Saturday 4 September 2021

Saturday Variety

Terraforming Progress - Foliating?

The embankment, a visual "break" between workshop/carriage shed and the main lines has been fully plastered (Tetrioned) and matt warnished but clearly needs foliage. On real embankments all sorts of "stuff" will grow and Notwork Rail struggles to keep it under control! Fortunately, fbb's is plastic and doesn't grow. So on goes a selelction of stuff.
There is the inevitable panscrub scrub, bits of bright green twiggy stuff which will probably fall off when it rains and some old trees which once sprouted on top of the tunnel ...
... but have lost their colour as a result of real outdoor weather. So yesterday was a pleasurable bit of modelling therapy as the whole lot was merged with the help of various colours of paint. There is something very enjoyable in splodging on bits of green, yellow and blue ...
... to bring life to the scene.

The dull brown trees have been "refoliated" and look better for the treatment.
As with most of fbb's scenery, the whole embankment unit is just "positioned" on the layout and can be removed for futher modification and repair. Hopefully it will last longer than the previous effort. 
As the man on the PlusNet advert is wont to say, "That'll do!".

Developments At Denmark Hill
It is just along the "South London Line" bit of the Overground, east of Clapham Jct. 

Wikipedia gives a summary of all trains calling or passing through dated for 2018. There will have been detailed changes since!
The station is located just off the road from which its name is derived, a reasonable distance from the main shopping area ...
... which has changed a bit since the above postcard was issued in 1905!
The tower and the trees are still there! "There" is Camberwell Green.
As well as serving residential areas, the station is ideal for two hospitals and the William Booth College for budding Salvation Army officers.
The main station building is of a wonderful Italianate design offering a splendid entrance to the four platforms below.
Only it doesn't!

By the late 1970s the building had been neglected. In March 1980, arsonists broke into the booking hall and the resulting fire destroyed the roof. Initial work by British Rail engineers to make the building safe by demolishing parts of the remaining building triggered a protest campaign by the Camberwell Society. Following a joint initiative between them, the Southwark Environment Trust and the British Rail Director of the Environment, Bernard Kaukas, the building was restored in 1985 at a cost of £300,000 (equivalent to about one million today).
The project included the addition of a pub, initially called the Phoenix and Firkin to commemorate the fire, then called O'Neills and now the Phoenix. The building was given a Civic Trust award in 2009.

A new (and, by comparison, pathetic) entrance has been created on Champion Park, round the corner.
On the opposite side of the cutting wherein are hidden the platforms, is Windsor Walk. A Streetview from here shows new lifts and footbridge under construction.
The new layout is shown on the aerial view below.
The new entrance mirrors the architectural non-event of the "existing entrance".
This magnificent pile of grey boredom was recently declared open, to delight the blearty eyed morning commuters by none other than Sandi Toksvig, currently chair of the TV quiz "QI".
Whilst Ms Toksvig sang an aria from La Boheme, Chris Heaton-Harris (rail minister this week) cut the tape.
The station has "heritage gates" in the wall by the new entrance (Wow!) ...
 ... and an "artwork" (Double Wow!).
The headlines invent a new phrase to describe the new facility.
fbb has absolutely no idea what "Carbon Positive" means.

Does anyone?

Brentford Last Stop On The Spot!
Thanks to correspondent Jake for an immediate response.

I’m one of the friends who organised a visit there last Friday so after reading your blog on the matter today, I thought I’d let you know our experience.

We booked as a group of London bus drivers so I’m sure we were going to be looked after as one of the members of the party knew the owner and his partner well however looking at the atmosphere it’s how everyone is treated.

We called ahead as there were 8 of us going to book a table (booking is advisable if more than 4 of you) which was honoured and we had two tables under the main gazebo which is where the bar is.
There’s 3 RM’s which are used for tables (can book top or bottom deck) of which one of them is equipped with a music/karaoke machine.

Hmm. Might give that location a miss with Mrs fbb!

Food and drink are ordered through QR codes on the tables and then food is cooked fresh (and very delicious!) in a Leyland Titan which is on the site and been converted to a kitchen.

Transport for Cornwall : Troublesome Crisis
Remember those competitive services announced by TfC? Was it a poke in the eye for First or a desperate attempt by TfC to make some money to support their low-cost contract?
Well most of it is not going to happen!
Here is the full statement.

Regrettably we are having to postpone or amend the start of our new services F1 / F2, 25B and 26A that were due to come into effect from Sunday 5th September.

This is due to challenges we are facing with staff availability, a problem facing many transport operators. We believe this delay will be short term as we move through the current spike of absence and progress the training of over 40 new drivers in our recruitment system.

This decision has been made to make sure that we focus all of our available resource to the bus services that we currently operate, including the provision of many school transport services.

This means, we are postponing the launch of the F1/F2 between Falmouth and Truro and the 26A between Bodmin and St Austell. However, the 26 will start as planned, providing an hourly service between the two towns, operating via Bugle.

The service attacking First's U1 between Falmouth and Truro ...
... will not happen at all whilst the proposed half hourly 26/26A versus First's 27 is reduced to hourly.
Improvements to TfC's 25 are also cancelled.
We are doing everything we can to resolve these challenges and secure a revised launch date for these new services, which we anticipate will be achievable in October.  We will advise of a revised start date as soon as possible.

We apologise for all inconvenience this decision may cause to our customers and thank you in anticipation of your patience and understanding at this time.

Having issued all the publicity, this is a bit of a climb-down for Go Ahead. Is it really indicative of staff shortage or perhaps a touch of ...

The fbbs are starting their Christian meetings this weekend but in a revised form to see how things go. Instead of a monthly Sunday afternoon with tea in Seaton Council offices together with a fortnightly bible study (biccies and tea only!), duplicate "happenings" on Sunday and Monday are being held at fbb mansions.

Not everyone from 18 months ago has said they will return - virus fear is still very present - but about 25 will be attending over the two meetings. This is an encouraging start but may presage some reduction in blogging content on Monday and Tuesday.

A monthly leaflet is still being produced for prayer supporters and for those that, as yet, feel unable to attend.

Yesterday was cleaning the carpets!

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 5th September 


  1. City Bus sensibly realised running new competitive routes whilst potentially missing existing services at the start of the new school term was not in anyone's interests so has deferred the new ones until 40 odd new recruits complete their training, better than First which is still missing services in Cornwall but not advertising them! The major mistake City Bus made was leaving it so stupidly late to inform the public after having put press releases out!

  2. Re-fol-i-ate! Re-fol-i-ate!