Sunday, 27 September 2020

Sunday Variety

Church Link
Service starts 1030

Today the church is running a LIVE "Car Park" service.
The fbbs will be attending. It is not possible
to set up an on-screen link before they depart.
A link can be obtained, however,
via the Church YouTube channel
(here) and click on the panel for today's date.

Tricky Ticky Tacky Tank Boxes?

It is possible that loyal blog readers may feel that fbb has finally flipped into a sort of elderly gibbering mode, (many say yea!) but the little re-write of the "little boxes" song does have a purpose.

fbb is confused!

As he continues with his ever growing collection of OO gauge tank wagons, examples of all types of tank and all manufacturers, he regularly scours Ebay and the second-hand departments of model shops to fill the gaps; of which there are currently at least four. But one example intrigued the old man and, because it wasn't expensive, he bought it.

But first, back to basics.

Here is a Hornby Dublo tank wagon from the very early days of production ...

... late 1938 early 1939. It has a PALE BLUE box and "continental" couplings. Exactly the same wagon was on offer post WW2 ...
... same PALE BLUE box but now with couplings designed by Sydney Pritchard, founder of PECO. Some time in the 1950s there was a change. The wagon is utterly unchanged in construction ...
... but now with a MID BLUE box. Exciting isn't it? Moving on to the late 50s and early 60s, the wagon is totally unchanged but - tada ...
... the box is now DARK BLUE with  WHITE STRIPES . But, please note, throughout this time, the wheels are metal ...
... the couplings are metal and the brake gear is solid, no see-through between the brake rods.
Finally, it dawned on Hornby Dublo that their three rail system was outmoded, so they added two rail to their already extensive production schedule.
2 rail boxes are now RED with  WHITE STRIPES  and, of course, the wheels are now plastic because metal wheels would short out the two rail supply. The brake gear was still solid.

Over the years, some of the designs printed on the actual tanks were changed with the older liveries being dropped in favour of more familiar names.

The next exciting development is that Hornby started fitting plastic versions of the Peco couplings.

Hanging on by their commercial finger tips, and after nearly 80 years of producing the same tank wagon, Hornby Dublo changed the chassis and gave it a see through set of brake gear. 

The shock was so great that Hornby handed their name over to arch competitor Triang and all production ceased.

So fbb's latest purchase came in a  MID BLUE box (early 1950s) ...

... had Peco metal couplings ...

... see-through brake gear (mid 1960s) ...
... and plastic wheels (for 2 rail)!
The tank itself was still of the good-old 80 year old construction as expected BUT - the livery was one that had long since disappeared from the range (date unknown but well before plastic wheels!).

Mysterious, eh?

We may be able to resolved the mystery in tomorrow's blog.

A Bus, A Bus, My Kingdom For A Bus!

What with social distancing and the return to school, some operators are getting a bit sort of buses. We have already heard that Supertram had no money from HMG to offer replacement bus services during work to replace the rails, so the job was put out to tender.

Powells won the contract, but this ended when Powells needed the buses for school services.

Stagecoach then won the contract and had to beg, borrow or buy six double deckers from Edinburgh buses. In the latest ramification, trams are getting a bit closer to the Halfway terminus, to Donetsk Way to be precise ...

... whence the Edinburgh buses trundle passengers on to the terminus.
But the schedule, being shorter, requires less buses. Imagine Northampton Alan's surprise as he passed Stagecoach's depot in the town ...
... and spotted two of Sheffield's Edinburgh deckers grazing peacefully amongst Stagecoach normality. They have flown south for the winter. Also in the depot were these:-
Alan explains.

Stagecoach Midlands has borrowed ten ex Tower Transit and Metroline Volvos and Enviro 400s from Ensign Bus.Several of them are five to six years younger than a lot of what is in daily service in Northampton.  I wait with interest to see where they will turn service.

Alan also has a letter in the October edition of Buses - on a subject dear to his and fbb's heart.

Wrong Again!

Thus wrote Alexander Pope in his "Essay on Criticism", a glorious vituperative attack on the poor standard of English Literature of the day. Young Alex was the mainstay of fbb's many happy years "doing" English Lit at "A" level and "Special Paper" (both passed!).

Recently your noble and literary author wrote this:-

It turns out that this was utter drivel, a fact gleefully helpfully pointed out by correspondent Julian.

I have only just got round to looking at timetables 

You thought Gamesley had never been linked with Manchester by bus.

In May 1986 GM Buses 224 linked Gamesley with Manchester via Hyde Rd hourly every day including evenings and Sundays. This combined with 225 to provide a further half hourly service into Manchester, and even every 15 mins on Saturdays. There was also Maynes 229 which covered the same route every 2 hours. With the 236/7 which went via Ashton New Rd into Manchester 4+ bph, 6 on Saturdays , and there was also a 211 between Old Glossop and Manchester which served the Dinting Rd between Glossop and Hadfield and was hourly on top of all of the above

By May 1991 224 had become 214 but still hourly daily, and the 211 was still there unchanged.

GM Buses of course still had a depot in Glossop, Ex North Western

fbb could find no pictures of buses to, at or from Gamesley, but here is a picture of Glossop bus garage ...
... in North Western Days. The depot was at the end of a little back street (York Street) ...
... just off the A57 between High Street and the Royal Oak Pub (former terminus).
The depot has been demolished and the site is currently for sale.

Puzzling Political Policy?
Marvin Rees, Bristol's City Mayor has come up with a "Good 'Un".
He is having an ecological emergency; probably caused by turning bus lanes into cycle ways and clogging the city centre up with traffic jams! He has excitedly tweeted his plans.
Another twitterer added a succinct reply.
Rare As Hen's Teeth?
Ensign have just published a timetable book. For those born after about 1986, such publications are little known; BUT they are printed booklets containing timetables. There is a clue in the name.

You can carry one in your pocket; you do not have to log on or spend hours searching and scrolling and there is no need to charge the thing every 7 hours or so. A USB socket is also unnecessary.
fbb has asked Mr Ensign to send him a "review copy" and will let you know when (if?) it arrives.

Anticipation indeed!

More stuff tomorrow.

 Next Variety blog : Monday 28th September 


  1. Er ... how do you get 80 years of Hornby-Dublo production?