Sunday 27 November 2022

Sunday Variety

More On Vivarail

It is a little over two years since Vivarail announced a further investment in the company. Sadly it costs a lot to set up a new business manufacturing big and expensive things. So it can take an age and a half to see any return at all on money invested.

You don't sell many "new" trains in a hurry.

Hence the recent announcement of the intention to appoint "administrators", the first stage of what is crudely described at "going bust"!
Well, it seemed a good idea at the time!

Easily Baffled By Electric Buses

Ursula O'Sullivan Dale may have an impressive by-line name but she is notably ignorant of bus technology. They are NOT electric buses; they are "low emission" diesel buses.
Stagecoach explains all.
Journalism by press release - showing the same bus picture - is never the best journalism!

Meanwhile Arriva sees sense!
From Alan in Northampton ...

Arriva bosses have spoken out about the reason they pulled out of a consortium deal to bring a fleet of fully electric buses to Milton Keynes.

The Citizen (local on-line rag) revealed earlier how MK Council was left “disappointed” at the bus company's last minute move, and accused them of wasting government and council time and resources.

Last year the council had successfully bid for £16m in funding through the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Access (ZEBRA) scheme and, working jointly with Arriva, it was expected that Milton Keynes would get 60 brand new electric buses in 2023.

But now Arriva has quit the project, saying they could not find a “sustainable solution” to making it work.

i.e. it will cost us too much money.

We remain committed to Milton Keynes and working in partnership with the Council to serve passengers in the local community. We also remain committed to the decarbonisation agenda which is evidenced by fleet transitions we have been able to successfully implement through a range of sustainable models in other regions.

but somebody will have to give us more cash.

The fate of the council’s bid is now undecided but it is unlikely that another operator willing to take on such a large electric fleet could be found in time to salvage it.

we can't find another mug!

Maybe some are at last realising that electric buses do very little for the planet and can do considerable harm to  company's "bottom line".

A Tortuous Tale Of A Tempting Tin Tabernacle (1)

fbb was really not willing to shell out £50 for a tin chapel however nice it looked and however appropriate it might be for Peterville Quarry Railway. 

But the old bloke was still intrigued. Tin chapels were a particular feature of the late 19th and early 20th century. As new housing estates grew and the power of the Good News of Jesus spread, there was a need for extra meeting places. Several companies responded with a wide variety of designs, many of which still exist.

Some were quite small ...
... but are still in use. 

Many, however, have been demolished with no congregations left to care for them. This example at Bowes Park in London has definitely seen better days! 
fbb remembers a campaign on the Isle of Wight to refurbish a tin chapel located just along the road from the famous Blackgang Chine.

The refurbishment is now complete ...
... but, sadly, not for worship!
But the sainted Wikipedia has a long and thorough article listing a large number of examples of tin tabernacles in the UK. fbb wondered whether any of them looked like the Bachmann £50 version?
Lo and behold one seemed to fit the bill.

St Saviour's Church, originally located at Westhouses, Nottinghamshire, was dismantled and rebuilt at Swanwick Junction (Butterley) by the Midland Railway Trust. The church was originally consecrated in 1898, became redundant in the 1990's and was acquired for the museum site.

Westhouses is a small community located just north of Alfreton. 
It has all the signs of a railway town even today, with grid pattern roads of terraced housing ...
... and, across the existing railway, a large expanse of scrub land.
There is nothing tangible left today ...
... but here stood Westhouses loco depot ...
... seen in its declining years with steam and diesel residents.
It was this depot that led to the expansion of Westhouses village and, likewise, led to the Midland Railway's caring for its employees' spiritual needs by building them a new chapel ...
... part of which has been beautifully restored at Butterley.

So Bachmann's tabernacle is a model of the real thing! With that in mind, fbb was a little more interested. 

As usual EBay was prolific in its varied offers.

Prices varied from £77 plus £39 postage (from Australia, although whoever would buy it is uncertain) down to £36 including postage. fbb offered a cheeky bid to the latter of £25 (which was firmly rebuffed) and then decided to give up.

The stress of the EBay auction system is too much for fbb - especially as it can be easily manipulated by the seller to con a higher price out of bidders. 

But a further search outside of EBay revealed two offers from retailers of just under £27 plus postage. One was from Rails of Sheffield who had a Bachmann sale ...
... but the tabernacle stocks had gone by the time fbb got back there. But, undaunted, your miserly modeller found a similar price from Model Railways Direct.
Note that their "was" price is only £40, not the £49.95 quoted elsewhere.

It is on its way!

But, purists please note, it will be repainted blue to match the other "tin town" buildings and may gain modifications to add a touch of fbb individuality.

There was no mention of Black Friday, thankfully.

As of 1600 yesterday, the new ballast was still drying out!
 Next Munich blog : Monday 29th November 


  1. There's a former tin chapel here in Paignton, it stands in the grounds of Christ Church on Torquay Road (which was consecrated in 1888) and was almost certainly the church's predecessor, erected when Paignton expanded rapidly after the arrival of the railway in 1859. The former chapel is still in use today as the Church Hall.

  2. FBB can't resist a dig against electric buses as usual. Boring.

    1. Don't read if it annoys you and his point is actually valid and should be highlighted.

  3. The Bowes Park ‘tin church’ has been replaced in very fine form - see Google Streetview