Sunday 31 October 2021

Sunday Variety

DRT : Daft Responsive Transport

With the arrival of FlexiBus in Leeds a while back, fbb had decided not to bother to write about any more of these crackpot schemes. Whilst the idea is nobly altuistic and sometimes politically vote catching, DRT is simply the old Dial-A-Ride in an expensive technological skin.

Roger French has just completed his Odyssey to the latest of this breed, designed to cost the earth and not give the public what it needs, namely a reliable bus service!

The reason to take a look at the Ting Thing ...

... is that it has been given the desire-creating touch of the Bearded  Bus Beautifier from The Bush. And he plays the piano as well!
But you might be a bit baffled by "West Hunts", even if you know that Hunts is short for Huntingdonshire. Huntingdonshire no longer exists (except at a "ceremonial" county) as it was swallowed up by Cambridgeshire leaving the former county as an inferior "district".

Anyway, West Hunts lies west of the A1 ...

... where Stagecoach has provided old solos done up externally ...
... but still Stagecoach standard inside.
The inside does have a load of "ting" car cards ...
... to reinforce the brand. Otherwise it is like all the other App-based Dial-A-Ride services that have flourished, faded and failed in many parts of the country.

In case our eager readers have missed the point (or missed the bus), the idea is that the clever software brings together a batch of passengers wanting to travel from (roughly) the same place to (roughly) the same destination and, in so doing slow down the journey time of all of them.

Mostly the buses carry one or two people, expensively for whoever pays the bill and cheaply for the passenger for whom it is a very cost effective multi-seat taxi!

Roger French was the only passenger for the 22 mile journey from St Neots station ...

... to Thrapston Business Park, which, like Huntingdonshire, does not seem to exist. It might be off the A14 to the East of the town ...
... where th marked boundary allows for much expansion.

Roger did not pay the flat fare of £2 for his 22 miles ...
... as he used his old fogeys card. We pensioners need to be careful what we spend.

The bus was once with Norfolk Green's Coasthopper ...
... and then moved to Peterborough or Cambridge and reverted to Stagecoach normality.
fbb guesses that the 32 seat plus 12 standing Solos have not been used because of their capacity for busy trips; but more because it is a six month experiment which will, almost certainly.then close as being far too expensive "in these post-covid straitened times"!! So they are cheap in the all-important world of accountancy-speak

Roger's "envoi" says it all ... does one of his comment writers.
Too true, William!

But, joy of joys, it does have a (sh, don't tell anyone at Stagecoach HQ) PRINTED LEAFLET!

Starting  Model Railway
fbb is well aware that some of his readers show little interest in the world of ferrequinological fine-scale - or ever Hornby OO gauge models. But there may well be some readers who are contemplating starting a model railway as a new and stimulating hobby OR getting a Christmas gift ready for any girl of either sex. **

So fbb brings you a selection of the most recent bargains from the Margate HQ modelling mecca.

The first bargain pack offer ,,,
... a saving of £13.01.

The so-called "staycation express", now an HST ...
... available as a "train pack" ...

... at a massive discount of £4.23.

And a pack of track ...
... in The Sale of the Century ...
... with a ...

... of 78p. Buy while stocks last!

On A Frustrating Note
When fbb bought his Heljan BOC tanker, manufactured for olivia's Trains in Sheffield, he was fortunate to obtain a discount on the £90 retail price of (redacted - OK, he thinks it was £65, but they are the Rolls Royce of tank wagons!).

It seems that Hattons have bought the remaining stock (currently available at £75, so fbb is still £10 up). But Hattons are selling them for ...
... £45.

They are truly magnificent models, but ... fbb negudges as wasted twenty quid!

Picture Gallery
Delaine Sunset (or was it sunrise?)

Greenwich Timeline - 1989 to 2021

A Station Fit for a Queen

And British Rail Snail at fbb Mansions
How did it get right into the middle of the house, and ...
... two thirds of the way up the stairs?

And why?


P.S. "** girl of either sex" : Back in historic past the word "girl" meant a child of either sex. "Boy" was a servant - hence "garcon" for "waiter" in French. Likewise "man" was an adult of either sex. A female was a "wifman" (wifeman, later woman) and a male man was a "were-man" now only seen in "were-wolf". So rather than changing manhole to personhole, we can correctly and historically leave well alone!

 Glossop & Holmfirth blog : Monday 1st November 

Saturday 30 October 2021

Saturday Variety

 Amazing Ambulance

When fbb was a little lad, he acquired a few dinky toys, but reckoned they were too expensive and, of course, they were all too big for his developing model railway. The new range of Dublo Dinky toys developed to Hornby Dublo railways never featured on the child's Christmas List. The "normal" model ambulance was simple without darkened rear windows and lacked detail - but that was normal back then. Neverthless it was based on a real Daimler!

Every year Oxford Diecast, based in Swassea - hence their company name - produce a model in support of Poppy Day. This year it is a 1:76 (i.e. OO scale) model of a London Ambulance.
Not cheap these days, but a cracker of a model and, as you would expect, based on the real thing.
If you live in or near the Capital, you will know that the Ambulance service has a lot of them! Considering that the model is about one third of the size of the Dinky, it is a remarkable production.

When will it come with flashing lights and a siren?

Unwanted 707s Are Resurrected
Train "buffs" were astounded to learn that First Rail, having snatched the South West Trains franchise from the jaws of Stagecoach, then announced that they were ditching the shiny new 707s ordered for the Windsor line; and doing so even before they were delivered.

The promise was that London would have one inner suburban (the ones in red) fleet of all the same type ypf train, although it looks as if this promise isn't quite working out!

The 707s were to go to South Eastern to replace some of their ageing Networkers.
And, lo, they have begun to appear.
In the middle of last year a twitterer revealed that he had "spotted" a train in the proposed new South Eastern livery.
Yeah, right! However, South Eastern have publicised their new look with some artist's impressions.
The new look doesn't seem to create much desire - indeed it is even less desire-creating in practice.
Looks a bit Javelin-like? And the Javelins are equally uninspiring.
If you look VERY closely, the dull blue of the 707s is "enhanced" by a broad band of even duller grey round the windows.
At least the doors offer a little relief from the dullness.

And, to bring the 707 transfer project to a peak of PR passion, the trains are being called ...

No, fbb has no idea either.

Retired transport manager on the warpath?
Clearly SOMEONE has upset Roger!

Scarborough never looked like this ...
There is a youthful fbb in grey slacks, shirt, tie and natty blue sports jacket accompanying Mrs fbb in a striking A-line frock, matching top, neat high heels and a splendid sun hat as they return to Mrs Miggins Guest House for their supper, after a day frolicking on the golden sands.

Did anyone EVER look like that at Scarborough? Ah, that's more like it!

And a word of advice ...
One comment writer added "as long as you do the blinky thing before the brakey thing!"

Enthusiasm Deflated!
Mrs fbb has just taken delivery of a ball of wall from an on-line supplier.
This is what it looks like when defrosted!

Batteries in Glasgow
VivaRail will be giving rides from Glasgow Central as part of the Cop26 talking shop. The train WAS a diesel electric demonstrator and has been converted to battery electric with fast charging.

You MUST visit Aylesbury
Says it all doesn't it?

Cheap in West Yorks tomorrow

First The Good News
Sheffield has begun to update its departure lists in advance of this weekends big cut-backs.
Rotherham's 9 is reduced from every 15 minutes to every 20. This change is a "Stagecoach" change and happens today. Most Stagecoach buses in Sheffield change on Sunday unless it is Monday.
Contractors do the job and they were still very much at work yesterday. But interchanges use a different system whereby the departures are listed in time order, even if they are different bus routes. It is awful.

Here is the PTE expounding the changes to X57 and 257 times from Hulleys.
Would it not be MORE helpful simply to pin up and enlarged version of Hulleys timetable? If they did they MIGHT notice that they had missed out the 0705 departure!

As a bonus, you would the passenger be able to check his your arrival time.


 Next Variety blog : Sunday 31st October