Sunday 25 October 2020

Sunday Variety



Today's service is inside.
The fbbs will be attending.
A link can be obtained via the Church YouTube channel
(here) and clicking on the panel for today's date.

Rebuilding At Reading
Travelling west from London Paddington until 1965, you would espy a lesser station at Reading.
It was served by green painted trains of the Southern Railway/Region ...
... and located right next to the GWR (General) station. (GWT upper left, Southern centre right.
It made sense under British Railways to bring the two together, although it took nearly 20 years to do the job. But the town has a third central station, namely Reading West. It is situated south of the busy Oxford Road which runs roughly east-west. Trains for Newbury and beyond pass through before veering to the right, leaving Basingstoke and Southampton services to continue south.

These days it handles local stopping service on both routes but has, in the past, had a more lofty function. It has very long platforms ...
... because, as fbb understands it, longer distance (steam hauled, of course) expresses from the south to Birmingham and beyond would call at Reading West rather than spend ages changing ends or changing locos at Reading General. The route to Birmingham would be via the left turn at the top if the above aerial view; then a right turn at Didcot.

The station has never been well- blessed with facilities for passengers; what there was being huts accessed by steps from the road level.
Here are the original huts ...
... and here are thee modern huts.
Hardly lavish.

But the cunning plan is to erect a brand new station building at road level and under the railway bridge.
This will involve narrowing the Oxford Road (cue howls of protest from car-borne commuters) to make room for the building.
Here is a similar view today with the large advertisement hoarding giving context.
Presumably, there will be lifts somewhere, possibly along the present paths that lead up to the platforms. Or perhaps not?  Again, the hoarding is the key landmark.
Impressive, innit? Or not? The local response has been, erm, less than favourable.
The proposals will be considered in the coming months by Reading Borough Council, which has previously said the station was in need of "a major facelift".

Much of the feedback about the plans gathered by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) was critical.

Community group West Reading Together said: "This is shockingly bad. Not accessible, no pavement, and so cheap and ugly."

Councillor Sarah Hacker, who represents the town's Battle ward, said the lack of lifts was "deeply frustrating" and space should be included for them once the necessary funds become available.

Others suggested it looked like a temporary building and would not be in keeping with the character of the area.

Jon Stone, a journalist at The Independent, said: "So the plan is just to leave a shipping container on the pavement?"

Amusingly, one local news report has printed the above picture translated left to right, with very obvious backward lettering on the hoarding and the station name!
No harm done, eh? It's only Reading's local newspaper!

From The Twitterati

A New Recipe!
A suitable lunch for ex-offenders?

Germany, Made in Britain
ADL Limited (which used to be Alexander Dennis in the not too distant past) has just unveiled some nice shiny new yellow buses.
For whom, you may ask?
Berlin! The city is remarkable as one of the few places in Europe that uses double deck buses. They are most obvious, and very well used, on a main route used by tourists, namely the 100.
fbb, Mrs fbb and No 3 son have ridden the 100. It was a day of poor weather and viewing the sights through thick and dribbly condensation was less than ideal. But they did sit on the top deck!

And Madrid
Seen outside the Hitachi Factory in Newton Aycliffe, a new train for the Milan Metro.

It is good to see these "deals" contributing a little something to the UK economy for a change!

Farewell 315
The British Rail Class 315 alternating current (AC) electric multiple units are National Rail units used on suburban lines in London. They were built by British Rail Engineering Limited at Holgate Road carriage works from 1980 to 1981, and they were the fifth and final variant of British Rail's then-standard 1972 design for suburban EMUs,

The 315's "last stand" has been on the Shenfield to Liverpool Street commuter line, a service which one day in the far distant future will become past of the Elizabeth Line a.k.a. Crossrail.

The last 315 ran about a week ago.

315s have had a multi-coloured history starting with bog-standard British Rail blue and grey ...
... later with a Network SouthEast sticker added.
Then, of course, full Network SouthEast.
And, in no particular order or georaphical area, we have "one" ...
... National Express ...
...and swirly First!
Then all white (off-white?) with white doors ...
... blue doors ...
... and their final Transport For London Rail version with orange doors.
The rail simulator creators have also had some fun, as here with Hertfordshire's "Intalink" brand.
Good business of you are selling paint!

But the 315s are now history and, with eager but much delayed anticipation, we await the dramatic livery of the fully-open Elizabeth Line.

Bees In Their Bonnet Station
Some wag tweeted that maybe Northern should care for their passengers as well as their bees - then it would be a superb Nationalised franchise!

The Sturgeon Dictates!
She's even got the sheep socially distancing!

Thanks to some research from Alan, tomorrow we will have a nostalgic look back at the joys of competition in a certain East Midlands town.

 Next Northampton Nostalgia Notes : Moinday 26th October 


  1. Andrew Kleissner25 October 2020 at 07:41

    That baguette should be on the menu on the "Clink" chain of restaurants - all located within British prisons and featured on "Songs of Praise" a week or two back. Our local one hasn't yet re-opened, but the menus are "right posh" as they say in these parts:

  2. 1. The majority of the Berlin E500s are being built in Turkey, not the UK. Turkey has a trading agreement with the EU.
    2. The Hitachi metro train is visiting for an unknown reason, as the caption in Modern Railways, from which it appears the picture has been used without acknowledgement, makes very clear.
    3. Class 315s remain in service with TfL Rail between Liverpool Street and Shenfield (and will do so until platform alterations are made at Liverpool St). It is only the Arriva-provided Overground operations that have dispensed with them in favour of class 710s.

  3. Super picture of the forecourt in front of Reading General and Reading Southern stations. Several Thames Valley Bristol buses including an ex-BH&D open-top K5G used on the summer seasonal open-top service between Reading and Maidenhead (1957) or Windsor (1958/9). I believe that, at the time, it was the only inland open-top bus service in the country.

  4. Dear FB I live in Madrid and have been a fan of /daily visitor to your blog for about 4 years now. So when you mentioned my home city I perked up, but you wrote a headline containing 'Madrid' and never mentioned it again. I imagine it was to do with the tourist double deckers we have; not used on public services though. Cheers Jon