Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Heard about Happenings in Huddersfield (1)

 Today is fbb's 48th wedding anniversary; a date he shares, co-incidentally, with Mrs fbb.

A Hasty History of Huddersfield

The first railway line to cross the barrier of the Pennines from Lancashire to Yorkshire was the Manchester & Leeds Railway, which opened in 1841. The line followed the Upper Calder Valley, passing through Todmorden and Hebden Bridge before turning north at Normanton to reach Leeds. Normanton. 

For those less familiar with the geography of t'Noorth, think of the line as following very roughly the M62.

Major towns and cities such as Bradford, Dewsbury, Halifax and Huddersfield were bypassed.

The Huddersfield and Sheffield Junction Railway (H&SJR) was formed to build a line between Penistone and Huddersfield, and intended to join the Huddersfield & Manchester Railway (H&MR). After discussions between the two companies, they agreed to shared ownership of the line from that junction to the a proposed jointly owned railway station.
The outcome of this unusual agreement was the building of a railway station on an unprecedented scale to a design commissioned from York-based architect J.P. Pritchett. The builder was Joseph Kaye. When it was suggested that an inscription be added to the front of the station to name the builder, Kaye reportedly replied "the work itself would be the best record of my name".

The foundation stone of the station was laid on 9 October 1846 by Earl Fitzwilliam and a public holiday was declared, with church bells ringing from dawn to dusk.

By completion in 1850, he H&SJR had become part of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway and the H&MR had been acquired by the London & North Western Railway. The booking offices for each company were situated at the the ends of the station's grand fa├žade and are adorned with the crests of the L&YR (left) ...

... and H&MR (right). 
Both offices later became public houses.

And So To Today
It was reports locally that Huddersfield Station was to be "rebuilt and extended" that interested fbb. So, before we can try to understand what will happen, we need to explore the station today. Here is a section of a current Saturday departure list which will from a framework for or explanation.
As you can see, the cycle of ten departures repeats every hour.

First, then. we enter the station and gaze leftwards.
We will be standing on Platform 1 which carries the through First Trans-Penning Express service to Liverpool, Manchester and Manchester Airport; currently three trains every hour.
Turn sharp left and you will espy Platform 2 for the trains to Penistone and Sheffield.
We tend to forget that this service was planned to be the country's first "Tram Train" route; but the various parties chickened out in favour of the little used Sheffield to Rotherham Parkgate service. This is such a pity as the Penistone line would have been ideal for a German-style inter-urban tram with an enhanced frequency.

Across the tracks is Platform 4B. Platform 4 is a through line, but generally is operated as two bays. 4B accommodates the hourly stopping trains to Manchester.
Turning through 180 degress we can gaze at Platform 4A ... 
... whence an hourly stopper to Bradford departs.
Just beyond the Bradford train in the picture above are two bay platforms.
No 5 is not used for the 10 train cycle listed above, so we move over to Bay 6 and through platform 8.
No 6 houses the hourly stopper to Leeds whilst No 8, somewhat offset from the rest of the station ...
... is served by the three trains an hour Trans Pennine expresses to Leeds and beyond to Newcastle and Middlesbrough, the latter continuing to Redcar. The trains in the above (out of date) picture are parked in a carriage siding whilst the buildings on the left are part of a splendid goods warehouse.
The structure spanning the track is a good wagon lift.

It should be noted that some of the train services referred to are running at reduced frequency and only time will tell how much returns as we begin to escape from house arrest.

The "missing" platform 3 is, fbb guesses, next to Platform 2 and houses a community facility in an old coach.
Platform 7 may well have been the Manchester facing bay between 4b and 8.
As fbb said in a previous blog, the main station buildings are very splendid indeed but once on the platforms the ambience is, frankly disappointing.

But perhaps the up-coming developments will improve things. Tomorrow's blog reveals all!

Puzzle Picture
The open topper was at Bournemouth where two routes have been running since Easter. 

11 Bournemouth to Mudeford (every 2 hours)
12 Alum Chine to Hengistbury Head (hourly)

Carriage Shed Enhancements
This edifice has, yesterday, gained gutters and downpipes which revealed another problem for fbb to solve. The roof is slightly bowed and therefore does not quite fit on the walls. Another bodge is in the offing!

Ecclesiastical Nostalgia
Peterville Church was first illuminated in 2015 - but the wiring rusted away. Note that the East Window was fitted with stained glass ...
... but the printer ink colours faded quickly. fbb is awaiting inspiration for a more lasting way to stain-glaze for a less transitory effect.

Infrastructure Failure
Real life follows the models? Yesterday the fbb's analogue TV aerial fell off! The bracket had simply rotted away! Because fbb mansions is in visual sight of the transmitter at Stockland Hill ...
... reception of the main channels on the upstairs tellies is unimpaired.

Ornithological Opportunities
The picture is captioned, "Ready chaps; lockdown has ended"!
From an twitterer.

 Next Huddersfield blog : Thuyrsday 15th April 

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Tuesday Variety

 Puzzle Picture

No prizes for guessing that it is an open top bus operating a few days ago in glorious sunshine. But where?

And, by way of contrast, probably on the same day, a driver's eye view of the railway line to Buxton.

What a fine exemplar of the challenges of the UK weather systems! Would you really want to swap such variety for a pad on the med? Well, fbb and Mrs most definitely wouldn't!

It's A Gas In Reading.

The use of "gas" for levity and enjoyment goes back to two uses. The first is the expression "everything is gas and goiters," which is first found in print used by Charles Dickens in 1839, meaning quite satisfactory. The more direct origin of the current (well, mid 20th century) usage is from Irish slang where gas meant joke or frivolity, found used in print by James Joyce in 1914. The usage seems to have been picked up by the African American community in the US in the "Jazz Age," and the expression "it's a gas" is first found used in print by James Baldwin in 1957.

fbb never realised that the vintage BBC sitcom ...

... "All Gas and GAITERS" was a play on the phrase used by Charles Dickens.

Oh, Calamity!

But, in the continuing quest for environmentally friendly buses, the use of gas if being used yet again.

These blue single deckers are for use on the Winnersh Triangle Park and Ride ...
... above showing the obvious gas-tank bulge on the roof. The new buses maintain the blue livery of their predecessors.
Reading already has bio-gas powered double deckers on route 17.
fbb well remembers that, when gas buses first appeared, there was a definite whiff of stale chip shop about them. Presumably nowadays they are both tasteful in design and tasteless in flavour!

A grouse about a grouse?

A blog or so ago, fbb included a photo of a Coastliner bus emblazoned with a big drop-shadow "Whitby". Also, soon to be spotted, is the back-end grouse greeting us from "The Moors".

Perhaps, just this time, the lower deck rear window could have been embellished with a bit of the much derided Contravision. A grouse slashed in two by a giant Viking axe (other axes are available) rather spoils the effect.

Another First from First
A twitterer reported this bus a showing the new "Solent" logo on its electronic "blind" display. Solent is not a new name for First, buses have been so labelled for several years, notably for the X4/X5 "Solent Rangers" ...
... but this appears to be a company rebrand, not just for one route group.
At the moment it look as if City Red will remain for Southampton services ...
... and the new Solent for the rest. Surely Portsmouth City won't like that?

Buy a Famous Brummy Fleetline
Or you could have one with a later logo, now West Midlands Travel. It makes all the difference when attracting passengers! And the blue is a lighter shade.
Or, maybe, grey/silver with a red stripe ...
... or perhaps with a blue roof and a bigger stripe.

Next, try another name change. Instead of West Midlands Travel, we are now Travel West Midlands. More grist to the mill of attracting extra passengers, to be sure.
Then to complete your collection, how about the Fleetline with commemorative farewell lettering.
All these versions are available from Rapido Trains UK - each at the modest price of £55 (Hyper ouch! - but actually £54.95, a bargain!). Be warned, they are plastic not die-cast metal.

But, do not wince too much as they come fitted with internal lighting, working headlamps and illuminated destination blinds. Wowsers!

Some bus nuts operate their own fictitious fleets, in their own livery and they are not forgotten by Rapido. They can buy one in grey undercoat, also with lights; as you can see it is the "early" version.

But there is a later versions as well.
These are ten quid cheaper at £45 (actually £44.95).

To add to a collector's delirious enjoyment, there are also versions with different destinations.

If you are looking to suggest to a loved one that he/she might buy you the whole set for Christmas/Birthday/Coming out of Lockdown Part 1, there are 22 to collect; a modest total of £1,188.90.

Talking of Lights

fbb did mange to fix the little fiddly LEDs to his pub model. 
Fortuitously, when fbb cobbled together an Airfix/Dapol country inn and half a ditto bungalow, he gave the latter substantial eaves. The lights in their "trunking" sit quite happily below. From the usual viewing distance (half a mile or so) you cannot see the bodge. The internal twinklies are just poked into the parts of the building from behind and/or below.

The link "pergola" from church to hall also made hiding the wires very easy ...

... almost. Just one LED was unpokeable.
... there on the ground. There is insufficient length of wire to get it into the porch or into the body of the church. It will be covered with a bit of gaffer tape, painted to match the surrounding. LEDs are cold, so no fire risk.

The thicker wire to the battery and switch sort of disappears into the trees and is hardly noticeable.

A satisfying and satisfactory bodge. 

Next, lights for Peterville station platform; and another cunning plan is being planned, cunningly. It will use some of these:-

Talking of Skilled Modelling

It is an OO gauge 2-HAP electric unit modelled by Bachmann. The owner has set it in a typical Network South East environment with red lamp posts, the ubiquitous clunking clock and plenty of weeds. The model has been "lightly weathered".
Rails of Sheffield are currently offering this unit at a generous discount.
Fortunately, for happy on-going marital bliss, fbb's layout is not third rail electrified.


And here is the real thing, 4309, sister unit to Bachmann's 4308.
This was the last day in service for the 4 remaining 2-HAP units (4308,4309,4311 and 4313) by this date they were used to strengthen rush hours trains between Tunbridge Wells and London as Tunbridge Wells could only accommodate 10-car trains between the two tunnels. This was the last day in service for the 4 remaining 2-HAP units (4308,4309,4311 and 4313) by this date they were used to strengthen rush hours trains between Tunbridge Wells and London as Tunbridge Wells could only accommodate 10-car trains between the two tunnels.

The triangle showed platform staff at which end the luggage van was situated. The finale was in 1995.

 Next Yorkshire rail blog (mostly) : Wednesday 14th April