Monday, 15 March 2021

Monday Variety

 Farmyard Picture

This is the ventilation shaft for the Chiltern Tunnel on High Speed 2. Back in the good old days it might have looked like this:-
Maybe the HS2 objectors would prefer something this size in reinforced concrete.
Hmmm ...

Crystal Colonnade Crystal Palace - a PS
Searching for aerial views of  Paxton's Pulchritudinous Palace produced some pictures which actually showed the walkway between High Level station and the Palace itself.
Above we see it running from station (lower right) along the wall above the cutting, then making a sharp right turn to link in to a wing of the main building. And the same again below.
The pavilion to the right of the walkway was from Canada and the terrace on which the link building stands is still present in Crystal Palace Park.

Graham Farish and GB Freight
Graham Farish really found its market niche with the arrival of N scale becoming the major supplier of British outline N scale models under the GRAFAR name. 
The initial range in 1970, started with a selection of rolling stock and some track - but no locomotives. The Pannier Tank arrived in early 1971.
In 2001 the company was taken over by Kader, the parent company of Bachmann, but the Graham Farish name was retained and the range developed. Indeed this blog reported that 16 different brake vans were available in OO gauge, but you can have a choice of 19 in the current catalogue with a 20th just advertised under the Bachmann EFE brand!

It's called a "Shark" brake van, because the price bites your head off!
On-line prices vary from £33.25 plus £3.50 postage to an eye-watering £40.95 but with free postage. It's about an inch and a half long. OUCH!

But the model railway world has chosen to celebrate Graham Farish's half century based on its N gauge loco from 1971.

And GB Railfreight ...
... have named on of their just-repainted class 60s in honour of this somewhat arbitrary anniversary.
It comes complete with modern (but dainty) logo.
Graham Farish OO models date from the mid 1950s!
Woe At Wellingborough
(click on the map for an enlargement). Wellingborough is on the Midland Main Line served by East Midlands Railway (the company of ecclesiastical purple livery fame) where trains for the new electric service to Corby are being tested prior to introduction with the May timetable change.
These hand-me-down trains will run a 30 minute service from Corby, calling at Kettering, Wellingborough, Bedford and limited stop into St Pancras. Currently Wellingborough has a variety of trains southbound, but they are all real trains and fast trains with various degrees of fastness.
Currently on Mondays to Fridays the Wellingburians have EIGHT trains to London St Pancras departing between 0603 and 0807 (inclusive) which is, you would have to admit, a stonkingly good service for a small town. 
The pattern during the off peak period is for two trains an hour.

Which is not bad either!

Under the forthcoming May timetable change, the town will lose ALL its "InterCity trains which will be replaced with the half hourly Corby "commuter" train service. Here are the current departures.
In other works instead of EIGHT trains to the Capital, there will be FOUR.

Needless to say the worthy rail-borne workers from Wellingborough are not at all happy, a state of woe reported avidly in the local press.

Only two trains will reach the capital before 9am while services will also take longer to reach London St Pancras because of extra stops added to the journey.

One commuter said: "Two trains an hour in the peak is a complete disgrace. I can just about put up with the longer journey time but this is a severely retrograde step in terms of flexibility."

The refurbished Class 360 units also have a slower top speed

Another member of the Wellingborough Rail Users Facebook group, Giles Davies, added: "Stations like St Neots and Huntingdon are probably the most comparable to the new service we will get and then have a half hourly service during the day but during rush hour get four trains an hour. How it is acceptable Wellingborough will still only get an off-peak service during rush hour?"

An EMR spokesman said: "Overall, the new timetable will provide more seats, quicker journeys and a simpler and more resilient timetable for passengers. It includes significant changes to and from London St Pancras International as we introduce our new electric train service between Corby and London alongside Intercity services."

Of course, the EMR spokesman is talking twaddle to the Wellingburians. Whilst the overall service may be better with quicker trains from the north etc., this is undoubtedly at the expense of services to/from Wellingborough, particularly at peak times.
The people of Wellingborough and the residents of the huge catchment area of small towns that surround it deserve better.

Puzzle Picture
Where and what is it? There is a tenuous connection with Tim Dunn.

Answer tomorrow.

 Next even more delayed Weekernd Variety blog : Tuesday 19th March 


  1. So . . . let's look at little closer at Wellingborough:
    Population (estimated) in 2019 = 79,000 odd.
    Daily Season entries = around 750.
    Capacity of Class 360 = 264 standard / 16 first.
    Units on peak trains = 3.
    Seats per peak train = 792 / 48.
    Trains in AM peak (0555-0757) = 5.
    Seats in AM peak = 3660 / 240.
    Current average seats AM peak (see below) = say 200 x 8 = 1600 standard.
    Average journey time (new) = 56 minutes.
    Average journey time (old) = 52 minutes (one train at 47 minutes).

    So, I'd submit that Wellingboroughonians will receive the sort of train service that their town deserves; and that their current train service has grown up over time and is excessive.
    Let's not forget that their current trains are (Class 222) a right mix of seat capacities, ranging from 132 to 236 standard class seats, and that these trains will often arrive from the North pretty full up (pre-covid, of course).
    Let's also not forget that currently commuting to Bedford requires a coach link because of over-full trains, and commuting to Luton or Luton Airport is quite impossible.

    So . . . overall: many more seats; journey time not really much less; local commuting possibilities greatly improved.

    Oh . . . the line speed is only 110 MPH south of Bedford, and the 360's have all been through upgrade to 100 MPH recently.

    I submit that Wellingboroughonians really don't have that much to complain about!!

  2. Andrew Kleissner15 March 2021 at 08:01

    I have no idea of the timetabling details here ... but one would have thought that trains arriving at Wellingborough from Corby would have more free seats than those originating further north. This would be even more the case if they arrived at Kettering and Wellingborough slightly later than fast southbound services. One factor which must have also formed part of the planning is that the whole line south of Kettering will now be four-tracked with, of course, much higher occupancy south of Bedford. If nothing else, they will have wanted to avoid fast/slow line crossovers which, of course, can have repercussions on conflicting services travelling on the other lines. Presumably the new service will use the "slow" lines all the way, or perhaps just as far as Bedford, to avoid this.

  3. The good people of Wellingborough will also find that, at least initially, their "new" trains have 2+3 seating with no tables or armrests.

  4. Andrew Kleissner15 March 2021 at 14:44

    Well, the good people of Clacton and Walton had them for journeys lasting a good half-hour longer!