Tuesday 22 February 2022
James' Jolly Journey (1)
Modern Railways is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in the modern railway scene - there is a clue in the title - but sometimes it is a hard read, not at all suitable for those dozy dazy minutes before succumbing to the enfolding arms of Morpheus; i.e. going to sleep.
The March issue has a lengthy piece about the finances of the railway companies (grim!) with lots of statistics ...
Then Ian Walmsley - usually good for a laugh and utterly paranoid about seats - expounds about discontinuous electrification. To save money, the powers that be want to electrify lines in little chunks using batteries, then diesel engines, hydrogen or possibly gerbils in treadmills to power the trains through the gaps.
Then there is a full and frank report on how the Train Manufacturers are coping with the fact that significant chunks of their shiny new trains are dropping to bits. It is all to do with stress, notably that caused in the trains' operation (less prone to fracture if they stay in the sidings), that hurting the management and even more stress damaging the passengers. All for a few short bits of stronger metal!
Just occasionally we are treated to accounts of real railway journeys, often from the acerbic pen of Alan Williams.
But one of the best bits in the March issue is the editorial by James Abbott, recently retired as Editor but now dubbed "Consultant" Editor.
Buckingham used to sit on a delightful cross country line (not CrossCountry!) that ran from Verney Junction (on the Bletchley to Oxford line, soon to re-open - whatever "soon" might mean) and on to Brackley and Banbury.
... for the relatively minimal crowds (?) easily served by relatively minimal trains.The new railcars attracted a reported increase in traffic of 400% with the service being well used on market days and Saturdays but the improvement was insufficient to save the service between Buckingham and Banbury which closed from 2nd January 1961. The remaining passenger facilities between Buckingham and Verney Junction lingered until 7th September 1964 using the diesel units transferred from the Banbury section. Freight facilities were withdrawn from Banbury on 6th June 1966 and from Buckingham from 3rd December 1966 with track lifting underway by February 1967. From Nick Catford's superb Disused Stations web site.
There is nothing left at the station, apart from a car park for the University of Buckingham Chandos building ...
Of course, railway modellers of fbb's vintage will remember the Rev Peter Denny's fictional Buckingham Great Central Branch ...
The layout still exists, still works and is being restored as parts of it are about 70 years old.
So James Abbott cannot catch a train from anywhere to Buckingham, let alone from Tonbridge.
fbb would guess, even without looking it up, that the nearest railhead would be Milton Keynes ...
And that, indeed, is what Traveline offers us.
When fbb checked later in yesterday, departures from Tonbridge were three minutes earlier at xx46 and xx16.
Such behaviour does not inspire confidence in the algorithms!
fbb will examine the Traveline answer and compare it with James' efforts tomorrow. But the map looks OK.
Meanwhile More Rails for the fbbs
fbb was insistent this it should be good 'n' strong, so what has been installed is, in Mrs fbb's words, Clyde-Built.
A formal declaration of openness will be / was performed without due ceremony at 0715 this morning.
Next James' Journey blog : Wednesday 23rd February