Sunday 15 May 2022

Sunday Variety

It's All Change For EastEnders!

fbb is hugely indebted to Roger French who points out that, yesterday, there are big changes for London Buses in South East London and next week (21st May) there will be more in the Newham area north of the Thames.

Does fbb detect just a smidgen of sarcasm in Uncle Roger's report?

Surely not!
fbb did wonder how TfL was announcing these changes. The website was reasonably informative about disruptions to the Underground network - informative but, in one case incorrect!
Saturday 15th May?

Then there is a Piccadilly Line.
Where might you find timetables for the PL1 and PL3 - and does the PL2 exist?

Of course we know about The Drain ...
... because Timmy and Siddy told us on the tellybox on Thursday last!

So what about yesterday's bus changes?

Uncle Roger knows the secret runic incantations needed to find the information about what is happening ...
... but those of us who do not move in such elated echelons of public transport information will not have a clue! But we can do something unimaginable with out TikTok account ...
... and again we are warned that things are happening (or, more correctly NOT happening!) on bits of the Underground. From the above, we can easily see how attractive this level of service is to the various Northern mayors who all, slavering like ill-informed Pavlovian dogs, want their buses to be run like they are in London.

Pity the people who will have to suffer such incompetence.

Because, as Roger says, details of these "proposed" changes were put "out for consultation" anything up to five years ago, the maps were published back then but, of course, no timetables.

So what does TfL tell us about, say, the forthcoming changes. Service 300 runs from East Ham ...
... to Canning Town ...
... via a wiggly route that really does need a map. And there is one (of sorts) on the TfL web site.
At the above level of splugnification it it almost useless unless, as is usual with such technology, you already know where the bus runs! Find Beckton. Find ExCel. Indeed find any road names served by the 300. An enlargement actually adds to clutter and confusion.
Nowhere on these pages is there any mention of the changes coming up in less than a week.

But never fear. If you DO find the "changes" page, the experts at TfL, so admired by the Metro mayors, are at great pains to succinctly explain what is happening - in this case to the 300.

Route 300 will be rerouted between Beckton District Park and the junction of Barking Road and New Barn Street in Plaistow. Route 300 will be rerouted via Tollgate Road, Prince Regent Lane, Victoria Dock Road, Custom House Station, Freemasons Road and New Barn Street to Barking Road. Stansfeld Road and Prince Regent Bus Station will no longer be served along with Prince Regent Lane between Tollgate Road and Barking Road and Barking Road between Prince Regent Lane and New Barn Street. Route 300 will also serve bus stops on Prince Regent Lane between Tollgate Road and Victoria Dock Road in the opposite direction to now. This means if you use the northbound stops for route 300 towards Canning Town you will now need to use the southbound bus stops instead on the opposite side of the road with buses towards East Ham now serving the northbound bus stops instead.

Good, innit?

It is very clear why the Metro mayors want to be like London, innit?

Of course, what it needs is a simple map. But TfL is pathologically incapable of making anything simple. There, no maps are on offer.

So fbb drew one. 

It took about 30 minutes yesterday morning. It would have been quicker with super smashing cartographic software but simple lines and text drawn over an existing map produces adequate results.

So here it is.
That is all you need, included, obviously, on an attractive printed leaflet with the timetable.

fbb's services are available for very modest fees!

As an aside, Roger visited the former terminus of the B11 at Thamesmead just before it was former, i.e. yesterday. There was NO INFORMATION AT ALL at the bus stop, no information about the then current bus route B11, let alone any warning about the changes.

Of course the new railway referred to is the Elizabeth Line line.
"Everything you need to know" ...

... Oh Goodie - there will be a timetable then; actually three timetables of the three disconnected bits of this whizzo new transport facility.

Of course not!

Good, innit?

Tanker's Traumatic Travelling Tale

In his quest for non-existent tank wagons, fbb had originally rejected the idea of the private owner falsehoods produced for Rails of Sheffield. As well as "Our Cow Molly" there was also a Henderson's Relish tanker from the same stable.
But then the chubby one saw a Molly tank advertised on EBay for £45 plus postage. Yikes. But they were still being advertised by Rails. So to avoid future regret and because a dairy named after a cow was an intriguing idea, fbb ordered one.
Order was acknowledge promptly and electronically ...
Whoa there! £7.50 shipping - that's the "next day" rate which fbb would never click! So a prompt email to Rails asking them to modify the shipping to the "normal" but overpriced £4.

"Too late", quoth Rails, "your order is already on its way."

Betcha it wasn't!

But there was nothing fbb could do except grin and bear the £3.50 fine for an electronic failure.
The courier was Parcel Force International, part of Royal Mail - supposedly. Ordered on 9th May, fbb was intrigued to follow the progress of his now expensive purchase. But by the afternoon of 10th it was showing thus ...
... but no delivery had happened. Reference to tracking revealed this horror.
"Insufficient address"? On checking, fbb discovered that the house number was missing from the first line of the address. There are only six properties with that address but no attempt had been made to ask at any of those six doors.

Early on 11th inst fbb went on line to re-arrange delivery. In order to do so, the old man needed the reference number from the card which the delivery man left. Which did not exist because no attempt had been made to deliver the parcel!


Later on 11th inst fbb rang the number on the Parcel Force web site.

"Sorry sir, we are not Parcel Force, this is the Royal Mail number."


But the man gave fbb a Parcel Force number whereby fbb had a lengthy chat with a voice recognition computer


The only information the computer wanted was the fbb postcode and the house number. Would the two pieces of electronic data get put together or would the match remain unmatched?

On 12th nothing happened.

Aaargh! Was Our  Cow Molly lost for ever?

Then on 13th ...

... the parcel arrived.


Inside was a large box.
Inside the box was a heap of bubble wrap ...
... and buried in the bubbles was a small Dapol box ...
... just a tiny box!
And inside the tiny box was a OO gauge milk tank wagon liveried for "Our Cow Molly".
fbb has no explanation for the electronic failings. One bad finger prod could be an fbb failure - but two, very unlikely.

Painfully pricey.

fbb is sure that his loyal readers would like to see a Rails "Molly" tank wagon trundling round a little layout. So here is 90 seconds of excitement from YouTube.

Such a thrill!

More bits and pieces tomorrow - including a busted tram.

 Next Variety blog : Monday 16th May 


  1. I'm sure that Lynford would have been pleased, Who's Lynford ? !

  2. Andrew Kleissner15 May 2022 at 08:20

    And Rails can't spell "Limited" either ...