Saturday, 4 February 2023

Saturday Variety

 Baffling Beyond Belief

fbb came across the above in a bit of unsolicited twittering. Sadly, the old man hardly understood a word of it. ADL is Alexander Dennis Limited, a merging of Alexander bus bodywork manufacturers and Dennis, chassis and engine specialists once of fire engine fame! This one dates from 1956.
When fbb was more of a lad South Yorkshire PTE tried out, and subsequently acquired a Dennis from the then-called Hestair Dennis. 
For a while, the Dennis became the "standard" bus.

But what do all those marque letters actually mean. fbb decided to educate himself by exploring the current ADL catalogue of double deck vehicles.

Bog standard diesel power, here with Southern Vectis.

That is Clean BioGas, missus.

Looks like Electric Vehicle with iron phosphate batteries.

Possible Electric Range - there's a clue on the side of the bus. The blurb sys that it doesn't need charging (presumably that means external charging or it would defy the laws of physics!), so fbb guesses it has a diesel engine charging the batteries

Hybrid. fbb has no idea what the difference is between these two, and the next one, for that matter. Ask your nearest friendly Director of Engineering to explain it to you.

Maybe the "H" bus is a bit on the stupid side?

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle. A reminder that this works like a backwards classroom science experiment. You shoved electricity into water and split it into hydrogen and oxygen. You could collect the hydrogen in a test tube and light it. It went "pop" - such were the thrills of science lessons. The fuel cell takes hydrogen from a tank and oxygen from the air and makes electricity and water.


fbb will have to add one single deck vehicle to the list.

Autonomous Electric Vehicle. Don't laugh! Apparently the experimental driverless service (with driver and "captain") between Ferrytoll ad over the (old) Forth Bridge to Gyle Business Park is to be extended.
Should be fun!

And below is the ultimate zero emissions vehicle.
This luxury 1903 model was typical of the Dennis Brothers early production.

So the modern Dennis is planting a pear tree at the relatively new HQ in Farnborough.
Pear tree?
The HQ (Trident House) is adjacent to this roundabout on the business park that now takes up a hearty chunk of the former aircraft research site.

Loriot Y - Why Loriot?
The Great Western Railway had code names for all its wagons. They weren't just for fun, but were used when telegraphing requirements across the system. ("telegraph" - primitive form of e-mail). But Loriot hits the heights of obscurity.

It appears to be a french name for a bird, otherwise called the oriole.
You would reckon that only the most well-versed GWR wagon enthusiasts would have ever heard of it. But it suddenly hits the headlines when two competing manufacturers decide to produce a model of the iconic Titfield Thunderbolt train (or trains).

When the first train crashed under the influence of its under the influence driver, the enthusiastic preservationists pinched the Thunderbolt loco (a k a "Lion") from the town museum and coupled it up to "Dan's house". Dan lived in a ramshackle old railway carriage without chassis or wheels. Dan's house was loaded on to a Loriot freight wagon ...
... although the plot was a tad evasive as to how they managed it and, for that matter, why a Loriot Y wagon was sitting unused on a closed branch line!"

Rapido Trains have published CAD versions of the whole train ...
... including the interior of "Dan's house" ...
... and early engineering samples in plain plastic.
But, always keen to beat a competitor, Hornby released its Loriot Y, advertised by Hattons, yesterday about lunchtime.
Not cheap for a simple wagon with only a few detailed parts to be added by the manufacturer.

But worry not, eager purchasers of this iconic and little-known wagon type. By afternoon tea time the price had shot up by seven quid.
Nice model, nasty price! fbb wonders how much Rapido will charge.

There is no room at Peterville for a collection of obscure GWR wagons.

A Scottish Terrorist, That's A Point!!
fbb actually remembers being taught about Robert the Bruce and the spider. He (fbb, not the Bruce) was aged about 7, i.e.approx 70 years ago.

Robert the Bruce was a Scottish clan leader and, today, would have been classed as a violent terrorist. He slaughtered a rival clan leader and two of his relatives in front of a church altar which was both criminal and blasphemous. He spent a fair part of his life attempting to slaughter the english. But after a series of spectacular defeats, he fled to a cave somewhere on the west coast of Scotland.
Blackwaterfoot on Arran is one of the many claimants to arachnid fame.

His nemesis was English King Edward I who married Eleanor aged 13 then promptly went off to fight wars, including slaughtering the Scots! Ed did pop home now and then, largely to father 12 children.

As Big Rob lay in his cave somewhere in Scotland, he is reputed to have watched a spider.
He is then reputed to have opined ...
He went from outlawed terrorist and failure to be hero of Scottish independence - similar to the aspirations of the Sturgeon ...
... another obscure GWR wagon!

His  reputed motto was "try, try and try again."

So fbb was faced with a problem. In the tunnel was a left hand point.
It is part of a "hidden siding" set up which will allow fbb to despatch several trains from Peterville, to "stack them" in the hidden siding and drive them back later. Clever eh? But that point needed to be electrically operated as it  was remote from the control position. 

A fair chunk of Friday morning a week ago was taken up trying to make it work.

The point blades clicked over obediently by hand.

The point motor clunked obediently by 12 volts of electric.

But no matter how fbb pinned down the point or the motor, the actuating arm of the motor would NOT stay attached to the tie bar. It refused to actuate.

A further attempt on Saturday morning (one week ago) was made in a desperate  attempt to get it working for the arrival of honoured guests, viz the Fearnley family.

It failed. So, yesterday a further "try" was tried. 
Would the point motor spider stay connected to the tie bar web? Would fbb become a model railway hero instead of a compete operational outcast?

Find out in tomorrow's blog.

Puzzle Picture
What (transport related) product is this chap advertising.

Answer tomorrow.

Our duplicate fellowship meetings are tomorrow and Monday. Blogs may be reduced in length or scops if old age decline and mental exhaustion set in!

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 5th February 


  1. The difference between the Enviro400ER and the Enviro400H(ybrid): the ER has a "geofenced zero emission capability" so can run solely on electric power when it detects that it's within a pre-programmed boundary (ie the city centre where air pollution is worst). I've no idea what the SmartHybrid is.

  2. Andrew Kleissner4 February 2023 at 08:41

    The Smart Hybrid is a very different beast. This has a small electric motor insert between the diesel engine and the wheels. On acceleration it "saves" the diesel by slightly boosting the power; on braking it acts as an alternator charging a supercapacitor. It's more of an energy-storage system (and acts rather like a flywheel) but it's simple to use and reduces fuel consumption and strain on the engine. We have one here in Cardiff (Citaro not ADL) which coincidentally has been on my route this week. When I asked the driver what it was like to drive, he said, "Same as all the others" and flatly denied that it was a hybrid even though it says so on the outside! This is quite different to the other hybrids where the drive is fully electric and the diesel only runs to charge the battery. I always find these weird as the engine cuts out and in as required and runs at a constant speed when it is in operation.

    1. The hybrid you've correctly described is a series hybrid, eg E400H, Borismaster. There are also parallel hybrids, eg Volvo B5LH, where an electric motor and a diesel engine are connected in tandem through a gearbox to simultaneously drive the vehicle. The diesel engine provides both some propulsion and also charging of the batteries. As with the series hybrid these can go short distances on pure electric power.

    2. Andrew Kleissner4 February 2023 at 17:16

      That's interesting, i wasn't sure if such a thing existed/

  3. Update on Bordesley, featured in the blog a week or two ago. On Tuesday I was on a train that stopped there! Birmingham City were at home and the train (from Dorridge) set down about a dozen passengers. It was not, as far as I noticed, advertised to stop there so it seems the regulars just assume it does. However a train from Snow Hill a few minutes later was shown/announced as calling. WMR's timetable onlione merly staes that trains call when BCFC are playing without giving specific info.

  4. Bear in mind that the power source behind your push bike also gives off CO2, and quite a lot of it when puffing up a hill, so it’s not strictly zero emissions either is it?!