Wednesday 31 August 2022

The Londonderry Railway

Surely Not?

Now known as Derry (town and county) it is very much part of Northern Ireland. So this title caused a certain bit of bafflement to fbb as he was having a delve into the world of East Durham Railways.

How could a railway called The Londonderry Seaham and Sunderland Railway make any sense. Surely there wasn't a hitherto undiscovered tunnel across to the English mainland?

But once we meet the Statue of  Charles Stewart Vane-Tempest Stewart on North Terrace at Seaham, County Durham, we begin to understand.
He stands sentinel outside the former offices of the Londonderry business empire. 
The offices still stand although in an alternative use.
The junction has been "developed" quite significantly with demolished property and the installation of the inevitable roundabout. But much of the property in the old view (below) still stands.
But note the primitive wagons on the site of todays gyratory traffic intersection. To the left you would make your way to Seaham railway station on today's Durham Coast Line. To the right the wagons would find their way to Seaham Harbour.

The wagons, the railway and the dock were all owned by coal mogul the Earl of Londonderry - and that was just one of his titles.
The statue, by the way, was a later Earl than the coal and railway mogul!

The original Earl was no absentee boss, however, because one of his "seats" was at Seaham Hall.
His pad was just a modest cottage affair ...
... now a much extended posh hotel.
It must be posh; it's got one of these outside the front door!
It does seem rather a large glass of gin with a dash of chartreuse.

Needless to say, the good Earl had his own private station (as you do) on the railway which passed his driveway, now named Lord Byron's Walk.
Well, his Earlship did own the railway!

But we hurry ahead too fast. The first task was to get the coal from the various pits down to the harbour. This produced a small network of freight links, shown in green on the map below.

So the harbour pre-dated the Sunderland to Seaham railway by a good few years.
But as the coal busines grew, it became obvious that Seaham Harbour was simply not big enough to handle the volume of traffic.
The new railway terminated at a station called Seaham Harbour, a short step south of the present Northern Trains stop.

But there was a problem. Seaham was up on a cliff, not huge but a cliff none the less and trains struggle with steep slopes.

Stagecoach Messed A View Of Chester
Why bother with windows?
There's nothing much to see at Chester, after all.

TfL Gets A Deal - BUT?
A new £3.6bn government bailout to keep Tube trains, railways, buses and trams running in London has been agreed.

The package includes almost £1.2bn of upfront funding for Transport for London (TfL) to secure the long-term future of the capital's transport network.

It is the sixth bailout for TfL after its revenues plummeted in the pandemic.

The funds will allow Piccadilly line trains to be built as well as upgrades to three Tube lines.

TfL Commissioner Andy Byford described the deal as "hard won" but Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who is also chair of TfL, branded it "far from ideal".

Mr Khan also warned of increased fares, just two weeks after Londoners were warned of potential Tube and bus fare rises of up to 14% next year.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the deal, which lasts until 31 March 2024, "more than delivers for Londoners".

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it had now provided more than £6bn worth of funding since May 2020.

There could be further Tube strikes over TfL pension reforms, the London mayor says "Securing the funding means bus services will now be cut by 4% instead of 18%", the BBC understands, which Mr Khan had warned was a possibility.

Although Tube services will not be reduced a £740m funding gap remains.

As the song says, "There could be trouble ahead ..."

 Next Seaham blog : Thursday 1st September 

Tuesday 30 August 2022

Bank Holiday Quiz Part 2

But First - Wonderful Woking

Many thanks to correspondent Peter for digging up dates for Heritage Open Days at the superb Woking Electrics Control Room.

And Depressing Dronfield

There, in all its glory, is the bus stop on Wreakes Lane, Dronfield, just on the Sheffield side of the Civic Centre and ideal for an enjoyable bit of retail anguish at Sainsbury's. As you can see, the stop is provided with a luxury shelter and a fine bus stop flag.
The flag is particularly helpful, NOT.
Helpfully it shows operator Mainline, the brand of the South Yorkshire PTE management buy-out. It was sold to First Bus in 1995; so the label is roughly 27 years wrong. So no tush for whoever should be keeping things up to date.

Service 89 has not run for many years, but neither fbb nor correspondent Andrew can remember how many!

But, joyfully, there is an electronic display board inside the shelter.
Andrew took the photos on Sunday last, commenting on the filthy nature of the shelter generally. He was also amused by the electronics.
Service 15?
Ah, yes; that doesn't run on Sundays hence the display on Sunday!

It is a disgraceful advert for public transport - AND TOTALLY INEXCUSABLE!

Quiz Part 2 (Don't Get Too Excited!)

Formerly the Home of Snot, a rare city that has excellent bus information at its railway station.

Nickname of a bus that hit (literally, solid tyres!) the streets of London 112 years ago.

City of 11 tram routes and counting. - two more nearing completion.

Much changed station in its recently-completed modernisation.

Second part of this new station's binomial.

Famous weather incident filmed near this sign.

Strange brand name for a bus (but you need to delete the definite article!)

Home to two retired LNER coaches.

Where bread is to be replaced by barriers.

Not A, nor D B, it's is C that runs the train!

Hampshire operator that bought a much respected Isle of Wight coach company.

To Throop no longer!

A fast "City" brand between Leeds and York.

Model Railway Snippet
The rockface and it's attached grass has been lifted off the table. Now two cracks to be repaired!!
After our weekend Fellowship meetings, 4th & 5th September, the next task is rubbing down and repainting the table.

 Next coffee pot blog : Wednesday 31st August 

Monday 29 August 2022

Bank Holiday Quiz - Part 1

But First, The Mystery From History

If you were to stray down an unassuming and un-named little lane off York Road in Woking, you would meet this amazing edifice.
Looking like a cross between a church from an obscure extremist denomination and a secret WW2 military bunker, this is where all the electrics for the south wester railway lines from Waterloo were controlled. Built in the 1930s its technology is preserved unaltered by modernity.
Here are switches that go clunk, and indicator lamps with real light bulbs hidden within ...
... and a clock that would have sat quite happily on the mantelshelf in Aunt Aggie's hallowed and rarely entered "front room".
The control room is open to the public on annual Heritage days.

And Now The (Easy?) Quiz

Start-up company based in Banbury, short of funds, that might be looking at a "Departure" soon.

An old control room near London's newest Underground terminus.

This London transport mode has just lost its Airline. Now it is simply "London's"

So nicknamed because it used to be dark, damp and a bit smelly. It is none of these today.

A bus station, typically too small and further than the old one from the shops, therefore correctly following modern architectural regulations.

The type of bus fare available here straight away; and proposed nationally.

Where does the full sized version operate?

This part-Pacer won't be leaving here in a long time!

Devon seaside terminus (long closed) that is a long way up-hill and in-land from the sea.

Terminus of stage 1 of the Indonesian high speed line.

A cement-making village in Rutland

One of Rotheram's new buses - but where?

Somewhere Greater ran the real version of this train - another Pacer.

The second half of the quiz will follow tomorrow. Answers later in the week.

All the answers have featured in recent months in fbb's blog.

NOT Part Of The Quiz
Not quite clear from the picture, but it predates an iconic building completed in 1925 that is recognised widely and was built on cigarettes! Where is it?

Confusing Clutter
fbb hopes that the Bearded Bus Beautifier from the Bush didn't do this one - it's a right mess.

A Heartfelt Apology (?)
Always anxious to encourage the best use of English, choosing the correct word wherever possible, fbb sent a twit complaining that "enormity" indeed meant "big" BUT only in the context of evil, disgusting, foulness. The writer of the above twittering did not mean that - he simply meant "very big". "Hugeness" would do!

Back came another twitter from a much respected blogger (?) in which he/she objected strongly to fbb's proffered educational assistance (fbb did not even ask for corrections!) as follows:-

"It is pedantry like that that puts people off rail travel."

So fbb can only apologise to Notwork Rail, the Rail Delivery Group, The Rail Unions, The boss (Peter Hendy) ...
... of Great British Railways (to start in 2122?) AND Sid Boggs, station announcer at Berney Arms, for the untold damage the old bloke has done to the finances of the UK rail industry by the enormity of his thoughtless remark.

Maybe he should of scent a repentant schilling (5p in them new-fangled decimated coigns) to Mr Hendy?

 Bank Holiday Quiz Part 2 : Tuesday 31st August