Sunday, 28 March 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.

Corporate Policy from Crazy People
Stagecoach's Falcon, running hourly from Plymouth to Bristol (and fbb did the round trip soon after the service started - in one go!) has been one of the highlights of recent bus business development. Its distinctive vehicles stand out on the main roads and at the main stops. It has the "wow" factor.

So what do the big cheeses at Stagecoach do? They ruin the image by introducing their corporate "express" service livery ...

... which looks a bit like something doing motorway maintenance with a big muddy splodge on the back. Do not worry, say the design gurus, you can put the Falcon logo on it.

So that's all right then.

It is not so much  "Creating Desire" (as they say) but "Stifling Desire"!

Puzzle Picture
It appeared as part of a twitter from Go Ahead North East and, if the twit did say what it was, fbb has forgotten. It looks like it is at a bus depot.

Coffee Machine?
Juke Box?
Battery Charger for Electric Buses?
Recent Arrival from Planet Zog?
Hyper-Posh Tool Chest?
Make-Up Table For Staff?
Hybrid Bus Power Pack?

No answer tomorrow as fbb does not know!

Didcot Dilemma
Above is Didcot shopping centre sometime after WW2. Now Didcot has "The Orchard" Centre ...
... and fbb is won't to ask, "Where did that come from".
There is a ORANGE road which passes the station and turns south to join the A4130, the RED road, the Broadway, where be the former original shops. A few more roads have since appeared!
That road, from town to station (white on the new map), is called, with consummate originality, Station Road. As you travel southbound there is a row of "council" houses on your right ...
... and on your left WAS Didcot Town footy ground and a small rather dilapidated industrial estate.
That's where Sainsburys and The Orchard Centre have appeared, seen below with the Station Road housing just visible between the trees.
The X2 from Oxford terminates at Sainsburys, possibly here ...
... fbb cannot be sure. Maybe Thames Travel's route map may help?
Drat! It is one of those google overlap things which fbb does not like. But we can zoom in ...
... although fbb cannot show you the stop as it appears to be a pedestrian precinct wherein Streetview is not allowed. Here is the view looking south ...
... and looking north from Broadway.
Maybe Station Road now has a touch of the bus operators despised disease, the dreaded "rising bollards". 

So  the X2 goes round a big loop in Didcot?
Nope, it goes back to the station, presumably the way it has come ...
... although, according to Google, the station has moved ...
... to Robin Way ...
... well away from the tracks. Perhaps there is a subway from Mrs Miggins back room; she lives in the house on the left.

As is absolutely clear (NOT) from Thames Travel's map ...
... the NX2 runs anti-clockwise round that loop.

Yet another illustration of how beneficial modern technology is in the bus industry's desire to confuse its customers.

And, before any writes a comment; the Didcot area map from Thames Travel ...
... shows the NX2 as PINK dots - but doesn't tell you which way round it goes.

Endison's By The Truckload
fbb has been enjoying his 'Endo's on fish, chips, burgers and jam roly-poly**. But now, Rails of Sheffield have commissioned an 'Endo's wagon from manufacturer Bachmann.
It is very, erm, ORANGE and comes with a dinky miniature of real 'Endison's for your delectation.
Sweet. It comes at a delicious and spicy price - £20 plus £4 postage and, no, fbb isn't going to. Gifts, of course, are always welcome.

The saucy company has never operated railway wagons in any livery!

** Of course, it's a joke. You would never adulterate good and honest 'Endo's by pairing it with burgers - shameful!

 Next Route Revisions blog : Monday 29th March 

Poignant Signals on Palm Sunday
Over the years, there has been much debate about the events of the last Sunday before Jesus' death. How come he was welcomed with praise and rejoicing then, five days later, the crowds were baying for his crucifixion.

What changed.

The answer was that nothing changed and everything changed.
It is all about the "signals". 

They brought the donkey to Jesus, threw their cloaks over the animal, and Jesus got on. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches in the field and spread them on the road. The people who were in front and those who followed behind began to shout, “Praise God! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! God bless the coming kingdom of King David, our father! Praise be to God!”

Everything that happened was a signal, showing who Jesus was and why he came:-

Donkey : coming in peaceful victory
          A military victor would arrive armed and on a war horse
Cloaks : utter commitment and worship
          We give everything to our King
Palms : recognition of kingly saintly authority
           The readily available alternative to the laurel head dress
Name of the Lord : God's man of the moment
            A King but a servant of God
Kingdom of David : recognition of his Royal Line
            His human family tree led back to King David
Praise God (Hosanna) : God's man WAS God on earth
            This is ALL God's doing

All this was theologically, biblically and historically correct, fulfilling the many prophecies of the  expected Saviour of the World.

But how could all of this be achieved?

That's Easter!



  1. It never ceases to amaze me how the corporate giants seem to be hell bent on destroying a good brand. First went through this years ago and look what happened to them. Notice stagecoach that First SW are on the up with nice recognisable local branding!

  2. Indeed, but it is worse with the SC Falcon as the first repaint into cheap school bus yellow doesn't even have the small inadequate Falcon logo on it at all like the second!!!!!!!!!! Agree with comment re First & SC above.

  3. The SW Falcon livery: If you are standing, waiting at a bus stop, then a vehicle with a large windscreen and black painted front will certainly not "stand out" in the traffic as well as one with bright yellow paint. Admittedly, most of the yellow is too low down to be really effective when viewed from a distance, but it is better than nothing. As such, I cannot see that the loss of the previous Falcon livery is anything to shed too many tears over!

    The Thames Travel Didcot area map: It doesn't tell you which way round the NX2 goes. Quite right. It doesn't go around anything - it terminates at the railway station. There are no pink dots leading north west from the station!

    1. FBB could have found out by looking at the timetable from Didcot, which has a timing point at Asda....

    2. I though the X2/NX2 service was fairly simple until FBB mentioned loops - ie they both broadly follow a shared corridor from Oxford, but split close to Didcot, with the X2 serving Milton Park and entering Didcot along Milton Rd and Station Rd, serving the Station first and then terminating at the Orchard Centre; whereas NX2 runs along the A4130 before running south around Didcot, serving ASDA and then Orchard Centre and terminating at the station? I don't know Didcot well and might be misunderstanding, but where does FBB's loop come from?

    3. There is no loop. The Didcot map Fbb shows in excerpt, and looking at the timetable, clearly shows that The two services operate in the fashion you describe. Presumably there is little need for a nightbus ervice to a business park, but it provides late journeys to Great Western Park.

      The confusion, such as there is any, arises from the Google Overlay, where it doesn't seem possible to separate the X2 from the NX2 routings. At best, this would be confusing in implying that services go both ways (but not if looked at in conjunction with the timetable...), but it does not at any point imply a loop. FBB appears to have imagined that!

      I'm sure a quick word to OBC/Thames Travel and would lead to a revision of the map and the "problem" would be solved.

    4. Thanks for explaining. The Google maps overlay labels the two 'arms' for me, but perhaps that isn't the case. I can see that that without labels the overlay might be confusing, but the network map and timetable seem clear.

    5. *isn't the case on all devices

  4. I'm with FBB on the Falcon livery - the new scheme is a retrograde step from what before.

    What is especially ludicrous is if you go back to all the corporate guff from when Stagecoach introduced the new livery. The driver behind the rebrand was to "simplify, modernise and enhance its customer experience, whilst reaffirming the customer-first approach that runs through everything it does" and "created a new simplified and clearly colour coded design for its various bus services to make it easier and instantly recognisable for passengers to identify their required service".

    Yet now we have two "amber yellow" longer distance liveried services departing Plymouth - Gold to Torquay via Totnes and then Falcon to Bristol via Exeter. Yet your Explorer ticket that is valid on the yellow bus heading eastwards from Plymouth isn't valid on the yellow coach heading northward! How is that making it simpler for customers.

    Having Falcon as a stand-alone brand made perfect sense given it has stand-alone fares. Merging everything into one long distance brand serves only to cause confusion.

    1. I believe Explorer tickets are valid on Falcon between Plymouth and Tiverton

  5. I do recall seeing rising bollards on that road. Can't recall if they actually worked though...

  6. Explorers valid Plymouth to Taunton. Falcon makes much of its money from people using the airport, including tourists, and the rebrand makes the brand stand out far less so is retrograde in my opinion. Also a big waste of money.

    1. Thanks - yes the Stagecoach website is again a little confusing. It has two tickets marketed as Explorer - one is actually the DDC all operators ticket (Devon Day Bus) which says it's not valid on the South West Falcon (although the map showing area of validity does include the Falcon). The other is Stagecoach's South West Explorer which as you say is valid on the Falcon (although again the validity map shows the Falcon all the way to Bristol). Having two explorer tickets, both with maps showing areas covered that are at odds with the terms and conditions of the ticket hardly ticks the box simplifying travel though...

  7. The devon ticket is a council one valid on most devon bus services of most operators but not Falcon. The Explorer is only valid on Stagecoach. Stagecoach sell both although most drivers struggle to find the Devon Day ticket, particularly city drivers in Exeter. I usually travel free to town and end up buying it on the first country bus I use.