Saturday 30 November 2019

The Repair Shop (1)

Bill Paterson : First into the Repair Shop today with an intriguing object of immense historical significance is the fat bus bloke.
Jay Blades : Hi, I am Jay and you must be fbb. What have you brought us today?
fbb : It is a Triang Transcontinental range Shell tank wagon, dating from 1955.

Jay : Wow, that must be really special for you. What's the problem?

fbb : I bought it on EBay for my world famous collection of OO gauge tank wagons through the ages;  and it looked in really good condition for an old model.
The lettering was all intact ...
... because it has been stamped into the plastic and filled with paint - so no rubbing. The whole wagon looked just like it had on the EBay photograph.

Jay : Not bad for a 64 year old toy that has been played with a lot?

fbb : But when I turned it round, the other side was in very poor condition.

Jay : No wonder you were upset!
fbb : the Shell logo had big bits missing and the access ladder was badly broken.
The end stanchions had also been broken off.
The cross piece should be the full width of the tank. It was in a sorry state.

Jay : So what would you like us to do?

fbb : I would like to have it put back to what it was in the late 1950s; not brand new but complete and looked after.

Jay : We have just the person to tackle this, she is one of the top model railway conservators in the country; I'll get it across to Kathy's bench straight away and she can make a start.
If only ...
Sadly, it was all a dream.
If fbb were to sort out his dodgy model, he would have to do it himself. More from this emotional tale tomorrow; expect a few tears and some screaming frustration, plus, possibly, an injury or two!

Historic note. Child fbb's first model railway (more a toy train) included a Transcontinental freight train with loco ...
... a gondola car, a box car and a caboose - but NO tank wagon.
From An Old Model To Very New

News via Tweeterings that Hull Trains (First Rail) has just run its first new class 800 unit into Hull station.
Named "Paragon", appropriately as the station used to be called Hull Paragon ...
... the new bi-modes will replace the company's whole fleet.
Also, beginning to operate between Paddington and Reading in advance of the December timetable change are class 345 Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) units.
One day, possibly before fbb's funeral (?), these will operate through the new tunnels and out to the East. One day? Possibly?
One Twit writer comments that it is, indeed, strange to have Transport for London trains running 36 miles to Reading whilst another comments, "I don't fancy sitting sideways all the way!"

fbb doubts whether many Reading residents would travel all the way, it being much quicker to take First GWR t o Paddington and change there.

And sideways?
Much of the train does have "sideways" seating as on the Underground (and the Overground) but the 345s also have blocks of "normal front/back facing seats.
If, in due course, you are thinking of riding all the way from Reading to Shenfield, please be aware that there are no on-board toilets (and precious few at any Underground station!) so make sure you go before you go.

An Unsolved Mystery For fbb.
Although his desire to purchase stuff for his model railway now needs to be curtailed as he has too much stock, fbb still scans the "pre-owned" pages on Hatton's of Widnes web site. There might be just a few cheapo items that suddenly become desirable.

But the old man was baffled by this offer.
Whilst fbb is happy to buy his distributor plates with bushings already fitted (it saves time when installing same) he really would not appreciator having them ready submerged. Even for £6.

What on earth is this advert about?

Due To The Exigencies Of The Situation ...
... it is not finished yet. But a start has been made with the green!?!

 Next "Repair Shop" blog : Sunday 1st December 

Friday 29 November 2019

Scunthorpe Surprise (4)

Before dealing with some final surprises, we need to take a brief look at Isle Coaches of Owston Ferry. And before you ask; there is no ferry! There used to be one linking the village wit the imaginatively named East Ferry on the eastern bank of the Trent, no less.
The above picture, taken in the 1940s, suggests it carried people and bicycles and was one-person powered.

The bus operator is Isle Coaches with the "Isle" being the Isle of Axholme.

The name Isle is given to the area since, prior to the area being drained by the Dutchman Cornelius Vermuyden, each town or village was built on areas of dry, raised ground in the surrounding marshland. The River Don used to flow to the north and west (it has since been diverted), dividing the Isle from Yorkshire; the River Idle separates the Isle from Nottinghamshire; and the River Trent separates the Isle from the rest of Lincolnshire. Three small towns developed here: Epworth – birthplace of John Wesley and his brother Charles; Crowle; and Haxey.
It is not really an Island but, in the sense that it is almost completely surrounded by rivers, drains, ditches and dykes, its title may just about be justified. But most areas in the area are, in some way or other, surrounded by various water courses!

Isle Coaches of operate two trunk routes. The 291 runs from Doncaster via Haxey and Epworth to Owston Ferry ...
... and the 399 takes folk from Scunthorpe to Epworth, Owston Ferry and Haxey to Westwoodside  ...
... with some journeys continuing to Doncaster on exactly the same route at the 291. (click on the map below to enlarge it)
Westwoodsider is, effectively, a "suburb" of Haxey, but fbb guesses that its residents would prefer a sense of independent identity. Isle Coaches are not blessed with any luxury such a bus stops or timetable frames and the company does not even have a web site. (What does tha' want with them new fangled computers - pencil and paper were good enough for great granddad, so it's good enough for me, tha knows.)

fbb's great friends Travel South Yorkshire provide a downloadable timetable ...
... as here for the 399. Sadly the table is incomplete because Stagecoach run one round trip from Scunthorpe, added (roughly) by fbb as below ...
... but Stagecoach doesn't tell you about the rest of the service, only its own lonely trip.
Likewise you have to look at the 291 for the rest of the buses between Westwoodside and Doncaster.
As if that isn't confusing enough, there is also a 57f (yes that is "f" - not an fbb typo!) from Epworth into Doncaster on Mondays to Fridays.
And TSY shows the routes incorrectly on the non-leaflet map!
Surely one combines table with 399, 291 and 57f all shown together is what the potentially perplexed public of the Isle of Axholme really needs?

Which brings us back to East Butterwick, mysteriously ignored by Traveline as per yesterday's blog and completely unserved after tomorrow's service 12 buses from Scunny.

Yet Traveline DOES offer journeys from Scunny and Epsworth to EAST Butterwick. They all end in the same way ...
... a three minute walk from West Butterwick to East Butterwick.

There may just be a problem with this plan.
That turgid brown band running from top to bottom of the aerial view is the River Trent, the wide and deep River Trent. There is no bridge and no ferry. As with Owston, there used to be a ferry but it ceased long, long ago. It is shown on this 1903 map.
You can just see the fuzzy "F" on the over-enlarged map.

The ONLY way to get from West to East would be to swim and fbb feels that Traveline is just a little over-optimistc to be suggesting it!

Oddly, when asking Deep Throat for buses to East Butterwick (swimming from West Butterwick) the computer is unable to find any direct journeys via route 399 between Scunthorpe and West.
Instead of sitting pretty on a 399, some options require you to pre-book a Call Connect trip.

The message here is ALWAYS to treat journey planners with a modicum of "polite suspicion"; the answers can be (and often are) unusable!

And One Final Surprise
Back with Hornsby's we note that the company has a gorgeous Bedford OB which can be booked for private hire.
It would be nice to report that EDR 793 had been with Hornsby's since delivered in 1949 new from Bedford Duple. Alas it isn't and it wasn't.

Originally with County Motors of Brentwood ... 
... and before that with Pridham Brothers of Lamerton, the bus was repatriated from an enthusiast in the Netherlands as recently as 2017.

Well done Hornsbys for a surprising and impressive piece of "re-creation".

 Next Weekend bits blog : Saturday 30th November 

Thursday 28 November 2019

Scunthorpe Surprise (3)

Bring Out The Germolene - Friction Points!
One of the changes from this coming weekend is the withdrawal of buses from East Butterwick. Hornsby's superb new timetable book tells all.
Always ready to investigate oddities, fbb was intrigued to find out something about Burringham and East Butterwick. Both villages are on the banks of the Trent (the east bank, no less!) but are otherwise remarkable. Burringham has the splendid Church of John the Baptist ...
... whereas East Butterwick can only offer the minimalist St Andrews.
The village's Methodist Church is now unused and in private hands.
So what IS the current bus service to East Butterwick. The Hornsby's web site shows journeys to East Butterwick on Saturdays only ...
... whereas the Simplibus leaflet has Monday to Friday journeys as well. It also shows a 30 minute frequency route 12 to Ashfield which it isn't. Currently on mondays to Fridays there is an hourly 12 plus an hourly13 with the latter being withdrawn from the timetable change.
Good innit?

Two of the four trips are Tuesday and Friday only and one continues on request only. Saturday timings are slightly different.
Does the 0815 from Scunny run to Wast Butterwick or not? Who knows? Meanwhile, Google Maps shows the terminus stop at St Andrews Church as having no bus service. It is blank!
Google Maps takes its data from the sainted Traveline whose timetable simply does not mention Burringham or Easy Butterwick!
Nothing runs beyond Ashfield "Caravan Site" which now brands itself "Park Homes".

Ashfield Park is situated on the Burringham Road on the west side of Scunthorpe town. At the entrance to Ashfield Park there is a small bus terminal with covered waiting area. Buses leave every hour for the 15 minute journey to Scunthorpe town centre with its shops and facilities. Trains from Scunthorpe station connect with the East Coast Mainline services at Doncaster.

A local Asda supermarket is a short walk from Ashfield and includes a hairdressers, a chemist and a travel agents. A doctor’s surgery and a health clinic are all within a 15 minute walk. The local hospital is also easily reached from Ashfield Park.

The local golf course is within a 5-minute walk, and horse riding, fishing and leisure facilities can be found within a five mile radius. Our local pub with its own restaurant is also just a 5-minute walk away.
The 12 has a neat little turning circle ...
... at which it is joined by the occasional 10.
Neither route penetrates the ASDA site. Maybe Gareth's terminal blob should be moved west a little?
Sadly, however, from next week passengers from the two Trentside villages are advised to contact Call Connect.
There is oodles of information on the Call Connect web site - but with just a few days to go, no mention of the disconnected villages. Sweet video, though!
Yet again, it is all a bit of a mess. Searching for a bus to East Butterwick on Traveline seems a non-starter as its timetables don't acknowledge the extended service 12 journeys in any way. Some Call Connect services do appear, however, but, as yet nothing to replace the 12.

But there are more Scunny surprises in store.

 Next Scunthorpe Surprise blog : Friday 29th November