Sunday 18 September 2022

Sunday Variety

Come Along Mrs Peel, We Are Needed!

The Avengers TV series was utterly bonkers and, as the series progressed with a variety of bright young things assisting Patrick McNee to save the world, the story lines became more and more bonkers.

But fun!
In one episode, one of the chase scenes happens on a miniature railway.

Stapleford Miniature Railway is an historic steam locomotive-hauled 10+1⁄4 in (260 mm) gauge railway at Stapleford Park, Stapleford near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, England.

Considered one of the finest examples of its type, the railway is now private but still attracts thousands of visitors from the UK and abroad during its two public charity events each year.

The promo pictures saw the demure Mrs P (Diana Rigg) strapped across the track with Steed affecting a rescue in front of an obviously stationary and unstaffed train!
The broadcast scenes were somewhat different.
In fact the delectable Emma (without a tremor) was rescued when Steed raced ahead of the train and moved a very fake point lever to divert the train away from the obvious siding where our heroine lay bound and facing a horrible demise. Note that she was tied parallel to the rails not across them.

The reason for this blog is that the TV company presented the railway with a blue plaque to commemorate the event!
The incorrect PR shot is displayed below the casting. It was quite a small plaque as befits a small railway!
Well not quite right. There is no pointwork and no siding near the plaque!

The reason this is featured in this blog is that some person (an inappropriate designation!) has stolen the plaque. The people at Stapleford are, naturally, anxious to recover it and have requested all railway fans and all Avengers fans to assist in reporting if they see or hear of it.

Sadly Steed and Mrs Peel are no longer available to track it down!

Maybe whoever finds the missing memorial should be treated in the same way that many episodes ended; with a smile and champagne!
And a serving for the blog writer, please!

Publicity DOES Matter
TrentBarton was one of the very early pioneers of route branding on a large scale under the tutelage of Brian King. 

News comes of a "refresh" of some of its well known routes in the form of bus stop posters.
The posters are bright, replicate the brand and its colours and, to put it simply, attract the eye of customers and potential customers.

Of course, these are obviously the work of the Bearded Bus Beautifier from the Bush and more than adequately reinforce his own oft-stated brand. 

Creating Delight
Creating Demand
Creating Double-Takes
Creating Discussion
Creating Debate
Creating Design

Nope. fbb can't quite remember!

Some other operators should look, learn and see their passenger numbers grow!

And Publicity in Sheffield
Two weeks from TODAY, there will be massive changes for bus passengers in Sheffield and South Yorkshire with a likely 25% reduction in services overall. With two weeks to go not a single timetable has so far appeared.

So likely it will be chaos.

A correspondent has forwarded a dramatic piece of advance publicity. It is a poster for First Bus staff.
Sorry about the poor quality picture. But what it says is the First Bus will no longer be operating 16 services after next weekend and there may be more.

Clearly, from a passenger's point of view, the list is meaningless because First have no interest in who will be operating these services - or indeed, IF they will continue at all.

In amongst tendered bits and pieces (.g 25, 86) there are some weak services part of which may be tendered (e.g. 135, 137 and 138).

But there are some significant bits of the network in Rotherham, for example, where First is dropping the whole caboodle. Of the routes to and via Swallownest, First will only operate the X5/X55 to Sheffield. So massive changes are certain for Swallownest, Kiveton Park and Harthill.
Cross city 83 from Ecclesfield ...
... through the city centre to Greystones ...
... will be abandoned by the ailing First Bus. The 83 is currently in "partnership" with Stagecoach 83a but we have, as yet, no idea what will happen to either service or both.

What we DO know is that, when (IF?) we are told, the publicity will be atrocious.

Happier News For fbb
The wherewithall to build his new baseboards has been prepared to measure (fbb hopes to correct measure) at Peterville Quarry Railway workshops in Wantage. No 1 son will be transporting the bits to assemble them on Saturday 24th inst.
Exciting, eh?

Another "Place-Holder"
Readers may remember the development, in the late 50s, of a Prestwin cement wagon ...
... modelled initially as an Airfix kit. fbb's "token" model from Hornby (after being absorbed by Triang) arrived on Friday last.

The packaging was first inspected by Mr Tubbles as part of his health and safety remit. (That is, of course, health and safety for Mr Tubbles!).
Somewhere inside a plastic frozen meal tub, loads bubble wrap and approx four miles of parcel tape (it was a private sale!) was the wagon.
A little bit about the model's history may well feature in a later blog. And if it seems familiar to the older generation, here is it's predecessor as an Airfix kit!

Maybe something like this will help the potential customer to remember where they saw it; then go in and spend money.

Thus it will be Creating Desire. Now there is a potentially good slogan for something!

Tomorrow - a special journey?

 Next Go Direect blog : Monday 19th September 


  1. My school wasn't far from Elstree Studios and quite a few "Avengers" scenes were filmed at it. Alas, we were never allowed anywhere near the locations so never saw the stars!

  2. Looking at the Sheffield services, it would appear that they are hard to cut back.
    The 83/83a is a joint operation so needs both parties to agree. Reducing the service from every 20 mins to every 30 mins creates to long a layover, which is operationally unacceptable.
    The 27 and 29 are only hourly and run every 20/40 mins from Rotherham. They evening and Sunday service is a 29a covering some of both.
    To reduce either service probably needs a complete re-think of routes and joint operations. In reality there isn't time to do this properly in the deadlines set. However something will be done, but with less than adequate notice.
    An alternative would be for First South Yorkshire to go into liquidation and we lose most of their services. Financially they could I believe.