Harrowden under review)

​Stagecoach 34A: ​Between Brambleside, Kettering Town Centre Leisure Centre (Monday to Saturday) Service withdrawn.

But then someone in the Library would need to discover the withdrawal. You can bet your bottom dollar overdue fine that no one would tell them.

But then we read this, summarised from the local rag.

Only recently, Alan has reminded us of the poor bus service (not very) near the railway station.

But what is this?
Wellingborough’s MP Peter Bone was tasked with cutting the ribbon on Friday .He said the first discussions about the plan pre-date him as the town’s MP and admitted he had sometimes wondered if they would ever see it happen. But he went on to praise Wellingborough and added: “It is going to further enhance what is a great place to live.”

And there's more:-

New routes into the scheme are planned and the railway station will be upgraded to form a new, state of the art transport hub, with bus links, new car parking and other facilities to enable greater use of public transport throughout the area.

Midland Road is being extended to include a road bridge over the railway line ...
... that will link the town centre to the new transport hub, which includes a new railway station, bus stops, a taxi rank and car parking.

Welcome to Stanton Cross!
fbb does not know the origin of the name, but it covers a swathe of land between the Finedon Road and the floodplain of the River Nene.
A more detailed map reveals a possible alternative name once applied to an area at the bend in the orange road near Irthlingborough Grange.
Maybe not. But here is the grand plan ...
... and here is what the developers have on offer:-
Nothing about buses or station in the above list so ...

... don't hold your breath!

Hailing A Ride to Hayling
Once upon a time you could catch a Portsmouth Corporation bus from Portsmouth to Hayling Ferry ...
... then the Hayling Ferry to Hayling Island ...
... and a bus thence to the more populous (less un-populous) parts of the Island. But the rise of the motor car, the opening of the M27 and, possibly, a change of demographic on Hayling Island all combined to reduce through business and thus see the withdrawal of the Hayling Island bus section of the multi-modal service.

First Bus, successors to Portsmouth Corporation still run along the Hayling Ferry road, but in recent times no further than Eastney.
But, in a surprise move, the link is restored.
First Bus has extended its service 15 every hour all the way to the ferry ...
... and a new operator, Portsmouth City Coaches is providing the Island link.
The "new" company is a Phoenix from the ashes of Emsworth and District which had its licence revoked, but subsequently de-revoked. The launch was accompanied by the Great and Good of Hayling and Portsmouth ...
... and a Southdown bus showing an appropriate heritage destination.

Going For (New) Gold in Sheffield
Regular readers may remember that Stagecoach's "Gold" X17 now runs from Barnsley to Matlock via Sheffield and Chesterfield. It is now gaining brand new buses one of which is seen on its first day out at the Woodseats Library stop.
Rumours abound that the "old" Gold buses will re-appear on service 50/50A between Chesterfield and Sheffield via Eckington.

Rail Review Reviewed
Just a reminder that DaFT (Department For Transport) has announced a "root and branch" review of the Rail Industry, as covered by a headlaie in a respected industry journal.
Everyone agrees that our complex (and ludicrously costly) system is rubbish; but there is little agreement about what alternatives might offer some improvement.

Jezza has announced that, when his party is in power, he will re-nationalise the system ...
... although his supporters seem to be going in the wrong direction with their BR logo!
Didn't Tony promise the same in his first election campaign?

Once again, don't hold your breath!

Rail Discoveries Discovered
Home to Seaton today. Hopefully with a less stressful journey than the outward run.

 More Weekend Bits : Sunday 30th September 

Friday 28 September 2018

Pertinent Scottish Post Scripta

Lovely Blue Light Buses
The fbbs visited Glasgow Transport Museum (a k a Museum of Glasgow Life) at the same time as a large community "do" by the police and rescue services.
Buses were running a Park and Ride service for the event. There was a double decker from ...
... McDades of Uddingston. A Volvo Olympian (obviously) and, from the registration, a vehicle of some vintage. In fact, it was an overseas vehicle from the Republic of Ireland.

Dublin Bus are quite good at selling buses in good condition ...
... usefully including the tyres which are usually excluded from second-hand vehicle sale. It can be quite tricky getting your purchase home without them! McDades bus was like this one ...
... branded for a Dublin city "premium" service which on-line comments suggests wasn't!

Dublin Buses used to be green ...
... then yellow and blue which looked quite distinguished.
But now the livery is changed again to an all-blue combo ...
... with apparently trendy (?) diagonal splodges. Whatever happened to the principle that livery should enhance the body style, not clash with it?

And, once upon a time, their minibuses were red and yellow.
The other unusual vehicle on the service was from EssBee of Coatbridge.
The was previously with Sussex bus ...
... having been sold on by a dealer.
It second owner was Diamond Bus ...
... but it began life on Canterbury's Park and Ride services.
Also at the Blue Light Festival, this appeared:-
It had very odd-looking doors at the back, but its purpose was clear from the destination screens.
The company's web site has illustrations of a very posh Afternoon Tea served top deck front ...
... at a price!
The superb Ian's Bus Stop web site gives a full history of this vehicle up to 2015.
The bus has had various guises in its long history ...
... as here in preservation.
Whilst afternoon tea is a delight that has declined in our modern pizza-ridden society, it does seem a pity that such a respected heritage vehicle should end up as an up-market caff!

And fbb Gets It Wrong Again
But it isn't. Correspondent Richard corrects the chubby one!

South African Railways (and most other railways in Southern Africa) are built to 3ft 6ins gauge, not metre gauge.

The photo below shows a 19D (Dolly) piloting a Garratt articulated 4-8-2+2-8-4 on The Union Limited between George and Cape Town on The Garden Route in 2002.
That's what you call a steam train!

Thanks for the correction.

Morar Mentions
The Rail Discovery Tour ended formally after breakfast this morning.
The fbbs are spending an extra day in Glasgow before returning to Seaton tomorrow, Saturday.
Reports on the holiday and its expeditions etc will be published next week.

 Other News blog : Saturday 29th September