Monday, 1 March 2021

Eclipse Expectations (1)

No, not THAT Eclipse, THIS Eclipse!
It has been going since 2012 and now has new buses.
Essentially the busway uses the former branch line between Fareham and Gosport ...
... seen here as the line of greenery running from upper left to bottom right. It is called, pompously, The South East Hampshire Bus Rapid Transit as it was (maybe still is) part of a much grander plan for "rapid" (?) bus travel in the Portsmouth area. 

fbb was a little non-plussed to read reports of excellent progress on the completion of Phase 1 - which fbb though was complete and in use and has been thus for nine years. But that was a wrong impression.

Pase 1 (Part 1) ended here, on the outskirts of Gosport.

At Tichbourne Road buses to Fareham leave the normal carriageway and descend to join the former branch line, OR, as below, ascend to leave it!
It is not a guided busway, just a buses only road - and as such has to have all the legal signs and markings.
But Tichbourne Road is some way out of the flesh-pits of Gosport; so after whizzing speedily from Fareham Station, Eclipse has to join the throng of normality and hold-ups before it pulls into Gosport Bus Station.
The busway starts/ends at the green dot in the top left hand corner and Gosport bus station is the red symbol in the bottom right hand corner.

Wouldn't it ve absolutely lovely if the busway ran all the way. Surely the railway ran closer to the town centre? fbb will look at that question in tomorrow's blog, but for the moment needs to focus on the exciting completion of Phase 1 - nine years after fbb thought that Phase 1 was complete.

Phase 1 (Part 2) will take the busway a further 1 kilometre (ish) from Tichbourne Way to Rowner Road.

Currently a footpath and cycleway, work is progressing apace.
It is a big job - it is a heavy duty road after all ...
... and there are services, drainage and bus stop access to deal with.
The new end/start will be here, on Rowner Road ...
... where there is currently access to the footpath and cycleway further into town (through trees bottom centre) and back towards Fareham. There is much work here, of course, to make a new junction with Rowner Road.
Again, quite a big job! The busway will veer slightly to the right as viewed above ...
... then climb a ramp to get to the level of Rowner Road, which runs top right to bottom right on the plans above. The footpath and cycleway will continue under the bridge.

That will complete Phase 1. It seems, from the amount of work needed, that Phase 2 is a longer term aspiration.

How will the new road section affect the Eclipse routes?

Currently, E1 runs via Tichbourne Way itself, close to and parallel with the new bit of busway. 
Will it stay there? 

The E2 has a mini wiggle via Forest Way built between the Phase 1 Part 2 busway and the main A32. Will it stay there?

Or will BOTH run via the new construction?

Whilst pondering these weighty matters, fbb will, tomorrow, move on to a ticketing development and an investigation into possibilities for Phase 2 - doubtless long term possibilities given the  extended construction period of Phase 1.

Farewell To First?
fbb was never a fan of Barbie livery - too bland; and it did not sit well with partial route branding. 

The Barbie scheme for clapped out buses ...
... was even worse. Son of Barbie (Son of Barbie and Ken? Daughter of Barbie and Ken) was even worserer; a case of the bland leading the bland.
Slowly but surely corporate blandness has been giving way to colour and quality; "Creating Desire" we might say.

Let's hope that the post-Fearnley clutch of new managers will not revert to a nationwide paint scheme "to emphasise First's striving for corporate quality and go-getting policies for the 21st Century". (YUK!) The bus is, at its heart, a LOCAL product and needs to reflect that in all its marketing.

The latest "local" brand comes to First at Weymouth - the feeble remainder of the once-great Southern National.

New "new look" is definitely new and definitely a looker!
It has hints of Tilling green and  cream, plus a super splodge of not quite privatised SN green.
But it is near enough.

Nice touch, First!

 More Eclipse blog : Tuesday 2nd March 

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Sunday Variety



Today's service is live and ON-LINE.
with no congregation attending.
 Click on this link (here),
which will take you to the YouTube page.
Then click on the page for today's date.


Going Topless This Summer

It seems to be the thing to do. Once Boris lets us out of house arrest, we will, apparently, all rush out to travel on open top buses. Above is a Stagecoach "tease".

Meanwhile First Kernow's tree lopper ...

... has been spotted in operation at Minehead, doing its stuff for Buses of Somerset.
Less happily the service 20 from Weston super Mud ...
... is NOT topless. Apparently the Council (BANES - Bath and North East Somerset) have refused to carry out their statutory duty to trim the trees and want First to pay them to do it!

Seems unsatisfactory. Couldn't First Bristol borrow Kernow's "Grey Lady" and institute a bit of DIY?

Then we now have pictures of the actual buses that will operate First's new Dartmoor Explorer ...
... which will start on Sunday May 16th. That is always assuming .,..
Sadly, these are not open top but the service is planned to operate all year round and WILL be available to those with "Old Codgers" passes. A potential long day out for fbb?

'Anwell Upgrade
Hanwell Station's upgrade for the Crossrail/Elizabeth Line/TfL Rail service is now complete.
The main job had been the building of a lift tower from the north side access road, complete with anonymous Elizabeth line roundel ...
... and a lift from within the Subway that leads to Platform 2 from the Station Approach to the south.
The new Platform 2 lift has been clad in timber to match the rest of the building.
Thankfully the historic and quaintly rural station buildings remain.
More than that, the traditional station signs have been retained ...
... which is worth two or three chocolate peanuts for Notwork Rail.
The waiting room is also fettled up in a traditional and sympathetic manner.
What? No coal fire in the grate? Scandalous!

Hanwell presently has four trains an hour, two to Heathrow ...
... and two offering a connection to Reading at Hayes and Harlington. At some mysterious time in the future these four trains will dive into the real Cross Rail tunnels near Paddington and re-appear out east.

A Birthday Gift fbb Did Not Receive
'Tis a clock made to look like a standard mechanical B R shunting signal but somewhat smaller. Nice!
Many are now replaced by they new-fangled electric light thingeys - they'll never catch on!

East Midland Trains has painted one of its ex Virgin (?) HST power cars in trandition Inter City "swallow" livery and very smart it looks.
All they need now is a matching rake of coaches!

Meanwhile a computer buff has been playing with a YouTube clip of a Virgin (L N E R) liveried HST.
He has made traction and trailers appear is if painted in EMT ecclesiastical purple.
And here it was before red became purple.
fbb still prefers the InterCityl!
Somehow it looked more luxurious than blue and grey.

It's Amazing What You Don't Know
The thin, wiggly bit of Lyme Regis is a pain in the brake pedal. It gets clogged, things get stuck, often buses!
It would be nice of there were a back road that by-passed the town centre. Well, there is, BUT ...
From lower left, you can take Clappentail Lane ...
... down to the old Station hotel. Straight across into Roman Road is banned.
But you can hang a right and then a left into Haye Lane which is narrow and wiggly ...
... and leads into Roman Road - which is also narrow and wiggly.
Roman Road crosses the River Lymm on a bridge which is narrow and no wiggly (thankfully!) ...
... when you will find you way out to the official through route.

Amazingly it is a bus route!

Maybe stick to the main road?

Damory (Go Ahead) Service 71 has a near unfathomable timetable and map ...
... but you can spot the route and the bridge.

fbb really does need to explore Damory 71!

Tomorrow we are off to Gosport.

 Next Rapid Transit blog : Monday 1st March