Sunday 1 May 2022

Sunday Variety

 Puzzle Picture

The long low loader was, together with a chum, delivering a new Glasgow Subway train ...
... and was pictured at Hamilton Services on the M74.

Mind The Gap

Confirmed! Thanks to Roger French who found it, fbb can confirm that National Express West Midlands is to run a replacement (numbered 144A) for the unserved bits of road brought about by First's withdrawal of their 144 between Catshill and Birmingham.
Every 70 minutes (i.e. one bus in steam) is far from ideal - but it is better than nothing. And NatEx seems to be promising something better in the future - probably provided by extending journeys on one of their frequent routes service the Longbridge area. For the time being, here is the timetable.
But the good news is that NatEx day "rover" ticket will be valid all the way to Bromsgrove and ...
... at £4 return it will be piles cheaper than First's fare and should attract a few more customers. It will also be about half the day return train fare. 

Livery Delivery on Lovely Locomotives
GB Railfreight, like most companies involved in transporting what used to be called "goods" in "goods trains", is a bit of closed book to fbb. But, those who enjoy recording the activities of the hefty locos at the front of the train, some interesting things are happening with this company.

It concerns the Class 69!

In June 2018, GB Railfreight purchased 16 Class 56 locomotives from UK Rail Leasing, many of which had been out of use for a number of years. Additionally, 56106 was acquired in an incomplete state as a source of spares and 56128 from metal recycler CF Booth.

In April 2019, GB Railfreight announced that the locomotives would be rebuilt as Class 69s by Progress Rail, with the existing Ruston-Paxman RK3 engine replaced by an EMD 710 12 cylinder powerplant, with updated electronic controls based on those used in the Class 66 also due to be installed.[4] The fuel capacity will be 5,200 litres (1,140 imp gal; 1,370 US gal) and the route availability remains at 7.

GBRF stated that a complete rebuild and re-engine of each locomotive would be cheaper than buying brand new locomotives and shipping them in from abroad. 69001 was trialled on the Severn Valley Railway in February 2021 prior to painting at Eastleigh in June 2021.

 What has surprised and interested enthusiasts is that locos have appeared in wildly different liveries. Here is one in fairly standard GBRf coloured but with an extra embellishment on the front.
Then we have BR blue with large logo.
Then there is the rail services livery with red.
But the latest is even more fascinating.
It is a pastiche of the ancient BR Vlass 33 livery, seen below on a preserved loco.

Publicity Matters c/o Roger French
Rog's Bus and Train User blog (last Thursday's posting) has taken a look at bus and train publicity. He approach is both amusing and pointed. He refers to several other information providers.

1 - Indian Restaurant
2 - TV and Radio Listings
Roger goes on to wonder why they bother because it is all on line!

He then continues by reviewing the more successful bus companies, for example Harrogate Buses.
As was proved by his management style ay Brighton and Hove, Rog is very much in favour of print; and the relative success of his company proved the wisdom of his policy. The steady decline of First, Stagecoach and Arriva is indicative that it is increasingly impossible to find out where their buses go and when.

Of course it is all on line, but you need to know what you want to know before your can dig out what you need to know.

Whereas with a timetable leaflet or booklet with proper maps, you can actually find your way round an operators bus routes with no great pain.

A Good Question
A twitterer asks why?
Why is it called the "Elizabeth LINE" on the stop diagrams? It's not "Circle LINE" It's not Bakerloo LINE", so why isn't it just "Elizabeth"? And shouldn't the plane icon appear against Stansted as well as Southend?

Puzzle Picture
What is it? And what is it for?
Answer tomorrow.

 Next Variety blog : Monday 2nd May 


  1. Elizabeth line will not be an Underground line, but a big train. And, before you ask, Overground is a network, rather than a line.

    It's logical really.

  2. With regard to publicity it is a bit of a stretch to imply that having a printed timetable automatically correlates to a profitable bus route. Comparisons with TV magazines [which are financed by advertising revenue] and take away menus don't really stack up - just look at the number of restaurants and other food outlets which are no longer in business. The sad fact is that the majority of demand for printed timetables is from bus enthusiasts and/or the elderly, of which neither demographic adds very much to a company's bottom line. With all due respect to Roger French and B&H if you can't make money running buses in Brighton, with or without printed timetables, then you really don't deserve to be in business.