Saturday 12 December 2020

Saturday Variety

fbb's Christmas Arrangements

What with Covid19, Brexit, the USA Presidential Election, Sister's funeral to organise and lead inc travel to/from Isle of Wight, family visiting sunny Seaton at Christmas (and after), little boxes of cakes, sarnies and other goodies to assemble and deliver to our Sunday's Best congregation, multiple complaints from Mr Tubbles to deal with, AND a recalcitrant incisor to excise (ooh nasty) - mini Blogs only** will be published from Tuesday 22nd December to Thursday 31st December inclusive. Oh, yes, fbb nearly forgot. The internet at Seaton keeps "dropping out" at unpredictable times adding to technological frustration and delaying the process of blogging!

** unless some really dramatic transport news is announced, like a new easy to understand fares system for the railways, a series of printed timetable leaflets in Sheffield or a usable web site from Arriva.

Feeling Blue : Nanking Blue?
The company is best known for its Railtours operated under the "Statesman Raikl" name.

In August 2017, LSL was granted an operating licence by the Office of Rail & Road allowing it to operate mainline trains in the United Kingdom.[2] Based at Crewe Diesel TMD, it is owned by Jeremy Hosking, It operated its first tour from Crewe to Kingussie in March 2018.

It built up a fleet of Class 08s, 37s and 47s, mainly acquired from Direct Rail Services. In December 2017, it purchased two Class 55s: D9000 and D9016. The former is being restored at LSL's Crewe depot, whilst the latter has been cosmetically restored and transferred to the company's One: to One Collection facility in Margate.

In August 2018, preserved Class 40 D213 Andania joined LSL on a three-year lease. In 2020, a Class 86, Class 87, two Class 90s and an InterCity 125 set were purchased.

What has excited the ferroequinological enthusiast community is that the "InterCity 125" a k a High Speed Train, has been outshopped in Midland Pullman livery.

Launched in July 1960, The Midland Pullman ran every weekday, up to London in the morning and down to Manchester in the evening. To fill in between these turns, there was an afternoon return trip from St Pancras to Nottingham described by railway staff as "The most luxurious coaches in the world." The train had two kitchens, and a full meal service was provided at every seat.
The livery does look rather fine on the HST ...
... and it is enhnaced by correct Midland Pullman lettering and crests.
The colour is derived from traditional antique Chinese porcelain ...
... but, as is often the case, the shade of blue does vary. In the case of the Pullman version, the blue is very susceptible to light levels and can appear very different in different photographs.

An OO gauge modeller can own a six car set ...
... for a snip at £500. Too long, sadly, for fbb's minuscule outdoor layout so Mrs fbb need not think this is a hint. Triang made one as well, sold as a three car set but with the opportunity of adding extra coaches. They do pop up from time to time in the second-hand market.
This one was on offer for £66. There are, as may be expected, plenty available a certain auction site!

Will any manufacturer be selling the HST version? No doubt some modellers adept at using a small fiddly paintbrush (so not fbb!) will be repainting their own.

Milk Bar Magnificent
In Australia, the ever reliable (?) Wikipedia tells fbb, a Milk Bar is a smalll general store selling groceries etc and, usually but not always, milk shakes.

The first business using the name "milk bar" was started in India in 1930 by an Englishman, James Meadow Charles when he opened "Lake View Milk Bar" at Bangalore. The concept soon spread to the United Kingdom, where it was encouraged by the Temperance Society as a morally acceptable alternative to the pub, and over 1,000 milk bars had opened nationally by the end of 1936. 

Mary's Milk Bar in the Old Town in Edinburgh is something of an institution ..
... even with environmentally friendly accoutrements!
Her menu is wide-ranging but linked by a lactose theme.
She also sells home-made chocolate and, surprisingly ...

But how's this for a Milk Bar?
Probably pictured in the late 1930s it is likely to be one of the last places you would expect to see a large and busy Milk Bar. Answer later.

How's YOUR Collection Going?
Grey Green was well known as a coach and tour operator, but raised a few eyebrows when the company won a contract to operate London Transport's route 24 from Hampstead Heath ...
... to Pimlico - a route now firmly in the hands of Boris Buses.
Grey Green (or the Cowie Group) morphed into Arriva, the first of many made-up named to grace thee industry for many years, many of them beginning with "A"!

Arriva livery began with mid blue and a creamy splodge (called "sand") ...
... followed by a smaller Sandy Swirl (sounds like a music hall entertainer!) with a dark blue skirt (an even stranger music hall entertainer?) and occasional half-hearted route branding.

Next came the craze for "premium" services which brought Sapphire to Arriva-Land.
There were various combinations of blue, light at the front and darker at the back. Then these were swapped round and we have a rich royal blue at the front for Sapphire and a very dull mud blue for Max. Many bus watchers are still wondering what the difference is between the two brands.

Then if there is any sort of electricity (or gas?) involved in propulsion you get splodges of green.
The Liverpool Airport service 500 (currently hived off to Selwyns) had had two non standard Arriva paint jobs. Dark Blue and White (?) ...
...and normal Arriva blue plus a puce front.
But for bog standard bus routes, Arriva seems to have settled on light blue with a gently curved stripey bit that look like a straight line but isn't.
Two snippets. The whole "image" looks to have been pastiched by Diamond Bus in Manchester ...
... and Roger French spotted this unhelpful bit of branding on his recent expedition to sample Fast Track on the borders of Kent.
As\ Roger wrote at the time, "Someone obviously thought it looked good."
The 477 does, indeed, serve ley Hospital but with an added\Swan! Or at least it might do; no such destination appears on the helpful PDF timetable ...
... as is clearly shown.

But keep on collecting those Arriva liveries. The all-over light blue plus stripe has been going for some months now, so time for a change in the new year?

Oops, nearly forgot - Arriva Click.

And A Puzzle Question
Who is this; and what is her connection with Public Transport? Answer tomorrow.

And A Puzzle Answer
The Milk Bar was at Glasgow Central Station. The wood-faced buildings as above are the clue.

Milk? Scotsman?

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 13th December 


 fbb's Alphabetical Advent Calendar 

The Greeks had a word for it! Actually in the New Testament of the Bible, they had FOUR words for it.

Eros (Pronounced: AIR-ohs) is the Greek word for sensual or romantic love. Bluntly the love that reveals itself through "sex".
In the Bible, this eros "love" is reserved for a life-long marriage between man and woman, a marriage made in the name and presence of God.

Storge (Pronounced: STOR-jay) describes family love, the affectionate bond that develops naturally between parents and children ...
... and brothers and sisters.

Philia (Pronounced: FILL-ee-uh) describes the powerful emotional bond seen in deep friendships ...
... A purposeful commitment. A man lays down his life for a friend.

Agape (Pronounced: Uh-GAH-pay) is immeasurable, incomparable and undeserved love for humankind. It is the divine love that comes from God.
Agape love is perfect, unconditional, sacrificial, and pure.
All we have to do is to live the way God ordains, and when we mess up (which we all do), be honest enough to go to Him for forgiveness and strength to do better.

  CHRIST  mas  becomes Easter! Eros becomes Storge becomes Agape becomes Philia.

The composite screenshot above is from the Garth Hewitt  CHRIST  mas  song, "Thorn in The Straw," one of the best seasonal songs ever.


  1. The 477 serves Darent Valley Hospital rather than Swanley. The timetable is appalling though. I live near Orpington and have never heard of Derry Downs! A shame because they used to publish very clear timetables.

  2. Interesting to see your comments on the (un)usabilty of the new Arriva website too.

    I emailed Arriva 3 months ago saying the design was clean and the website seemed quicker but the actual data provision was naff. I vaguely gave them 5 areas for improvement:
    1. Under Locations > Herts & Essex > choose a town or city, there is no option for Colchester. We have a number of services here and should also have a network map.
    2. Services and timetables > Download timetables, the timetable generation is horrendous, showing far too many timing points and split awkwardly over pages. Also, the timetables are wrong.
    3. Services and timetables > Download timetables, there is no way to filter this by area and ordering is strange showing 1...10...100 etc before 11.
    4. Services and timetables > Download timetables, some routes have been split in a way that doesn't make usage easier (Southend 7 and 8, Colchester 77 and 77A should be grouped together for example).
    5. Finally a suggestion, a separate page just for network maps would help those who are not knowledgeable on an area to get an overview of your services. Then they can drill down to the specific service they need.

    3 months on and I can confirm they have fixed...none of these. Even better when I use the locate me function, it correctly states Colchester but says there are no services within 1 mile. Strange as I live 30 seconds from a bus stop Arriva serve, and they have 5 services within the Colchester area.

    I would hate to be a propective customer of theirs up here.