Tuesday 30 November 2021

Downpour Or Delicatessen (1)

 Sunderland Trams

These two trams are seen resting peacefully at The Broadway, Houghton le Spring in County Durham. The one at the front is going to Fence Houses.
As an aside, the pub is the White Lion ...
... which has since been rebuilt completely.
But the tram layby is still there on the left! Not bad considering that the tram system closed in 1925 after only 20 years of trading.

Its route continues southbound to Easington Lane ...
... and from Herrington Lane eastbound to Silksworth and Ryhope ...
... then northbound to Grangetown. This was the short-lived Sunderland and District Tramway. There is little left to see apart from spotting the occasional photo location; but between Newbottle and Herrington Burn the power station for the system still stands on the former depot site.
At Grangetown the largely single track system met up with Sunderland Corporation Tramways ...
... and for a few brief years Sunderland and District trams actually ran through to Sunderland!

For those uncertain of the geography, a modern map extract may help.
The Corporation routes south of the River Wear are shown below ...
... with the Grangetown terminus and/or connection bottom right. Here trams ran off the highway and onto a terminus siding on the pavement.
Although it is difficult to locate because of vast amounts of rebuilding along the Ryhope Road, Grangetown does have an unusual bus layby cum terminus in a similar looking location.
It looks about right, doesn't it?

Trams along part of the Durham Road ...
... ran on reserved tracks.
Today, the reservation greenery remains and there are a lot more trees.
The terminus shelter is long gone!
Tomorrow, we move north of the river.

Cats Cradle
If Ray Stenning can twitter about his cats, fbb feels obliged to respond. Here is No 3 son's cat, a Cornish Rex (look it up). This breed has no "fur" merely a skin with a covering like a bath towel. They feel the cold dreadfully and like to keep cosy.

So No 3 bought Casper a very large slipper!

Meanwhile Mrs fbb has knitted a scarf-thing for daughter-in-law (wed to No 1 son).
It has been annexed by the cat.

The Ultimate Railway Poster
fbb has been commenting on the unrealistic perspective of many of the posters advertising holiday trips by rail. Maybe this is the answer.
Fits anywhere with sand!

A Technical Difficulty

Mind Blowing Part 2
Similar to yesterday, squares labelled A and B are the same shade of grey! Again, here they are as screenshots.

No trickery - take a screenshot fot yourself!

 Next Seunderland blog : Wednesday 1st December 

Monday 29 November 2021

Monday Variety

Reliance Reveals Re-Vamp ...

... the first look at its new publicity.
The company has always produced adequate publicity and the clutch of leaflets pictured above has been readily available in and around its services running north from York to Easingwold and the like. But, unusually for a small company, Reliance has recently turned to the Bike-riding Bearded Bus Beautifier from the Bush for publicity aimed at giving the best impression.

The new timetable booklet is OUT!
It certainly has the Stenning "blue period" look. The above was pictured in one of the local shops distributing the pleasing publicity pulchritude. Copies are also available on the buses.
Three rousing cheers for Reliance; Stagecoach, First and Arriva, take note.

fbb  hopes to review book and company in detail in a few days.

Half a Cheer For More Bus
More, formerly Wilts and Dorset, formerly Hants and Dorset, operates out of Poole. Now owned by Go Ahead and part of their South Coast Division, the company has a reputation for smart buses and frequent services. The wasteful competition with Bournemouth's Yellow Buses has been somewhat mitigated in recent years.

More has a seasonal fares offer which, at a distance looks wowsers.
How many groups of five travel, together, by bus is uncertain - but it looks a stunning offer which can only encourage more travel, surely?

It doesn't look quite as stunning when you read the small print.
The offer is only available on Thursdays and Sundays in the run up to Christmas.


Would making the offer for every day lose more revenue than it gains? Maybe, to quote Sir Humphrey Appleby ...
... such a policy would be very courageous, More Bus.

Go Goodwins: Go Into Gloom!
The Manchester company is well known for its unusual and dramatic livery - very swirly. Sadly there is also a trend to earn extra revenue by plastering vehicles with all over advertising.
Very black! The registration plate for the above bus has been transferred to another - WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY AWFUL.
Contravision, giving a spotty measles view of the world outside, covers almost all of the windows including the top deck front. Thankfully the disgusting spots were later removed ...
... but the whole thing is simply insulting to passengers. The windows are there for a purpose, so see out of from. (flippant over use of prepositions to end a sentence up with!).

Northampton Memorial
In December 1946  Northampton Corporation Transport received ten new buses with bodywork by Roe on  Crossley DD42 chassis (Fleet numbers 140 -149, VV9140 – 9149).  On Wednesday December 1st surviving restored 146 is planned to do 75th birthday trips on routes –

7 – To Gloucester Avenue

12 to Dallington Green and

Boot and shoe workers’ service 20 to Military Road.

The first journey should leave Bay 18 in Drapery at 1015.

The table below is for route 20, crossed out in timetable books after its withdrawal.

Thanks to Alan (Northampton) for the info and for a picture of 146 on a previous visit to Dallington Green (now unserved), but a delightful unspoilt former village of golden sandstone cottages.

Good News For UK, Bad News For Gronks
The pre-nationalisation LMS developed a diesel shunter ...
... whilst the more adventurous Southern Railway built a diesel electric shunter.
The LMS concept became the ubiquitous 0-6-0 outside-framed class 08 diesel shunter built in their hundreds to replace steam locos on humble wagon bashing duties.
Many still remain on the National network and more on the privatised heritage railways.

But up comes a BRITISH new-design new-build loco to replace the Gronks. (nicknamed by spotters, probably because of the clunky start-up noises that emanated from the engine compartment).

This is a hybrid. It has batteries which can be charged e.g. overnight, and a small diesel engine which also charges up the large battery pack.

This video is actually for an OO model of the new loco, but explains things very well for the beginner in shunter design.
Want one for your layout?
Ahem! Of course you can have DCC and a sound chip - in which case...
The big ones are being built at a modest factory in Burton on Trent.

Mind Blowing! No, Really!
This optical illusion is hyper weird. The main part of each of these these two shapes IS THE SAME SHADE OF GREY. Really!

Here is a screen shot from the top "block" ...
... and from the bottom block.
Honest, no trickery; try it for yourself. OR you can cover up the join between the two blocks with a large thumb or a strip of cardboard.


Less weirdly ...

 Next Sunderland blog  ; Tuesday 30th November 

Sunday 28 November 2021

Sunday Variety

 Arwen Batters Peterville

As usual, the Express is calm and reasoned in its accurate reporting style; but certainly the blog headline above does represent reality for fbb. It joins other headlines which have always amused the old man. From the 1930s, at a time of industrial unrest in East London ...


... and in Sheffield in the very early 1970s


So while storm Arwen in wreaking its havoc in the North East, it has already don't its worst on fbb's Peterville outdoor model railway. Most of the scenery "modules" are safely tucked away in the cupboard but ...

... the cafe and its marquee were left dangling off the edge of the baseboard, held only by the wires joining the LED illuminations. 

Worse, the whole station unit (buildings and platform canopy) were off under the gate and out into the car park.
Amazingly, after going for a flight across the yard, the lighting still works!
Sadly, things didn't go so well for the East Coast main line between Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Arwen, according to some sources is a Welsh girl's name meaning "fair" as in complexion or beauty. Google Translate is ignorant of this! Other sources suggest the name was invented by J R R Tolkien and, in the language of The Shire, means "noble maiden". A similar male name, Arvin, means "Friend of the People".

Neither seems particularly appropriate for a destructive storm!

Oho! It's O, You Know!

For those old crocks who remember their very first tinplate Hornby "O" gauge train set, the "explosion" in ready-to-run quality "O" gauge trains must seem beyond belief. For most of us they do not seem, but are, well outside the bounds of reasonable financial commitment.

Retailer Hattons of Widnes have just announced their range of "O" gauge L N E R coaches.

Wot no lighting? And you can buy a set of three or a set of four at a discounts.
Singles are currently discounted to £179. And to complete the picture, how about an A4 Pacific (A Streak!)?
These prices may seem eye-watering; and they are beyond fbb's desire or budget, but they represent exceedingly good value for money. A large OO loco is now coming off the production lines at over £200 and the latest fully detailed coaches, again in OO, have been announced at nearly £60 each (WITH lighting!).

OO is 4/7ths the size of O in linear dimensions and a little less than 1/5th in volume, yet 1/3rd the price. If you have got the money, and the space indoor or outdoor for a good sized layout, O has moved from being a VERY expensive specialist game to being withing the budget of a retiree on a good pension.

If you want to see O gauge at its best, look out for Heaton Lodge Junction.
It is huuuge!
It will go on show in Wakefield in December and then embark on a tour of the country in 2022.

'Heaton Lodge Junction' O gauge layout is to go on display in Wakefield's WX (Former Market Hall) centre. Masterminded by its owner, Simon George, the model is popular for its attention to detail, exquisite realism and epic proportions. With over three scale miles of track, the realistic model railway is the largest in Britain and took over seven years to build. With sound and automatic operation, the display is a treat for trainspotters and miniature lovers alike.

The layout is to be exhibited between Saturday, December 4 and Sunday, December 19 between 10.00 and 16.00, with a payable entrance fee. Up to 30 full-length O gauge trains are to appear in action on the detailed 180ft slice of 1980s West Yorkshire.
The sky has been added photographically to these pictures.

Poor Poster Perspective 
Over the last few weeks, fbb has been looking at old railway posters, often mentioning that they are "artist's impressions" of the resort in question and that they can play fast and loose with reality.

How is this for the lovely Lytham St Annes?
Maybe the lovely lady is atop an invisible (and non existent) cliff and the rest of the happy holidaymakers are well below.

This is the pier entrance in the early 1900s.
And this is the bandstand (poster upper left) from much the same date.
Both are still extant; the pier today ...
... with more recent "retail opportunities" added.

Very close by is the bandstand ...
... now surrounded by a paddling pool - ideal for performances of Handel's Water Music. GROAN!

And here is the view from Google Earth.
Contrast and compare! Note a slight lack of cliffs for the poster lady to perambulate upon.

From The Twitterati
Caledonian Sleeper in 2016

Disused Station but Useable
It is Sampford Courtenay between Crediton and Okehampton. The former Sunday Dartmoor Line trains used to stop there by request, but the new two-hourly Okehampton service does not. Locals are asking, "Why not?"

It is just a bare platform these days, but it used to be a very sweet little station building.
Of course, it is nowhere near Sampford Courtenay ...
Surely another opportunity for walkers are pedestrian explorers?
And there is a little car park space.

PLEASE NOTE ; The next part of the Exeter Map blogs will follow soon.

 Next Variety blog : Monday 29th November