Sunday 15 December 2019

For The Last Time (Probably) Part 1

An investment of £24 million in the Island Line has been announced which will include "new" Vivarail trains ...
... which are, of course, not new but heavily refettled London Underground District Line stock. Surprisingly, these will be straight electric rather than diesel electric or even bi-mode, which would cover the occasional failure of "the juice" (undated screenshot).
Also in the package (although with no delivery date as yet) are alterations to the loops so that trains can run every 30 minutes to sensibly meets the summer ferry frequency rather than every 20 and 40 as at present.

Well, actually NOT as at present. For the last few months Island Line has been short of trains. Under normal circumstances, the company now has only three two car trains. What other units still exist are regarded as beyond repair.
The scheduled two train service needs top units leaving only one as "spare" but since September there have been numerous occasions when only two serviceable trains are available.

Sensible, Island Line defaults to an hourly services with one working train and one working spare.

This is how it was yesterday when your author decided to take what might well be his last ever ride on an 80 year old Underground train.
The on-line explanation does not make sense but the consequence is clear; just one train an hour at xx49 from Pier Head. Mrs fbb agreed to deliver el chubbo to the station at the "wet" end of the pier for the 1349 and pick her beloved up at Shanklin station approx 30 minutes later.

"I will nip in to Esplanade\Station" avowed fbb, "just in case the hourly service has been cancelled. It will save a drive up the pier and a pier toll."

Good plan, as it turned out.
So it's not just Voyagers at Dawlish that don't like being drenched in sea water!
Whether it was really necessary in this case is debatable ...
... but there have been a number of days recently when high tide plus high wind have made Ryde Pier risky. Better be save than "lose" another unit, eh? Pity about passengers having to walk to and from the ferry.

fbb waved Mrs away to enjoy the retail therapy of Ryde town centre shops (a failure - she bought four bananas and a second-hand book!) and then made his was on to the platform.

Two things were noteworthy. There was a well-used improvised temporary "S" for "trainstop" on the platform (which the drive might just notice) ...
... plus electronic displays showing the rain as running to the pier head.
Such are the benefits of modern computerised technology and the promised "digital railway".

But the obligatory whiteboard and felt tip pen are always available.
It all meant that a chilly fbb could ensconce himself on a lovely warm Island Line train for 12 minutes before trundling off to Shanklin for a modest £2.60.
And issued from a posh new very mini ticket machine, to boot. Remember PORTIS which used to look like this?
Our guards jobbie was about the size of a packet of fags and he looked as if he was typing the detail into his phone. Impressive but slow. He needed about 20 key prods to issue fbb's £2.60 worth!

Anyway, promptly at 1352 it was ting ting and away - never mind the people having toi walk down the pier from the ferry. The train cannot wait because on its return trip it would miss the departing ferry. Arguable suffering on arrival on the Island is less painful all round that missing outbound connections.

With just one train running, there have to be hard decisions.

fbb will complete the journey tomorrow.
The fbb Advent Calendar
The fbb Alphabetical Advent Calendar

Og King of Bashan?
Omri King of Samaria

The letter "O" is not a fruitful source of tit bits for an Advent Alphabet. But fbb will choose a "philosophical" "O".


Way back in the Old Testament, in the book of Deuteronomy to be precise, the writer records two Offers from God.

I am now giving you the choice between life and death, between God's blessing and God's curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make.

Choose life.

Love the Lord your God, obey him and be faithful to him, and then you and your descendants will live long in the land that he promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

Of course, Deuteronomy was talking about getting from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land, "flowing with milk and honey".
What might our "promised land" be in 2020 and beyond?

But, time and time again, it all went wrong for the old testament peoples; hence their hope for a Messiah. God, they understood, would send his Messiah to help them "choose life" and make the choice stick.

John's Gospel records a discourse from Jesus in which he said ...

I have come in order that you might have life - life in all its fullness. 

Seems to fit the bill - and it starts at  Christmas .

Some of us sang this song at Sunday School and some of still enjoy its truth in adulthood.

Standing on the promises, I cannot fall
Listening every moment to the Spirit's call
Resting in my Saviour as my all in all
Standing on the promises of God

Standing, standing
Standing on the promises of Christ my Savioor
Standing, standing
I'm standing on the promises of God

1 comment:

  1. The information screens are controlled by the ROC in Basingstoke, so it perhaps not surprising when they are out of touch with reality