Monday 6 May 2019

Monday Minutiae

Devon General 100
To mark the centenary of the much loved company, Stagecoach have revealed a special livery on one their double deckers ...
... that's the bus on the right!

The pictures celebrate the various "ages" of the company from from early days to Exeter's bombing in WW2 ...
... through the resurgence of the open toppers in the sixties ...
... and on via Harry Blundred's minibuses to the present day.
The Great and Good were photographed at the launch.
The unique bus livery, which depicts 100 year history of the Devon General, was unveiled this morning at a special launch event at Oldway Mansion, Torquay, with representatives from the Devon General Society, Stagecoach South West and Torbay Council in attendance.

Paul Jenkins of the Devon General Society, said: ‘’Stagecoach South West has done an incredible job with the bus livery, bringing Devon General’s rich 100 year history to life, with an innovative design, and kicking off our programme of activities to celebrate 100 years of Devon General.”

The commemorative bus will be in service across Devon, throughout 2019, and will make a special appearance at the Devon County Show, between Thursday 16th May and Saturday 18th May.

Bob Dennison, Managing Director of Stagecoach South West, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating Devon General’s significant legacy, throughout the centenary year, we aim to share Devon General’s story with the local community, as the bus takes to the roads."

The Devon General Society will be hosting activities throughout the year, hence the presence of the preserved open topper.

Aren't Computers Wonderful : Episode 367
Whilst our Sheffield correspondent was musing over the meaningless note on his local 218 timetable (see yesterday's blog), he failed to note the meaningless content in the 97 and 98 timetables above. As we saw yesterday, these routes bifurcate at Totley Brook (near the aforementioned stop) ...
... then run cross city to Southey Green. From there they continue to Hillsborough but via different routes ...
Now let us consider the problem faced by a passenger who wishes to travel from Dore and Totley station to the stops at the Penistone Road end of Southey Green Road.

Here is the 98 route generated by the PTE's magnificent technologically savvy system ...
... and here is the 98.
Absolutely no different in places served and thus no guidance as to which bus goes which way. Of course, there is a significant difference. 98s take two minutes longer to serve exactly the same route.

Yeah, really!

Perhaps the departure list itself can help; and yes, there are little x and y notes beside the times.
And these little explanatory letters ...
... tell you the route number and NOT which way the bus goes.

OK, the number of passengers actually needing this choice at Dore and Totley station will be about zero. But "the system" delivers equally unhelpful panels throughout the route - even where the difference becomes important.

Happy Memories - Swansea
A couple of pictures popping into fbb's in box awake some pleasant nostalgia in your authors nostrils recently. Here is a Swansea an Mumbles train ...
... and please don't call it a tram. The company was always The Swansea and Mumbles railway. It closed in 1960 but fbb can remember a childhood visit to Swansea (no idea when) and seeing these strange vehicles running along the sea shore.

Later, when at a National Union of Students conference (in 1964? - VERY boring) at the Uni, fbb explored something of the route of the line ...
... now a footpath and cycleway. The replacement buses ran via the main road, but had a bus-only ramp down to the pier. 
Alas, buses no longer run down the slope to the pier!

Happy Memories - Tinsley
Tinsley marshalling yard was one of several nationally developed to handle wagon-load freight which was losing buckets of cash because of the cost of handling small quantities. In a sense, these yards came to late to block the plughole of business escaping to road.

But Tinsley (Sheffield) was unique because it had these ...
... two standard 0-6-0 diesel shunters permanently coupled together. One cab was removed and both were controlled from the remaining driving position. The locos then had enough oomph to handle some of the long and heavy trains that would be split and shunted in the massive yard.
Today, huge warehouses, served by road of course ...
... fill the site where Dowty retarders plink-plinked the wagons into the correct sidings.

And Talking of Long Trains
Passenger railways in the USA have declines to the point of being almost a non event - but some heavy freight does still go by train, usually fairly slowly and usually on single track lines.

Here a some pictures, sourced on-line, to illustrate the spectacle. Readers may like to count the number of locomotives in each case. Four ...
... two with cabs and two slaves. Just two? ...
... but there may be more at the back. And FIVE!

More Stunning Technology
The fbbs returned successfully from Scotland on Sunday 29th April, by Crosscountry Voyager from Edinburgh to Exeter St Davids and then the usual to Axminster.

The train from Exeter seemed at an odd time, but fbb was not unduly concerned as it was a Sunday and he travels rarely on Sunday so might not know the schedule by heart. The announcement was odd as well. Did fbb hear right that the train would run via Westbury between Yeovil and Salisbury?

Again that oddness did not at first register and there are some trains that go that way Monday to Saturday.

The guard was doing his "Norman Collier" broken microphone gag ...
... making his announcements incomprehensible.

Undaunted, fbb prodded his phone and discovered ...
... that there were, indeed, no trains between Yeovil Junction and Salisbury direct.
A special service was operating as per the map above.

Fair enough, thought fbb, as he idly glanced at the destination indicator on the train ...
... showing all the normal BUT UNSERVED stops!

Obviously this did not affect passengers to Axminster and on as far as Yeovil Junction. By then one would hope that Guard "Norman Collier" would have warned people to change to the replacement bus.

Surely the wondrous computer systems of the railway companies should have been changed to show the correct route and destinations or was it ...

... all too much trouble for just two days?

Tomorrow, yet another baffling timetable presentation.

 An extra McGills bus blog : Tuesday 7th May 


  1. From my time at SWT/SWR, quite often the correct PIS data is in the system but no-one can be bothered to look up the code for it.

    Equally there are several guards who will just punch the code into the system and pay no attention to what it actually announces

  2. Why is the Stagecoach DG 100 livery bus banana yellow and not DG cream?!