Sunday 30 January 2022

Sunday Variety

Mystery At Maida Vale

fbb asked, in yesterday's blog, why the names CHARING CROSS and EMBANKMENT were not properly centred on this "heritage" panel at Maida Vale station. Essentially the reason is simple. Bill Wodgitt, who fixed the names in place, did not do a very good job.

If you look closely, you can see the join!
The large names are stations where interchange with other lines is possible without coming up for air; but then so is EMBANKMENT and that is small.

Here is another clue to the whole convoluted mystery.
Above is a picture of the Jubilee Line platforms at Charing Cross Underground station; note the SILVER background to the station name board -  CHARING CROSS . But, we hear you cry, the Jubilee Line does not go to Charing Cross ...
... it goes via Westminster and Waterloo.

But the Jubilee Line was planned as the Fleet Line. 
The first phase absorbed the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo Line and took it as far as Charing Cross ...
... then the plan was to go on via Aldwych, Ludgate Circus and Fenchurch Street before zooming off east. On the way it would run under Fleet Street, hence Fleet Line. Geddit! 

It never did!

The bit from Green Park to Charing Cross was closed and is still there, used as a siding - but not for passengers.
But, before the Fleet/Jubilee Line arrived it wasn't Charing Cross at all. There were two separate stations. Trafalgar Square was on thee Bakerloo Line and Strand was on the Northern Line.
The new terminus was built below the existing lines which were joined by a new subway tunnel and the whole lot was named "Charing Cross" - a sensible name as subway access to the "Main Line" station was from Strand (Northern Line) ...
... to right inside the National Rail station.
Charing Cross District and Circle Line station had no link below ground, but there was (and still is) a short walk via Villiers Street (unconventionally, the above diagram has North at the bottom!).
And there, on the banks of the Thames is the former Charing Cross Underground station, now renamed Embankment.
Of course, on the Maida Vale panel, there was no room to get both Charing Cross and Embankment in large letters, so poor old Embankment was demoted in favour of the interchange option for the "Main Line" Charing Cross.
To grasp the area with geographical accuracy, you need to refer to the excellent "Carto" map of London's Underground lines.
It shows the closed platforms, and, nearby, the "diverted" line via Westminster and Waterloo.
Does that make Green Park to Charing Cross the shortest lived bit of Underground Line?

Cardiff Tells It Well
About a month ago, Cardiff Bus announced that their Saturday timetable would apply on weekdays for a temporary period. Later the notice was amended to read "until 12th February.

Now we find this, on line.
Please note that this panel is not hidden deep in the web site, it is "front and centre" on the home page.
Clicking on the link tells you more.

Fri 28th Jan 2022

We are pleased to announce that from Sunday 13th February will be restoring our weekday services.

From the same time, we are making timetable changes to most routes to better reflect the level of congestion that we face that is combined with changes to the priority and space given to buses on the road network.  Also, alongside these changes, we need to amend some city centre terminal points for future phase of work at Central Square as well as works starting on the Canal Quarter on Churchill Way.

Please ensure you check your new timetable before you travel, which are linked below to preview

We will be updating all our bus stop timetables and Cardiff Council are in the process of updating the real time information system

Yes, full details of the City Centre stop changes are given:-

30 : will use lower Churchill Way stop HG (at side of Rapports NCP car park behind Motorpoint arena) instead of Station Terrace. Note that from 30th January all journeys towards Newport no longer serve Greyfriars Road or Dumfries Place, please use stops at Customhouse Street or lower Churchill Way HG instead

Yes, and all the revised timetables are ready to be checked.

Printed timetables?

NOT Helpful Stagecoach
Following the trend nationally, Stagecoach appear to be starting the process of reducing timetables. Service 41 between Northampton and Bedford has, for many years, been an hourly service.
It is slow and not particularly attractive to through passengers. At one stage it was branded Pluto ...
... and ran on a faster route, NOT via Olney, taking only 50 minutes. 
At the time boss James Freeman (wonder whatever happened to him?) was claiming a substantial increase in ridership.

Stagecoach now produces no printed timetables or maps and their roadside publicity is spasmodic and has fallen apart during the pandemic. It shows little sign of getting better.

Now service 41 has been reduced from hourly to every 90 minutes.
Alan, from Northampton, has recently reported Stagecoach's response to complaints about, amongst other things, the deterioration of the service.
Stagecoach's responses (in blue) seem very much like, "We've given up on this service and we cannot be bothered to even attempt to publicise it in any way."

Not bothered about the loss of passengers
Not bothered about poor information at Bedford
Not bothered about inadequate bus stop publicity.

It is all a well-rounded feature of the Government's Built Buses Back Better plans in practice and seems to presage a further reduction in service 41 to every two hours and the total withdrawal of the useless Sunday service.

You do wonder whether National Express realise what they are buying?

What Price a Goods Van?
Yesterday's blog looked at posh new wagons manufactured by Rapido Trains priced at ...
... £32.95 discounted to £27.95 by Rails of Sheffield.

In an email the very next day, Rails are offering a Banana Van made by Oxford Rail.
This costs £16.95 discounted to £14.50.

Why the difference? Is the difference worth it?

 Next as yet unplanned blog : Monday 31st January 


  1. A good read, as usual! The Jubilee Line platforms at Charing Cross are sometimes used for filming. Passenger trains can still be diverted there and evacuated in an emergency.

  2. I don't know about elsewhere but there were plenty of current Stagecoach timetable leaflets available in Mansfield in September. This story of Stagecoach not producing ANY publicity seems to be an urban myth that is being assisted by bloggers!!