Sunday 19 February 2023

Sunday Variety

Ten Years Ago - The Great Gathering

In July 2013 all six remaining LNER A4 Pacifics were brought together at York Railway Museum, almost certainly for the last time ever, as part of the celebrations for the 75th Anniversary of Mallard's record speed run.

The crowds flocked; but not fbb who, having recently moved to Seaton, was wary of the considerable expense of a visit.

Ever ready to make money from elderly and wealthy railway modellers, Hornby has announced OO versions of all six locos in their premium Hornby Dublo range of diecast models - solid and sturdy like in the good old pre-plastic days. The six are only £321 each ...
So a veritable snip at £1,872 (less 6p!!) for the set.

But there's more!

The things that fbb never knew seem to be growing all the time. He never knew that the LNER (the real one not today's upstart) had another "streamlined" loco in its fleet. The "Streaks" (A4 Pacific) were 4-6-2 in wheel configuration, but these were 4-6-0.

This is what a B17 looked like in unadorned garb ...

... and this is what it looked like with extra tin added!

In September 1937 two locomotives (Nos. 2859 Norwich City and 2870 Tottenham Hotspur) were streamlined in the manner of the LNER Class A4s, renamed East Anglian and City of London and intended for use on the East Anglian train. They were designated B17/5. However, the streamlining was cladding for publicity purposes only and had little effect on the overall speed of the locomotive. By 1951 both engines had been stripped of the streamlining altogether.

Even the tender sides were extended upwards to make customers think they were riding behind an A4!

Needless to say, Hornby have announced hat a streamlined B17 will be one of its mut-have locos in 2023 (or maybe 2024 if it runs a bit late in true prototypical fashion).

The Pain In Spain Of Not Seeing Again

It is not that easy to read the destination either!
Disfruten de la vista, felices pasajeros.

McGill's Milngavie "Midland" Materialises

With the purchase of everything First that runs out of Edinburgh and Falkirk, McGills have re-intriduced some well-loved traditional brands. 

At the moment, they have stuck to a First Bus style map with First Bus "Zones" for explaining the fares structure, but the extra enhanced background colours on the network map do not add its legibility.
Recently announced, however, is a bright new livery for routes X10 and X10A. The history of these very rural services between Glasgow and Stirling is complex, but they entered fbb's ambit when he was a-courting the future Mrs fbb. Way back then, buses via Milngavie were routes 10, 11 and 12. Neat eh?
So occasionally "a coach" would pass the end of "her road"; and to a relatively naive fbb the destinations (Stirling, Balfron, Aberfoyle) seemed spectacularly Scottish and almost romantic. Would a modern version of Rob Roy MacGregor or Baillie Nicol Jarvie ride from Glasgow to Aberfoyle?
Midland buses always looked smart but First often scheduledbb tat on these routes.
So it came as something of a surprise to read that McGills had commissioned a smart new livery for today's X10 and X10A.
And it looks good!

fbb would have preferred to see the original Midland blue as the basis for the new paint scheme, but no doubt someone will have said that the colour used for many many years was "out of date". The new blues seem less rich and less a colour of real quality!

But full marks and a chocolate peanut to McGills for adding a powerful brand to routes that First seemed to have abandoned to mediocrity.
A while back, route C10 was used for a clutch of Stirlingdhire tendered journeys. The new repaints look a lot better!

Remember The "Miracle" Wire Strippers?

They fell to bits! 

And, almost in tears, fbb is awaiting a repose from either the manufacturers (far east) or Amazon (who knows where?)

First one little spring pinged out, apparently from nowhere! Then a second similar device fell off.

The springs should be clipped on to two little pins.
One set of "ends" is clearly visible as above; but the other "ends" ...
... are hidden within the mysterious miracle mechanism. fbb has tried to ping the outer springs back but to no avail. And without the springs the shiny pins fall out!

Another depressing day at the modeller's work bench.

Erratum (i.e. fbb Bludher!
Buckland Buses is based near Rendlesham, not too far from Woodbridge as quoted yesterday which is in Suffolk and not Essex.
Their depot is on the old RAF Bentwaters airfield ...
It is quite close to  Mus .

Royal Air Force Bentwaters or more simply RAF Bentwaters, now known as Bentwaters Parks, is a former Royal Air Force station about 80 miles (130 km) northeast of London and 10 miles (16 km) east-northeast of Ipswich, near Woodbridge, Suffolk in England. Its name was taken from two cottages ('Bentwaters Cottages') that had stood on the site of the main runway during its construction in 1943.

The station was used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War, and by the United States Air Force (USAF) during the Cold War.

Rendlesham Forest was the site of the UK's most famous (and, as yet unexplained) UFO sighting in December 1980.
There is now a UFO trail; with a very fake UFO sitting in a clearing. Was it really a UFO ...
... ot the lights from Orford Ness lighthouse ...
...  glimpsed in a creepy wood by over-excitable USAF personel, possibly after a nip or two of Bourbon.

They can do strange withing with the mind, those pesky biscuits.
This is the first time in nearly 4500 blogs that fbb has written about intergalactic public transport - possibly!

Yesterday's Puzzle Picture
Exmouth Station!

Today's Puzzle Picture
A toughie this time:; fbb doubts whether you could guess, but this blog will be going there tomorrow - and it is not in the UK!
A replica is still there, displayed near where the original sat in the middle of a busy road junction (Clue there!).

  Next Overseas blog : Monday 20th February 


  1. The allover advert bus is not Spanish - the bicycle carriers on the front are a decidedly non-European clue. It's a New Flyer, and so probably in North America. Fortunately, the operator's logo is on the middle of the front panel, from which we can deduce it is Florida operator Lynx
    The 9 doesn't seem to go to Oak Ridge any more, but then the business advertised went bust in 2018.

    1. Yes, Alex Hornby posted the picture on Twitter from his holiday in Orlando

  2. The tram controller's tower is surely within the shadow of the DB headquarters.

  3. The new Midland Bluebird livery will be more widespread than just the X10/A and as the service is going to be using ex London E400s the age of a number of the vehicles on the route will be going up...
    A quick look at this Flickr group
    will show the more recent branding in corporate style introduced by First along with the previous 'Discovery Route' version