Saturday 4 March 2023

Saturday Variety

Which Will Be Supreme?

Today's national rail system is so like the two-fold character of the famous horror story written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886 and subsequently made into films and TV dramas a-plenty. It was two "faces" of the same person.

So today, we have two faces of the same railway. In the March Modern Railways magazine, Alan Williams headlines this question.
DaFT want train companies to trim their costs by cutting services to save money whilst the environmentalists want more trains and more lines to save the planet!

HS2 might get no further than Birmingham to save money despite the fact that it will probably cost twice as much when it is finally built!

Then there is the West Midlands Hub.

Currently trains from the south west to the north west travel via the Camp Hill line (RED) to wiggle into New Street.
This little used link crosses the lines to Birmingham Moor Street and Snow Hill (dotted BLACK) so the proposal envisages junctions in both directions from the Camp Hill line to get trains into Moor Street where there are already two unused platforms ...
... currently put out to grass.
Because New Street station is full to bursting, the Camp Hill chord scheme would allow expansion of several routes in to the city terminating at Moor Street.

Clever eh?

Notwork Rail has drawn a map, reproduced in Modern Railways, which illustrates (in ORANGE) the extra services possible when (if?) this scheme is built. On the map each line represents an hourly train.
That is SIX extra trains every hour into Moor Street. To fit the routes in, the hourly lines are grouped round three sides of a square - but the terminus is conventional in practice.

Here is a Google Earth view if where the junctions would be built. Moor Street is too left.

Will nice Dr Jeckyll (the Dr Jeckyll planners hidden somewhere in the bowels of the earth at Notwork Rail) be successful or will the evil Mt Hyde of the Treasury put a stop to it?


Meanwhile in France ...
... a long term plan.

And Switzerland ...
... a long term plan.
There are some words here that seem mysterious and unintelligible to all colours of UK government,

So here is a bit of homework. Please learn and apply!
Get the idea, H M G?

And, in passing, how's Great British Railways doing?
Pardon? Speak up a bit! Ah, that's what you are saying.


Meanwhile In Northampton
Activity is surging ahead for a revamp of the town's glorious Market Square, one of the biggest uninterrupted such in the UK.
The Square has always been a "hub" for Northamptonians.
The council is spending £8.3 million on the upgrade.
Which seems a lot for a few trees, some uncomfortable concrete benches and quite a lot of new paving slabs.

But the council has produced a helpful map explaining the
 temporary arrangements.
... and, as you would expect from a go-getting new local authority freed from the excesses and errors of its predecessor**, it shows you the bus station and its travel shop.
The travel shop is closed - and has been for some considerable time with no efforts at all from Stagecoach or the Council to re-open it.

How about spending just a smidgen of that 8.3 million quid on funding a proper enquiry facility for the existing and potential bus passengers of the town.

Silly me. It's all on line! (But, see tomorrow's blog!)

How is your car-free green agenda, West Northamptonshire?

** Actually, it is pretty much the same lot that ran the old council, the lot that were "sacked" by the government for gross mis-managenent - sorry, put into "special measures".

And Now, The Stripper!
Remember fbb's excitement at the wonders of his recently acquired wire stripper?
An remember his anguish when the springs pinged off the shiny little pins?
Well, after a protracted e-mail conversation in pidgin English with China, Taiwan, India, South Korea, Birmingham or the Planet Zog a replacement has arrived.;
fbb hardly dare use the wonder of the mechanical age in case it pings again!"

Tomorrow : more new trains, more on Arriva's North-western pull-out, a map commission for fbb, Abellio MBO, a new bus service for Seaton and lots more.

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 5th March 

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