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 


  1. Andrew Kleissner13 April 2021 at 08:01

    If the two pictures of the Rapido bus in undercoat grey are a "spot the difference" game, I've lost.

  2. Is the rear of the Coastliner bus not an engine vent rather than a window?

  3. Reading was one of the first to take up gas buses in their latest guise. The P&R buses are displaced from Greenwave services. All of Reading's home fleet of full size single decks are gas powered ADL E300s, there are also ADL E400MMC gas buses on the 33.

  4. Picture Picture:

    The bus is a Bournemouth Transport T/A Yellow Buses and is traveling westbound on either route 11 or 12 according to Google (Yellow Buses website is not accessible). The bus is on Southbourne Coast Road above Warren Edge Carpark.

    John in Bournemouth