Saturday, 15 May 2021

Saturday Variety

Florence Gets to Work ...

... but not that Florence who was named Margotte in the original french version (Dougal was Pollux) but the not-at-all-boring machine which will start boring the Chiltern Tunnel for HS2. fbb often has to resort to technical terms and this machine is not just "big", it is "huge". Here is the HS2 official video to introduce boring Florence to an unsuspecting and admiring world.
Maybe the size of the thing is easier to comprehend from this view with Florence alongside some puny little road vehicles.
Yep; it is "very big"!!
In case you are unaware of what "the beast" does; it digs with a gurt big drill thing at the front ...
... dumping the crud on a conveyor which takes it out the back. As the head edges forward, huge hydraulic arms build a segmented ring of cast concrete bits which arrive near the front ...
... having been loaded at the back.

And talking of HS2
Pictures are published on the interwebnet of the magnificent Colne Valley viaduct.
Of course, fbb was surprised to read that HS2 was already under detailed planning for its lines in Lancashire ...
... until he realised that there is another Colne Valley. It is near to London and the viaduct is seen here ... 
... crossing near the marina, then over the Grand Union Canal and curving on northwards at Green Bridge towards the aforementioned Chiltern tunnel..
This Colne Valley is near Denham in Bucks!

Meanwhile, in Birmingham, design work is under way to develop the Curzon Street terminus.
Whatever your views on HS2 (and the anti brigade seem very good at scare-mongering) you cannot fail to be impressed with the quality of the engineering. It will be a spectacular line!

As We Were Saying
Southampton has a plan.
As we have come to expect, it is packed with pontificating platitudes ...
... and pretty pictures.
But there is going to be a "mass transit system" ...
... again with a pretty picture.
But have no fear, dear readers; you need not slaver too excitedly at the prospect of a fully integrated, one ticket, all mode network for the whole community ...

... because ...
... the new Blue council looks like abandoning the plans of the old Red Council.

At least it is the right way round - unlike Cambridge!

A Natty Design For A "Smaller" Station
Unbeknown to most of us, there has recently been a competition to come up with a prize willing design for a smaller station.  The winning proposal looks very "Dutch" in style ...
... and certainly fits the description of an "open" station.
The clock tower is nice, but why do the passengers have to leave the confines of the canopies to walk to the footbridge in the possible pouring rain?

You might wonder where this little morsel of modernity is located. A second "artist's impression" from street level may astound our well read readers.
Widmerpool (just south of Nottingham) must have grown a great deal since fbb last passed through. It has grown a great deal since Google Earth's satellite flew over!
It once had a station; needless to say some distance from the village and off the map, top right. It was on the line between Nottingham, Melton Mowbray, Oakham, Corby and Kettering.
Here it is in happier days ...
... with the main station building on the east side of the tracks. The building remains ...
... in a much extended and adapted form as The Pullman Inn, formerly The Schooner Inn.
The down side platform shelter also still stands ...
... and appears to be in good condition.
Despite the electrification, fbb is not expecting a frequent commuter service from Nottingham in the near future. The old man suspects that the string is to get trains into the test tracks at nearby Old Dalby.

Nor is there any current plan for the Widmerpool New City!

Should you feel a great yen to visit Widmerpool by public transport, at least until the new station opens (!!!???) you would need Nottsbus Connect 863 ...
... but best not plan for a long visit - or, instead, book an overnight!
You would also need to get to Keyworth or Ruddington. both much better served than Widmerpool.

In the back of fbb's increasingly dodgy memory is the idea that Wysall, Widmerpool and Willoughby (The Thee Ws) were served by the much loved Barton bus company.
Latterly Paul Winson ran a tendered route 63 which was replaced by the current 863.

 More Variety : Sunday 16th May 


  1. Just a small point:-
    I think Widmerpool is actually on what used to be called the Old Dalby Test Track, and that it extends as far as Edwalton in the Nottingham direction.
    It is accessed from the Melton Mowbray end.

  2. Your memory is correct that the three W's were served by Barton - route 12 Nottingham - Leicester via a lot of villages. This lost its through passengers to a vastly improved rail service and gradually faded away.

    The main road past the station, just visible in the corner of your map extract, is Nottingham - Melton Mowbray, also served by Barton for many years; now by Centrebus 19, though much less frequently than in Barton days.