Sunday 16 January 2022

Sunday Variety

 You'll Be Lucky!

Local Authorities in "partnership" (please don't laugh too loudly) have been frantically preparing and submitting their plans to the DaFT, plans which, effectively, will be the only way to get their grubby little hands on subsidy/funding/grant from 1st April 2022. The plans submitted range from "leave it all as it is, it is too much trouble to plan anything else" to crack-brained ideas that will never get the funding because they are simply unrealistic and too expensive.

It's all looking great for Building Buses Back (not at all) Better!

But a few days ago, DaFT sent a circular to all the LTAs (a k a Local Authorities). As usual fbb has expurgated the text somewhat, removing some of the pretentious (and irrelevant!) governmental guff.


Dear Colleague

The Government is committed to seeing the bus sector return to financial sustainability. 

As long at the government doesn't have to pay.

The Department is working with the sector to understand how these (Driver Shortages and COVID) might impact services after Covid recovery funding ends and what further action might be needed.

But any extra costs will have to come out of the main funding bag of pennies, leaving even less for your plans.

Long-term Funding

Thank you for submitting your Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) and for committing to the development of an Enhanced Partnership (EP) and/or beginning the statutory process of implementing bus franchising. 

We continue to review and assess the BSIPs covering all 79 LTAs and expect to provide details of indicative funding by February 2022

This will recognise that the budget available for transformation, including for Zero Emission Buses, is around £1.4bn for the next three years and that prioritisation is inevitable, given the scale of the ambition across the country greatly exceeds this amount.

There is simply NO MONEY for grandiose ambitious schemes. And the money has to cover the ZEBRA schemes as well (i.e. Zero Admission Buses plus an additional R and A.)

Enhanced Partnership timescale

We are therefore amending the EP timescale to now ask you to submit draft Enhanced Partnership Plans and Schemes to us by the end of April 2022

We are giving you a couple of months more to have another think.

Next steps

Once Government has confirmed final funding allocations, all LTAs will then be able to proceed to making the formal EP. 

Regardless of the level of funding awarded, we want all EPs to:

•Commit the relevant to continue providing existing bus priority measures
•Implement low or no cost improvements.
•Be flexible to incorporate further enhancements through variation if funding becomes available.

So expect things to stay much as they are and be prepared to do a few extra bits and bobs if we find any small change down the DaFT sofas.


A Visit To (The) Bank
The Bank of England, a k a The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, is circled above and this holy financial institution gives its name to the multiple armed road junction, shown above courtesy Google Earth, and to the multiple line Underground station whose long-standing circulating area lies under the spider of roads.
In the above somewhat distorted diagram, the Bank is again circled in red. The Waterloo and City line is shown in YELLOW together with the familiar round booking hall. One of those pipes contains the famous Trav-o-Lator.
Also on the above diagram you can see the "by-pass" corridor which links the Waterloo and City platforms to other lines, avoiding the booking hall. The Central Line is RED, Docklands is BLUE and the Northern (usually black) appears in DARK GREY.

The station has always been very busy and, at times, quite terrifyingly so; with packed platforms, packed corridors and sardine style escalators. 

An additional entrance has helped, but more needed to be done. One notable problem was the narrow platforms for the Northern line, platforms that dated back to its ancient days.
So Transport for London comes up with a cunning plan. Build a completely new tunnel alongside the old, turn the old platform into a bigger circulating area; and, while you are at it, build a completely new and additional entrance to the whole caboodle.

Which is why the Northern Line's City branch is closed until March 2022.

The new tunnel is dug but new connecting rails need laying and the rebuilding work is a big job. When it is complete there will be a nice wide area between the two platforms ...
... and a second moving walkway to link Northern Line to Monument Station.
The sum of the developments is shown on the diagram below.
For the record, Bank has, since early days, has been shown at having and "escalator connection" with Monument ...
... but is now shown as part of the whole mega-station set-up.
Is it time to rename the whole lot as "Bank and Monument"? Maybe London Underground and or Transport for London could not afford to change all the signs?

Here is the extra bit of the station "plan" showing where the link fits in. The DLR platforms are below those of the Northern line and it is a longer trudge than implied by the diagram, hence the new moving walkway!
The District Line is shown in a muddy green colour with the train running in a square tunnel.

The "escalator" link itself was always a bit of a let down.; it was just "an escalator" - and not a very big one either! fbb was really disappointed, many years ago, when he walked wearily from Bank platforms to Monument ditto and almost missed the non-excitement!
Regular users of the Bank/Monument interchange advise that it is quicker to leave Bank station and walk along the pavement to the entrance of Monument, less wiggles, less corridors and less escalators!

A temporary bus route 733 is provided on Mondays to Fridays only, as exemplified by these crude montage pictures!

fbb Buys A Catalogue
The old man does not usually buy model railway catalogues because he is too mean (too careful?) to spend the mega-bucks required to buy new models. But the explosion in commercial activity from Hornby has been dramatic in the extreme. So the 2022 book flopped through the fbb letter box a couple of days ago.
It consists of 228 pages (that includes the cover) packed with OO gauge models, track and accessories. fbb will extract snippets over the next few days, but for today a bit of  modelling nostalgia.

Back in the 60s, when your blogger was "into" his model railway, Hornby Dublo managed only a fold-out catalogue of its limited range of products.
Triang, on the other hand, produced "proper" booklets, lavishly (but crudely) illustrated and aiming fairly and squarely at the toy train buyers.
Your elderly author well remembers eagerly awaiting the year's new Triang catalogue and perusing its pages equally eagerly for possible purchases. Hornby 2-rail never offered prices as low as Triang ...
... although fbb did change loyalties and buy an R1 tank engine and some SD6 wagons.

The 2022 Hornby book offers an intriguing "nostalgia" page. Two "train sets" have been produced to capture something of the original Triang company's products ...
... marking the 70th anniversary of the original Margate company.

More tomorrow, plus a selection of other happenings.

 Next Variety blog : Monday 17th January 


  1. I don't know when the tradition started, but the "crudely-illustrated" catalogues were graced by a cover painted by Terence Cuneo. It was always fun trying to find his trademark mouse.

  2. I presume that ZEBRA refers to "Zero emission buses". A zero admission bus would be a bit pointless!

  3. less wiggles, less corridors and less escalators less wiggles, less corridors and less escalators less wiggles, less corridors and less escalators less wiggles, less corridors and less escalators less wiggles, less corridors and less escalators