Sunday 31 July 2022

Sunday Variety

 More Yellow and More More

A few more bits of comment are emerging on the subject of Yellow Buses in receivership. The receivers report (on Twitter as a JPEG, hence the poor quality of the image below) that discussions have been ongoing with a possible purchaser but, to summarise, time (and money!) have run out.
A respected commentator on the bus industry has contacted fbb and offers a somewhat acerbic point of view.
The boss of Morebus has also commented as below:-
Of course Andrew Wickham is "sorry" to lose a competitor in the Bournemouth area.

Yeah, right!

But, there again, Mr Wickham continues:-
Well, that is a real surprise!

The End Of The Emirates Air Line
But not the end of the Emirates Airline.
The Air Line (two words) web site still operates under the well known "label" ...
... of the cable car that links The Royal Docks and the Greenwich peninsula.
But the name has changed!
Wikipedia explains all.
At least the revised nomenclature removes the possible aspiration that an intercontinental jet plane will whisk you across the Thames!
Don't be deceived, dear reader, to see the Cable Car on the London Underground map. Although it is technically operated by Transport for London it is NOT part of the normal fares scheme. It will cost you a fiver for a single journey!
Not a very original name, now is it? Wikipedia's "Dangleway" is much, much better!

Happy Birthday!
fbb hopes that they are having a proper  Pink Party !

Welcome Back
When fbb was somewhat smaller in years and somewhat less in girth, he was so very excited to be taken to London. "It is so easy on the Underground," he was told, "you just follow the lights!".

It turned out that these were not as stunning as the lad expected, being (from memory) little internally illuminated coloured boxes at ceiling level, guiding perplexed passengers to their British Railways terminal station.

Platform "indicators" were much more interesting

This one was pictured at Colindale as recently as 1971.
Your mystified junior could not understand how the signs knew which way the train was going - there was no man in a uniform changing them!

But even more intriguing were signs that already had the destinations printed on them.
How did they work. Often the arrow pointing to the next train's destination was feebly illuminated, adding to the mystery when a train trundled noisily into the platform..

Earls Court still retained such "heritage" signs although there was concern recently that some dating from 1905 ...
... had been removed. But, hooray, thay have been fully refurbished and returned to the platforms ...
... and the arrows are a bit brighter!

A T13 fbb Bludner
This aerial picture at St Germain-en-Laye was NOT, as fbb wrote recently, the last vestiges of the construction of the RER line A terminus underground. This opened in 1972, long before aerial drone pictures were de rigueur. The construction seen above is that of the new foot tunnel linking tram T13's terminus with the RER A platforms.
The centime dropped at 0230 yesterday morning as fbb adjourned to the "salle de bains" (la toilette/les cabinets) for whatever a PNB is in French!

Uncle Roger Votes For Localism
Roger's thesis (and fbb has not read the article) is that, with the demise of Shearings etc., coach companies are much more local than bus companies. He opines (quite rightly) that, as buses are essentially a local product, they should be managed/controlled/provided by local people and not national giants ...

... or, as they soon will be, international giants.
Hear Hear!

But it hasn't worked with Yellow Bus, has it?

Railway Modelling Snippet
On his little layout, fbb has a modified Airfix/Dapol/Kitmaster loco shed. The model dates from the early 1960s.
Back then it cost three shillings (15p) but it will now cost you over £10. fbb has one, seen below in the process of modification.
In a recent edition of Railway Modeller, fbb spotted a "cut and shut" version as a low relief warehouse.
That was/is the joy of Airfix kits - they were so easy to modify and (usually??) they still looked good.

Tomorrow we look at a remarkable happening - a brand new ten minute frequency bus service. And fbb means brand new - it does not replace any remotely similar existing route.

What's more, nobody seems to know much about it!

 Next New Frequent bus route blog : Monday 1st August 

Friday 29 July 2022

London 1 - Paris 13 (Part 5)

 First Find Your Station??

But, even before that challenge ...
... we take a sort-of cab ride from Saint-Germain-en-Laye to Saint-Cyr using stills from a YouTube video. Readers should be warned that the quality is poor. The originals were shot through two layers of glass and using a "long" lens which leads to significant foreshortening of the picture. 

From the point of view of the video, this has the effect of making the tram's speed seem about the same as fbb's walking pace on a good day.

The journey takes about 30 minutes and we start from the Saint Germain terminus. fbb will concentrate on the "tram" section as the reconstituted rail route is, apart from the minimalist "stations", very "ordinary".

Saint Germain depart travelling north

Long station-less run along Route des Loges
There are loads of crossings, both footpath and roads, all of which lead into the forest on the right. They are all protected by tram and path/road signals.

Sharp Left to travel west
Right handed "tram" running is confirmed!

First stop - Camp des Loges

Sharp left again - travelling south

VERY complex and busy road junction!

Voltage change! Railway signalling.

Change to left hand running.
Entering the former Saint Germain Grande Ceinture station now renamed. 
Note low tram platforms replacing high train platforms (above, lower left)

Left hand running confirmed!

 St Leger Viaduct
Here the foreshortening effect of the camera lens is very clear - it is actually quite a long viaduct!

Forqueux-Bel-Air, up on the viaduct's approaches

L'Etang Les Sablons
Just an ordinary tram-stop! No previous station.

The Tunnel!
It is in the Foret de Marly. 

There are plenty of crossovers to allow flexible working in case of breakdown or track repairs.

Junction at St Nom
This offers a link with the terminus of the Transilien line L branch. Remember, it terminates at St Nom?
So, in theory, you could drive a tram all the way to Gare St Lazare in Paris - although passengers could not alight at any of the many high platforms!

We move quickly on to near the St Cyr terminus.

Former Saint Cyr Grande Ceinture station

Junction - turn left for depot
followed by a sharp right ...
... a steep climb (the vandals have already been at it!) ...
... a splendid scissors crossover and ...

Arrival at Saint-Cyr
With a smattering of passengers already waiting.

A Closer Look At Saint-Germain-en-Laye ...
... and the terminus of RER line A. And here it is!
No, no, fbb that  is a  bus station! Can't you tell the difference?

It used to look like this with a splendid semi-circular booking hall ...
... with the station in a cutting beyond.
Google earth begins to give us a clue as to what has taken place. Look at the circular pathway in the parkland (photo above, upper right). Now look at a Google Earth shot.
Station gorn! But look at the finely manicured lawns ...
... and there is a subtle change of grass colour where once was a railway cutting. The railway is still there ...
... but the whole station has been moved underground. 
Google maps shows the last stages of the cut-and-cover process.
So tram T13 runs in a brand new tunnel and terminates at new platforms as part of the new underground RER line A station?

Erm, No!

Yer what?

So what does it do? 

The terminus of T13 is there (yellow box) well short of the RER station.
But surely ...? 

Well, before you burst with aghastness, SNCF have thought of that and, lo and behold ...
There is a covered walkway which takes tram passengers direct to the big train platforms.
S N C F claim the walk is just 2.5 minutes:-
... as explained in the pre-tram publicity.

Les quais du terminus offriront une correspondance directe avec le RER A, accessible en 2 minutes 30 grâce à un couloir éclairé doté de tapis roulants.

Traveolators as well!

Située en contrebas des terrasses du château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, votre future station sera à l’abri des regards depuis le château. La station vous permettra de rejoindre le Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, l'Hôtel de Ville, ainsi que le piscine intercommunale.

The Chateau is superb!
From "tapis roulant" and platform level it is up escalators, lifts  ...
... and stairs to where there be loadsa buses.
Whilst not quite as super-duper as it could be, it is a very good interchange facility. And, all the buses are there, waiting ...
... plus the "richesse" of the town centre.

C'est magnifique, tout alors!

 Next Variety blog : Saturday 30th July