Saturday 10 November 2018

Weekend Collection One

Surprising in Syracuse
The railroad runs down the middle of the street
The railroad runs down the middle of the street
The railroad runs down the middle of the street
Since the company built the line

They let us drive on the left of the street
They let us drive on the right
But there ain't no drivin in the middle of the street
Cause that's the railroad's site

Syracuse is a city in and the county seat of Onondaga County, New York, in the United States.
It is the fifth most populous city in the state of New York following New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, and Yonkers. 

And when the railway came to Syracuse it was allowed to build its line down the middle of Washington Street - and that meant on the street, like a tram (streetcar!) with no fence between it and motor traffic.
In the early days of the lines, there wasn't much of the latter, but by the 1930s the mixing of traffic and trains led to drastic action. The city authorities introduced traffic lights.
In the installation above, it appears that the lights are operated manually by a cop on "point duty".

Freight trundled by as well.
The rail, company eventually became New York Central with its opulent Grand Central terminus in New York City.
In 1936 the company introduced its "Mercury" trains and here is one, also proceeding through Syracuse.
fbb assumes it was a PR run as these flashy new trains had just been introduced.

Maybe running a few Pendolinos into London via Hendon Way might make access for High Speed 2 a bit cheaper?

Not unexpectedly, trains no longer run down the middle of the street. fbb has been able to identify the location of the oldest picture above.
In fact no tracks at all, just a humble bus passing the distinctive wedge-shaped building.

A train at the same junction ...
... but travelling in the opposite direction past a much re-touched Syracuse City Hall. This richly ornamental pile still stands today.

Who Would Run A Bus Company?
fbb has reported on the problems in Bristol a few weeks ago, but in the latest staff newsletter, boss James Freeman bares all (not literally, thankfully).
But James does see a glimmer of hope/
A substantial article in yesterdays Bristol Post listed SEVEN problems that the company faces - being a more detailed list than that in James' article above.

Although the article is, effectively, reporting James' "excuses", it is written with a much more sympathetic attitude that you would normal expect from the fourth estate. 

Maybe James was its "ghost" writer?

Non-Mobile Library
Also from the First Bristol newsletter ...
'Tis north of Thornbury, just off the A38 and M5 (map, top right).
The bus is parked in the school grounds and was greeted enthusiastically but the whole nominal roll.
The main bus service to the village, and thus to the school is service 62 ...
... operated by Stagecoach! If you fancy a bus spotting trip, fbb is not sure if the vehicle can be spotted from outside the school grounds but if you want to try, here is the outbound timetable.

X17- The Final Word - It's Not Just fbb
A Sheffield correspondent has contacted your delightful author to summarise his activity in the vexed field of South Yorkshire PTE timetable quality.
It will annoy the picky-picky anonymous if fbb mentions that all these PTE deficient timetables were uploaded correctly and on-time on the GoTimetable Sheffield App and website; so fbb will keep quiet on the matter.

 Another Weekend Collection blog : Sunday 11th November 


  1. The Bristol traffic is truly shocking, some of the worst I have ever seen! We had to go there on Wednesday evening and would have gone by train but the section between Parkway and Temple Meads is closed for 4-tracking. It took us an hour on the M4 from our house in Cardiff to the M32 spur, and another hour to our hotel in the centre of Bristol. I suspect there is extra traffic due to the dearth of trains, coupled with major roadworks and road closures in the city centre. It must have been totally impossible to maintain any kind of bus timetable. (BTW we saw quite a few of your vaunted m2 buses).

  2. Trains still run down the middle of a city centre street elsewhere in the USA - look in the middle distance here:

    1. Also South Shore Line through Michigan City IN. Try

  3. Amtrak have moved Syracuse, like many other US stations, out of town. Most of these stations are now very simple with limited facilities and often need car transport to get to and from them.

    Trains in streets happen around the world. Not far from fbbland there used to be the Weymouth Tramway to take passengers through to the ferries to St Helier and St Malo. Japan also has numerous examples, one of which is here (starts about half way through this subway to mountain railway video) -