Sunday 1 January 2023

Sunday Snippets

Boston Lodge : Big new Look

The Festiniog Railway depot was run down even before the original slate line closed post WW2 and decay continued. The depot, at the end of the causeway called The Cob, was in a poor shape, yet claims to be the oldest steam railway depot still in use in the whole wide world.

Admittedly it is a bit like the worker's yard brush that is still in use after 50 years with only 20 new handles and 25 new brush heads!

The most recent major project has been to rebuild and extend the carriage sheds, seen here at the estuarial edge of the site (right) ...
... and seen in diagram form below.
As well as further rebuilds in the shed area, the latest mega project is to rebuild, replace and restore (as appropriate) the various workshops some of which are shown at the head of this piece.
The aim is to recreate something of the works in their heyday; but, this time, to provide viewing access for the public. A second aim it to improve areas used for training apprentices in the engineering skills needed to run a busy heritage railway.
So, take a ride past Boston Lodge, recorded in 2018.
For the record, Boston Lodge is just south of Porthmadog at the southern end (eastern end?) of The Cob.

Bad News For Buses - Again!
Both on-line and live on the six o'clock news on 29th December, the BBC has reported on fears of further bus cuts when the current round of "aid" runs out in April this year. Fairly short on fact and over-blessed with negative "vox pop", interviews were conducted at the Northern General Hospital (NGH) bus stop on Barnsley Road in Sheffield.
The opening shot of a lonely passenger was elsewhere ...
... at a location fbb has been unable to identify.  But, call fbb a cynic, interviewing folk outside the NGH about a lack of buses is a bit of a weak case as, despite cuts, there are at about 15 buses and hour in each direction!
Interviewees spoke about all the usual suspects; no evening buses (there are evening buses), can't get to church (you can), and even a remark from one chap who told us about new bus shelters being installed on a road with no buses. fbb can't think where that might be either, but it is certainly nowhere near the film's location.
One "expert" bemoaned that fact that, even if you read the timetable, the buses did not turn up.

What timetable? There have been no printed timetables in Sheffield for years, which has clearly contributed to the decline in passenger numbers.
Both the live piece and the on-line item ended with comments from Alice Ridley for Campaign for Better Transport ...
... but she was outside Broadcasting House in London!

There will, indeed, be a huge problem when (maybe if) the Government funding stops, but a better and more credible report (buses were passing by all the time the interviews were happening) could have made the case more effectively.

And, as a helpful bonus, the on-line piece was headed with pictures of buses in Birmingham.
Birmingham? Surely that cannot be right, BBC. The buses are red so it must be London!

Coming to a TV Near You
The first series struggled to find enough variety, fbb thought, but it may have been OK for the occasional viewers of "Yesterday". Pre-broadcast highlights of the new series include a visit to Jools Holland's mega model railway and an account of Peter Waterman's recent exhibition model.

Will we hear about TT120, and how will they explain it?

Big Bulky Boxes Bursting with Biomass
Drax Power Station uses compressed wood pellets sourced from sustainably managed working forests in the US, Canada, Europe and Brazil, and are largely made up of low-grade wood produced as a byproduct of the production and processing of higher value wood products, like lumber and furniture.

So it's sawdust, then - but compressed into pellets? And it is transports from all over the world to the UK and then carried in trains (diesel hauled of course) from port to power station. And then burnt.

The Mail On-line, always known for its even handed journalism, is not impressed.
The wagons are big.
The trains are big ...
... and this video example apparently ties up THREE locos - although possibly at least one of them was not under power. But that's a whole lot of sawdust!

So has fbb got this right? This sawdust pellets are made, inland, in Louisiana ...
... conveyed to Drax Port at Baton Rouge ...
... by diesel hauled train.
Then by a big oil-guzzling ship all the way to Liverpool ...
... and on to Drax in another diesel hauled train

All very environmentally friendsly - NOT!

But while we contemplate the greenness or otherwise of Drax power station, we could buy a two-wagon set of Drax Biomass "tankers" for our N gauge railway.
They are to scale and thus very big for most N gauge layouts ...
... and only £90 for the pair.

Hornby used to make an OO Version, with a set of two at about £100 to £120 ...
... but if you can find them in the blue Drax boxes and the so-called "swoosh" livery, they will probably cost more.

 Next Bank Holiday bits blog : Monday 2nd January 

1 comment:

  1. Your unknown bus stop location is Foxhill Road, one stop Northwards from Foxhill Crescent, looking south, and now unserved by buses since the 135 and 32 were axed in October.