Saturday 17 October 2020

Saturday Variety

Diamond Brands In Manchester

First Bus never had much of an idea about route branding in Manchester, unless you count this Bury Corporation heritage livery.
Ah, those were the days!
Clever computer artists suggested something simple but practical for the 163 ...
The 163 was sold off to Diamond (Rotala Group) ...
... running every 15 minutes with just over an hour's running time.
Diamond have just begun to equip the route with they smart liveried buses ...
Do we guess that Diamond is upping the frequency? Or is the 15 minutes headway Covid temporary?

Will The "ember" Glow?
Ember (they like to write it with a lower case initial letter) is the two vehicle electric coach service between Dundee and Edinburgh.
fbb reported on its start a few weeks ago, but now Roger French has bravely travelled north to give it a try. He was impressed with the quality of service, the promptness of the timekeeping and the comfy coach seats with ample leg room.
He took an evening journey from Edinburgh and an early journey back from Dundee. The coach needs one hour in Dundee to fill up its battery for the return journey to the capital and back - by which time the tank is low enough to need a further charge. Obviously this make vehicle requirement a tad on the expensive side.

The one thing that gave Roger cause for concern was that he was the only passenger on both journeys.

Hence the question provoked by this item's heading!

Roger's blog can be read (here)

If the above link does not work, here is the URL to copy.

A Slightly More Successful Coach Service
News that Stagecoach is investing in new vehicles for The Oxford Tube, now its exclusive service between guess where and London.
As Stagecoach celebrates its 40th anniversary this month, this major investment will see 34 new coaches started to be rolled out in the company’s largest ever coach order.

The investment marks a major upgrade for the Oxford Tube service, representing Stagecoach’s ongoing commitment to improving the customer experience even during the difficult circumstances of recent months.

The 34 new coaches will offer passengers at seat charging and reading lights, free wifi, foot rests for added comfort and 3 point seat belts.

In addition, the coaches will have the leanest diesel Euro 6 engines which limit exhaust emissions. 

With sustainability being key to Stagecoaches operations and values, 5 of the 34 coaches are being fitted with solar panel systems by the multi-award-winning UK company, TRAILAR. The solar panels will be fitted to provide clean solar energy to power all on-board electrical equipment, reducing the vehicles requirement to create electrical energy via the burning of diesel.

Surfing The Narrows

A Twitterer has posted some pictures of service 666 to Luddenham school ...
... running, surprisingly, on Schooldays only. Where is Luddenham School?

The school is near the "G" of Gunpowder ...
... and the roads are narrow!
Some of the corners are, to use a technucal term "rather tight" as seen here on the "light" run back to depot.
The effect of the roadside foliage on Stagecoach's new (and pathetic) livery is know in the trade (another technical term) as "Hedge Rash"!

Several chocolate peanuts to the poor bloke/blokess who gets that duty!

Raconteur Reveals Riddle of Wrenn (2)

1950 company formed, premises at Blackheath, London specialising in quality  trackwork and points (2/3 Rail) for OO Gauge model railways

1955 company moves to Bowlers Croft, Basildon, due to business expansion including additional "TT", and "O" Gauge trackwork products

1957 G & R Wrenn becomes a Limited Company, more expansion takes place

1960 Introduction of the excellent "Wrenn Model 152 Racing Car System", very much a competitor to "Scaletrix".(Note fairly standard mis-spelling of Scalextric)

1965 Introduction by Wrenn of other products  such as "Master Mariner Set" and "Wrenn Wonder Boat", etc.

The steering mechanism used the Magnetic field induction principle, a very clever idea. The Magnetic field was created by connecting the battery across the large blue coil surrounding the pool.
Hornby Dublo collapses and is sold to Triang, but Triang products remain unchanged. In order to off-load a large stock of Dublo models and keep the brands separate ...

1966 Wrenn absorbed by Lines Brothers who owned Hornby Dublo, and tooling used to launch first Wrenn Loco "Cardiff Castle.

A large number of Dublo models started appearing under the Wrenn brand.

1967 Wrenn launch "N" Gauge railway product range, which were manufactured by Lima, Italy, and supplied to the UK market in Wrenn "packaging".

The company was beginning to "make a noise" in the Model Railway market.

1969 Pullmans appear.

Group decision to brand  and market new Wrenn products as "Triang/Wrenn"
1972 Wrenn separates from Lines Brothers Group, and an increased selection of Locomotives/Pullmans/Wagons.
The guard with flag appeared.

But the wagons were still based on Hornby's ould molds, but with Triang couplings ...
... and in a much wider range of liveries. Hornby had an O gauge tinplate Saxa wagon in their range ...
... and as the SD6 pl;astic moulded bodies appeared for OO, the bright yellow and red wagon duly appeared.

So fbb's latest acquisition, you would expect, would be a Wrenn tank wagon that used to be Hornby Dublo. Well now ...
... we shall see.

An Apology
Still fbb battles with the new "shape" of the new blogger "interface" which is harder to "ackle" than its predecessor and delivers unpredictable results. Don't shoot the blogger - he is only doing his best. Needless to say the gnomes in the official Blog-bunker do not reply to complaints.

In a NEW piece of incompetence, Blogger has arbitrarily decided to reduce the size of some text from "normal" to "small". Aaaaaargh!

 Next Sunday Variety : Sunday 18th October 


  1. From the Oxford Tube timetable it appears that Stagecoach believes the day starts at 0315 and ends at 0115. One wonders if they ever introduce an 0215 journey whether it will be shown at the start or finish of the day.

  2. From a passenger perspective I would say that is more accurate than midnight. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that most if not all passengers traveling between midnight and 2am are returning home from their outward trip the day before. After 3 gets a bit more mixed, but also more people will definitively consider it the next day.

    1. So from the passenger's perspective when does the day begin? 0300?, 0245?, 0200? In a 24-hour economy (pre and post Covid) everyone will have a different view on when is "today" and when "tomorrow". If we need to have a break point, which we do, then why not 0000?

    2. I think the choice here matches the availability of day return fares purchased the previous day - up to a certain point of the small hours but no further.

  3. Easy solution - show the troublesome nighttime times at both ends of the printed timetable!

  4. Pre-Covid,Service 163 was always every 10 Mins at better,with at one point going to every 7/8 mins at peak times during the firstbus days (think it might of been back when it was still in the hands of branded Wright Eclipses)