Friday 31 March 2023

Daft Or Dynamic : Mr Khan Has An Idea (1)

 A New Toy For The Mayot

News broke during the week of the latest spiffing idea from Mr Khan, Mayor of London (pictured having his idea, below).
Do not confuse the London Mayor above with the TV Comedy character, Mr Khan (below) ...
... Beautifully played by actor Adil Ray.
Inspired by one of his favourite toys, and with just a touch of inspiration from Elon Musk's Hyperloop vacuum powered train ...
 ... Mayor Khan is making a spectacular proposal for London Buses.
Only it isn't.

You might suppose that his Mayorship, about to introduce even more restrictions on travel in the City in the form of his expanded ULEZ, (Is your ulez expanded missus; oooh you should go to the doctor to avoid complications!), would try something good.

The existing ULEZ is shown in light blue on the map below.
The new ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) will cover the whole of Greater London!

So, faced with the opprobrium of most of London's vehicle owners, Mr Khan has had his dynamic bus idea.

It doesn't look very good at all.

Journalists have been quick to explain the scheme to their readers. One suggested it would be just like Paris.

Paris used to have a 'Petite Ceinture" ("small belt') rail line running right round the city.
Most of it is now closed and abandoned. It was replaced by Bus P.C.
The route had improving rolling stock ...
... and much of it is now replaced by trams, notably route 3 running as 3a (ORANGE) and 3b (GREEN) ..
... with just a short gap to be filled.
fbb has ridden about three quarters of "Le Superloop Parisien" and it is magnificent, mostly running on reserved track ...
... much of it seeded with lush green plastic grass.

Is this what Mt Khan has in mind? In your dreams, Londoners!

Here is Mayor Khans cunning  plan!
Looking at the colours, we can glean that SEVEN orbital bus routes will complete the loop - except that each of the seven will remain separated services; no through running is intended. So passengers on longer loopy journeys will have to change. So three separate legs from Northwick Park to Teddington.

The DARK BLUE line does not loop anywhere. It is the current 607 so-called Express service ...
... which, once upon a time, used to have distinctive "Express" blinds in blue.
The dotty RED line is the X68 tunning peak hours (Monday to Friday only) between Russell Square and Croydon.
It doesn't loop either!

And then there are three buses and a swim from Edmonton to Sidcup

Then there is the mysterious Canary Wharf to Grove Park (DARK GREY) route. This simply does not exist. If it ever arrives it will use the new Silvertown Tunnel ...
...which Mr Khan is building. He must have a big shovel.
It is being promoted by Transport for London and will be delivered through a design, build, finance and maintain contract by the Riverlinx consortium. The tunnel is intended to reduce congestion through the Blackwall Tunnel and both tunnels will be tolled when it opens in 2025.

The new route is (provisionally) numbered X239. There have been several 239s (sans X) over the years ...
... but the new X239 is different, only "proposed"  and does not loop.

The only reason 607, X68 and X239 (proposed) apper on this map is that they are limited stop routes. But they are absolutely nothing to do with the super Superloop loop-with-a-big-and-partly-wet-gap.
Royal Docks top left; Bexleyheath bottom right - and ne'er the twain shall meet!

fbb intends to look more closely at the "Loop" proposals in due course - but, for now, the stabbed eyeballs have had enough for the day (i.e. yesterday).

 Next Variety blog : Saturday 1st April 

Thursday 30 March 2023

New Or Retro : Budapest Metro (3)

 Award Ceremony Number 2

Which "Metro" line would claim the golden envelope for being the oldest such in the world? Well, obviously the London underground; everyone knows that! Easy winner at 1863
But that was steam powered. Electric trains down below started in 1890. That was the City and South London tube forerunner of the city branch of the Norther Line.

If you leave out the underground adjective, the Chicago "L" (for Levated) ...
... began, albeit in a small way, in 1892.

Budapest's entry with the oldest electric underground railway in Europe has some claim to the golden envelope. But it started in 1896. That was the same year a Glasgow's Underground but the latter was rope worked.
The Budapest line was very innovative. It was electric and was equipped with electric lighting and some very advanced technical safety features.
It was built by cut-and-cover ...
... and hardly any depth below road level, so it was well equipped with posts holding the road up!
Despite its incorrect claim to be first electrified underground railway in Europe it only warrants a silver envelope for second prize.
This sweet little line, nicknamed "little underground", runs from the city centre at Vordsmarty ter ,,,
... to its original terminus at Szevheny-furdo. The extension to Mexiko ut came later, much later, in 1973. Indeed 1973 saw the first new stock since opening in 1896.
The 1973 trains still run today.

But the northern extension brought a notable change. The original line appeared into fresh ait immediately after Hosak Tere.
The line curved round the edge of the park to serve a station at the zoo (Allatkerk).
There is no station there now, just a really weird footbridge going nowhere.
It was where the above ground station stood.  The RED section of line and its terminus no longer exist. The replacement BLUE line is fully underground.

The original stations are really quaint ...
... with quaint furnishings ...
... and quaint entrances with narrow steps! 
(Very traditional Paris Metro!) There are some fine "traditional" station names at street level.
It is all VERY different from the  "true" Metro lines 2, 3 and 4.

The entrances on the 1973 extension are spartan concrete ...
... and the platforms lack any obvious means of supporting the roof - no posts.
No doubt the roof is supported in another way!

Another result of the 1973 upgrade was that the station at Deak Ferenc ter was moved to provide interchange with Metro line 2 and 3.
The vacated station became the Bucharest Metro Museum, small but perfectly formed. fbb is grateful to correspondent James for a couple of pictures of the innards of the museum.
There is loads of stuff there, including a pre 1973 train car.
It;s well worth a visit if you happen to be passing through Budapest!

But there might be a snag with the silver envelope award. We need to pop in to Istanbul.
Well it is underground. It is Line F2 on the modern Istanbul Metro system.
It is very short because it is an underground funicular line. It is a steep climb.
But this underground line opened in 1875. So does it take second prize?

Alas no. It was a rope worked funicular and the winding engine was steam powered.
So Budapest's "Metro" line 1 keeps its second place.

And the Whiskers Man?
He is emperor Franz Joseph of Austrian and King of Hungary plus lots of other titles; and he came to open the "Little Underground" in celebration of the Millennium. The celebration, complete with big exhibition at the northern terminus of the new underground, was to celebrate the conquest of much of the nation which became Hungary by the Magyar tribe 1000 years earlier.
That's why they needed the new metro!!

Tomorrow we meet a new proposal for a circular service called Superloop. Today is fbb's fourth eyeball stabbing of a proposed programme of three (fbb does not understand either!) so the Superloop blog may be minimalist or even postponed, depending on the effect of the injection.

 Next Big Circle blog : Friday 31st March