Sunday, 9 August 2020

Sunday Variety

Church Link
(here) at approx 1015
LIVE on Sunday morning
thereafter "streamed"

Something Old ...
Strange is the effluxion of time; fbb would have never expected to refer to the great High Speed Train as "historic" - but in main line inter city terms is almost is. Here are "traditional" HSTs lined up at Paddington ...
... a similar assemblage of (First) Great Western Railway liveried versions ...
... and, of course ...

Something New ...
... today's line-up of "Intercity Express" trains.

Something Old ...
We can easily push class 50s between Waterloo and Exeter into the category of "history" but how do we feel about this "historic" train?
In one of the strangest commercial decisions of recent railway history, First Group won the South Western franchise from Stagecoach with a deal that offered to replace ALL the suburban trains with new stock. Fair enough for some of the classes that were getting a litle long in the tooth ...
... but to throw away the class 707s before the first one was delivered was - at best - strange. What was even stranger is that the DaFT accepted the bid!

Something New
First's standard train for all their third rail routes will be the new class 701.

In March 2017, South Western Railway (SWR) was awarded the South Western franchise with a commitment to introduce 750 new carriages. In June 2017, SWR awarded a contract to Bombardier Transportation for 90 Aventra DC EMUs, with 60 ten-car and 30 five-car trains to be introduced from 2019. There is an option to purchase as further 5 ten-car units if required by October 2020. These new trains will eventually replace all of SWR's Class 455, 456, 458 and 707 fleets, the last of which will transfer to Southeastern.

Initially classified as Class 705 (5-car) and Class 711 (10-car), the units were subsequently given the number Class 701 with 701/0 for the 10-car sets and 701/5 for the 5 car sets.

First Rail now have one to play with and it is trundling about the network, usually at night as here on a trip from Waterloo to Guildford.
Daylight, sadly, doesn't improve the very uninspiring livery; not "creating desire" but creating a yawn!

And, Talking Of Testing ...
Here is another Bombardier product, this time for the West Midlands local franchise.
Has it just arrived on a ship from Europe or Japan? No. Bombardier is based in Derby, very much in the UK.

Actually it is waiting to be loaded ON a ship to be taken to Velim.

The Velim test center (Czech: Zkušební centrum Velim) is a railway rolling stock testing facility at Cerhenice, close to the city of Poděbrady in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic (Czechia). It has become one of the main testing locations for new types of rolling stock designed for use in Europe, and has been a fully accredited European test centre since March 1995. The most notable feature is the Velim railway test circuit (Železniční zkušební okruh u Velimi/Cerhenice), consisting of two large standard gauge railway track ovals designed for continuous running of new rail vehicles.

The centre is owned by the Railway Research Institute (VUZ, Výzkumný ústav železniční), a subsidiary of the national railway operator, České dráhy.
The big advantage if this rapidly expanding facility is two single track ovals of line (just like a toy train set - but a tad bigger) where trains can be run at full high speed if necessary. This Goodle Earth view shows part of the big oval with the smaller loop nestling inside.
To get a better idea of scale, note the village lower right.
This is the village of Sokoleč which lies between the fast big ring that runs across the top of the above aerial view; and the more obvious inner loop. Both circuits are of high quality ...
...and the village is sweet!
It has a bus shelter ...
... AND a bus service!
Czechia doesn't seem too keen on the 24 hour clock. "Moovit" has a map ...
... but that is as far as fbb's researches will go on a hot and sweaty Saturday at 1800.

More Moolah From The Ministry
Just in time (actually a week late for Sheffield Supertram whose piggy bank was embarrassingly empty last Monday), DaFT has announced ongoing funding for bus and light rail to ensure that the present level of service can continue and to help a bit more as services increase from the beginning of September.
There will be huge sighs of relief from bus bosses (and their employees - even their customers) as collapse is averted yet again - and at the last minute as usual.
Of course there is the usual caveat. This is not "Government" money - it is fbb's money and that of all this blog's readers (plus a few more people!). It is kind of us to let HMG spend it, BUT, sooner or later we will all have to pay up.
A new "Spitting Image" series airs to BritBox this autumn

More stuff tomorrow:-

 Next Monday variety blog : Monday 10th August 


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  2. Bog off, spammer

    1. Phew! That ought to stop them!

  3. It's not Czechia that isn't keen on the 24 hour clock - it's Google Maps (unless you choose another language, like Czech!)

  4. I think you'll find that the 707s were ditched because they are somewhat more expensive to lease than the replacements. Ergo Daft being sensible and reducing taxpayer subsidy.

    1. The 707s would have been more expensive than normal because the DfT declined to sign a continued usage agreement. Normally when new trains are sourced the DfT provides a guarantee of continued usage as the franchises are much shorter than the life of a train, this allows the supplier/financier to spread the cost over a longer period than the specific contract agreement they sign. Without that agreement the supplier/financier would have had to spread the cost over a much shorter period and so increase the cost of the units compared to normal as they could no be sure the new franchise would extend or renew the lease beyond the end of the existing one (as has effectively happened). Undoubtedly SWR could easily have re-negotiated much better rates than SWT had if they wanted for continued long term usage as it is the simplest option over finding a new operator.

  5. There's also the factor of standardisation. When I worked for SWR and something broke down, you could bet that the only thing available to rescue it couldn't couple up