Tuesday 31 August 2021

Branch, Boat, Bus and Beer at Brentford (1)

Sheffield P.S.

Correspondednt Roy has pointed out a bit of a booboo from First (presumably). Service 97 and 98 do NOT stop on High Street in Sheffield Centre. They were banished when Pinstone Street was closed temporarily/permanently (delete where inapplicable). On the previous PTE timetable ...
... Arundel Gate is shown correctly, as it is on the PTE map, stop AG123!
According to their current web site (as of yesterday) First do not have a service 97/98!
But, showing almost unbeliveable perspicacity, fbb has actually found service 97/98 in First's data. As part of the ongoing policy of Building Back Better, 97/98 are well hidden, filed under school service 798 ...
... where the public has absolutely no chance of finding them! At least THIS version of the timetable has Arundel Gate rather than High Street.
Meanwhuile, First's route map has not been updated and still shows the Totley-bound (southbound) city centre stop as an incorrect High Street, not the correct Arundel Gate.
The Arundel Gate "blob" is for northbound journeys.

And Nylons?

Two buildings have carried the Brentford Nylons name; one alongside the M4 viaduct ...
... and one on the good old Great West Road.
Neither of them exists today and neither of them is the building featured in the Alan "Fluff" Freeman advert!
Moral : don't ever believe a word of what is supplied on any advert! You really can tell Stork for Butter and always could!

Brentford Nylons The purveyor of nylon bedding, shirts and slacks, famous for its iconic 1970s adverts starring Alan Freeman, went into administration in February 1976. The name disappeared from British life after the company was sold in 1997 to become Cramlington Textiles.

Brentford has a bit more history than the M4 viaduct, seen here joining the A4 just east of the river Brent!
The settlement pre-dates the Roman occupation of Britain, and thus pre-dates the founding of nearby London. The quality and quantity of the artefacts suggests that Brentford was a meeting point for pre-Romanic tribes. One well known Iron Age piece from about 100 BC to AD 50 is the Brentford horn-cap, a ceremonial chariot fitting that formed part of local antiquarian Thomas Layton's collection, now held by the Museum of London.
The Celtic knot pattern (the 'Brentford Knot') on this item has been copied for use on modern jewellery - and other items of persoanl adornmernt.
Brentford is part of the London Borough of Houslow ...
... but the electoral ward of "Brentford" ...
... doesn't include a lot of bits that would be classed geographically as the real Brentford.
Brentfod Station (served from Waterloo) ...
... most of the River Brent and the site of the Battle of Brentford are all in "Syon", taking its name from Syon house.
From a railway point of view, in addition to the extra-curricular Brentford, Kew Bridge just creeps in in the West.
Most meorably, the magnificent Boston Manor, on the Piccadilly Line, is on the very western edge.
There are plenty of buses, BUT ...

As part of its Building Back Better campaign, Traansport for London has been deleting all maps from its web sites, including many of the marginally useful "Spider" maps. Some of the remaining "spiders" leave a lot to be desired. Everything in the current Brenford arachnid is orientated north and south ...
... with no regard for anything that might just be remotely geographically understandable. "Southbound" is similar.
And, of course, we all know what Griffin Park is?

Don't we?

We find out when we consult the bus stop map.
Yep! It's the home of Brentford Football Club!

But in tomorrow's blog we travel to a rather unassuming platform at Southall Station on the Great Western Main Line from Paddington.

 Next Brentford etc blog : Wednesday 1st September 

Monday 30 August 2021

Bank Holiday Monday Variety


In "Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan" the topic is introduced. The idea that you might be able to replicate the Creation of Genesis Chapter 1 using molecular rebuilding is one of the themes of science fiction. Whilst it seems unlikely that human ingenuity will ever match the creative power of God, the story continues the idea in Star Trek III whereby a dead and buried Spock is resurrected! Very Biblical, Star Trek!

The builder of a model railway is often led into Terraforming in OO gauge. fbb left a gap between the carriyange shed (Mark 1 - it dropped to bits last year) and the tracks beyond.
This chasm was to be filled with a "rock" embankment as part of the quarry in which this fictitious railway infrastructure was set.

But it was a bit of a disaster. Here is the dilapidated bit of junk that evolved.
The observant will espy holes in the top and bits of plywood (bottom left) where any semblance of rock face has crumbled, rotted or otherwise vanished! Attempts to patch and paint were equally futile.
So fbb gets plastered! A couple of cooking bowls of Tetrion filler (plaster of Paris cunningly disguised and much more expensive!) were wodged on to the basic structure which had previously been dried thoroughly in the hallway of fbb mansions.
Next came a good lavish dolloping of matt polyurethane varnish. Although supposedly "clear" is has a slight brown tinge when applied, but by yesterday morning, via some strange act of chemical reactivity, this had turned into a greenish tinge, ideal for adding scrub, bushes and plentiful OO scale weeds.
A test re-installation of the terraformed embankment shows considerable potential.
Even before foliation, it looks less of a mess. Now where is Spock's coffin?

Continuing the Biblical theme (?), correspondent Peter shared fbb's cynicism about the Rail Delivery Group's enthusiasm for increased ticket sales for the Bank holiday weekend which, when they wrote it, had not yet happened. He writes:-

Re Saturday's blog, I wonder how the Rail Delivery Group can possibly say that ticket sales are up over the bank holiday weekend for seaside destinations.

Great Western's on line ticket booking page has consistently, for over a fortnight, been denying the ability to buy tickets on the popular Looe branch.  Bearing in mind the absence of printed timetables, the ticket booking site has been the second best way to plan journeys.  My attempt to plan a rail journey from my local station, Looe, to Plymouth ten days ago produced the following unhelpful result.
Apart from the 1208 departure, "No Tickets Available"!

Considering that tickets from Looe can only be bought on the train, it's easy to imagine the reaction of the average tourist. "We'd better take the car, then".

Checking the website today, to see if anything had improved, it seems to have only got worse.

It now suggests that there are NO trains that could get you from Looe to Plymouth!
This is despite the fact that Realtime Trains confirms that services are running normally on the branch and on the main line.

Against this background of a train operator miserably failing to market its product, the RDG claim that ticket sales are up sadly rings hollow, in this particular seaside location.

fbb had a look yesterday afternoon. Clearly sitting in Seaton is more acceptable to the deep throat confusers at Great Western Railway, BUT ...
... what might have happened if, say, fbb had turned up at Looe for the 1845. How would the conductor guard KNOW which passenger was the last to be allowed on the train? Or would fbb be turfed off at  St Keyne ...
... not a thriving centre of population.
From here he could walk to Liskeard, but its up hill; so maybe visit the Wishing Well in the hope of being able to wish a ticket on the next train. Or maybe wish for a SENSIBLE web site?

No that would be too much to ask.

Stockport : Mersey, Misery and Magnificence!
Stockport said goodbye to its bus station after the end of service on Saturday 28th,
This facility had seen batter days and was very much in need of "treatment". So it is farewell to the gloomy approaches underneath the arches ...
... so long to the toilets (closed!) ...
... and adieu to Reggies Chippy!
When it was opened (in 1981 - not as old as many more venerable facilities!) it was shiny and "state of the art".
It replaced stops on-street mainly in Mersey Square ...
... once the home of Stockport Corporation buses.
Intriguingly, the arrangements for temporary stops during the rebuild take some buses back to Misery Square; but a very different square from either of the above! The stone balustrade on the left remains ...
... but not much else! Other stops will be on the main road ...
... and at a temporary bus station across the River Mersey.

But the big mystery is in the design of the bus station itself. The people of Stockport were promised something spectacular - a bus station with an urban park (OK, a small urban park) on the roof.
More recent shots show the same bus station layout but with a definite lack of park-on-roof!
Which will it be?

And will the Himalayan ascent to the railway station be made any easier?  Its looks a long way round on the map.
It's up there, somewhere!
There's some steps through a bit of scrubland ...
... which come out here, far right.
The station entrance is round to the left ...
... Good, Innit?

Tomorrow we go to Brentford ...
...but did they ever sell nylons? Ot maybe to Three Bridges ...
... ot maybe just to buy a pint!

 Next Beer, Branch & Bus blog : Tuesday 31st August