Sunday, 26 March 2023

Sunday Variety

And the Winner Is ...

Readers may well remember the derision which greeted this video starring (?)  Grant Shapps (who was Transport Minister that week) and Michael (pink jacket) Portillo.
The video was regarded as childish and flippant, lacking the gravitas of such a major change in the way railways would be tun in the UK - possibly.

So The Winner Is ...


Yes, Derby is to the new (and probably VERY expensive) HQ of Great British Railways. Pause for celebration,
Derby was, of couse, the HQ of the much loved Midland Railway, famous for its small engine policy, leading to a small train policy stopping at a small station policy!
Apparently the GBR team, currently beavering away in dark and gloomy basements trying to work out how the GBR policy decision can work in practice, now have the unenviable task of finding a site in Derby and getting the lavish HQ built.
fbb suspects that the HQ will be opened by King William just in time for a new railway policy of decentralisation to the regions and nations; and the property will be sold to a developer and be converted into luxury bijou apartments at high rental.

Unless GBR as a whole is ditched before sods are cut.

More Electric Extravagance
Like fbb, you may have forgotten that First still has a remnant of its once huge network in Manchester. Part of the Oldham system remains, with a bit of Rochdale and  couple of routes south to Thameside (Ashton under Lyme).
These are all based in the Wallshaw Street depot in Oldham itself. It began as Oldham's tram sheds ...
...which morphed into the Corporation bus depot.
SELNEC took over ...
... and First got the northern half on privatisation. First and the depot are still there.
According to First, the company has big plans for its Wallshaw Street premises.
Now fbb is no high powered businessman, but he does wonder about the wisdom of investing in a fully "electrified" bus garage, only to lose the business completely under mayor Andy Burnham's franchising plan.

Maybe it doesn't matter too much to First as much of the bill for Wallshaw Street and its electric vehicles will be paid for by "the government" and that is you and me, folks.

The world of public transport is an increasingly weird place!

Historic note. fbb visited this very depot back in the late sixties. Oldham corporate had been upbraided by Her Majesty's Vehicle Inspectorate for poor maintenance and a clutch of buses had been "stopped". Sheffield Transport sent over a handful of buses similar to Oldham's finest that weren't so fine. fbb joined some chums from STD Traffic Office for a state visit.

For The Discerning Modeller?
In the drive for more detail and accuracy, fbb is pleased to bring before his utterly fascinated readers three models that can grace their superiorly detailed tracks.

For Narrow Gauge and N-thusiasts!
"Bug Box" is the nickname for diminutive coaches that used to run on the Festiniog Railway and still come out on special days.

For The OO Good Goods Wagon Collector
Another in their series of faux Private Owner liveries. The toffee company is ancient ...
... and its blue tins are famous "oop noorth" - although fbb has never knowingly chewed a Farrah's toffee.

Of course, it will be delicious - as is this wagon c/w small tin of tasty filling removers.

What Colour Are Lego Bricks?
When fbb was nobbut a lad, he had some Lego Bricks were red, blue, yellow, black and white. So when he saw this news item he was incensed with rage. 

An artist has painted a former railway bridge in Wuppertal (that's the Wuppertal of the dangling railway) ...
... a bridge which used to look like this.
He has painted it like it is constructed with super giant Lego!
It looks even better from underneath!
But what aroused the ire of the chubby one was that pale green brick! fbb was aware that a mid green brick was added to the colour range, but pale green - horrors of horrors!

Oh sad and ignorant fbb! There are actually Lego brick collectors. They don't make models from them, they just collect and enjoy their aesthetic beauty, And here are the colours so far assembled in a claimed complete collection.
And MEGX, (the artist - no idea how he pronounces his name!) has done another one.
Pink! Orange! Pale green, again! Pale Blue! Purple!

What is the world coming to?

Alas, trains no longer cross the Lego bridges. The line is now a high quality footpath and cycle way.

Herrlicher Fußweg auf einem alten Eisenbahnviadukt!

Barely Relevant Snippet.
Two gorgeous pictures of London at Night.
There is something very appealing about a modern well-lit city, especially where river reflections add to the beauty.
Or, how about a panorama in Budapest, split into three for the purposes of blog visibility.
Buda Castle, The Chain Bridge and tram route 19.
The trams look good in he dark as well.
More variety tomorrow.

 Monday Variety Blog : 27th March 

Saturday, 25 March 2023

Much Interest In Budapest (3)

Much More To Be Seen With Tram Nineteen

The joys of Google Streetview means that we can take a virtual ride on fbb's chosen Budapest tram 19. The early stages of the route are hardly earth shattering in their transporte interest but we start with huge ominous apartment blocks, only relieved by a few trees.
As we move towards the city centre, we then meet smaller and more attractive housing, probably dating from the 1920s or 1930s.
There are suburban shopping centres and this one ...
... marks the terminus of the Heritage tram route - although fbb could see no obvious trackwork to turn the beautiful but ancient trams around.

Our virtual ride takes us through older smaller buildings, probably the "outer suburbs" of he city in the past.
And on we go, moving rapidly into the inner suburbs of the city. There are "official" buildings and taller older properties.
Then whilst our No 19 veers left, we espy another one of those linking tracks that ensure stock can be moved on and off any particular route.
There is one for the opposite direction later on. These links are very useful when track needs renewing or repairing. The tram service can continue even if diversions are in place.

But soon we hang a sharp left and aim for the River Danube. 
To get to the riverside, we have a little bit of reserved track with a stop right outside a railway station, although you would never know it.
The entrance is in the trees and the trains are in a tunnel. The line used to be on the surface all the way ...
... but, in typical suburban style, the last two stops on this line have been moved underground. It descends into tunnel ...
... before calling at the well hidden  "Margit" bridge stop.
We are on suburban line H5 of the Hungarian State Railway, branded HEV.

But back to our tram 19. It exits from the tram/train stop and we are in for a surprise.
The two tracks become one - only they don't! There is a short section of interlaced track under the bridge. For the non ferroequinolgical experts, interlaced tracks are not joined in any way, just that they are, well, interlaced!
They split apart again on the other side of the bridge.  And there are signals to prevent trams ramming into ine another!
We are now on a long stretch where the tram 19 runs along the banks of the Danube. The next stop ...
... is a busy interchange. After spotting the glorious Parliament Building on the opposite bank ...
... we can see more  buses awaiting their interchanging passengers.
There is one of these ...
... a ventilation shaft for the railways underneath. And there is a station, or, more correctly a set of escalators.
Down below is the terminus of the HEV (suburban) line 5 ...
... and one of only two Metro lines that crosses the Danube.
Here is M2 at the multi modal interchange.
More on the Metro in a later blog.

Our virtual tram ride continues spectacularly along the banks of the Danube. Clearly an extra car lane has been added at a later date ...
... leaving the tram at a slightly higher level. 
Good views guaranteed.

There are more bridges to undergo ...
... but, without actually crossing the river, tram 19 turns inland to make its way to its southern terminus.

That final terminus is here ...
... at Kelenfold Metro station, terminus of line 4..
It looks OK from a discrete distance, but, on closer examination, has seen better days. But is all what it seems?

But more on the Budapest Metro in a later blog.

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 26th March