Saturday 18 March 2023

Saturday Variety


It is rare that a well-read ancient like fbb is surprised by a word, but he has never before yesterday seen or heard the word "buckjumper"! A moment's thought should have suggested a link to the "bucking bronco" of TV Westerns at the rodeo. But when a wild untamed horse "bucks" like the above in an attempt to throw its rider, it is performing a "buckjump" or it is classed as a "buckjumper".

Yesterday, fbb learned (again for the first time) that this loco ...
... was known as a "buckjumper" - yet again a loco nickname that fbb has never heard before.

The Class R24 was built between 1890 and 1901, and had a 6in longer wheelbase but a 6in shorter frame. The cab was slightly smaller and the side tanks were moved further forward. A total of 140 R24 locomotives were built, of which 100 were intended for passenger duties and were fitted with screw reverse gear and Westinghouse brakes.

From 1899, a standardised boiler was introduced for the R24 class. These operated at 160psi and were interchangeable with the boilers on the J65 and J66 locomotives.

With the advent of heavier rolling stock in 1902, a total of 95 R24s were rebuilt with 180 psi boilers between 1902 and 1921. Referred to as "R24 Rebuilt", these locomotives had longer fireboxes with larger grates, and greater capacity side tanks.

In 1904, twenty Class S56 locomotives were built. These were intended for passenger work and were built with a 180psi boiler and high capacity side tanks.

Upon grouping the L N E R classified this complex group of diddy tank engines as J67, J68 and J69. Readers may wish to research further for a complete picture but fbb is satisfied with the general background of the "buckjumpers".

One such is preserved as a static exhibit.
What provoked fbb's interest was the announcement by Accurascale of a series of OO models of these delightful "buckjumpers" - as usual a large range of liveries and two price levels.
For the extra £100 you get DCC control and DCC sound.

If you order one quickly it should be delivered in about a year's time.

Were they called buckjumpers because they kept jumping off the track? Sounds nasty!

Not Big Enough?
As well as the inevitable delay (it as due to open for the Easter Holidays), there is growing speculation that the new bus station will not be big enough. The chat amongst the drivers who will use it is that it will be difficult to get a bus right alongside the kerbs, and then, if the bus sticks out a bit, it wil be impossible for one bus to pass another.

fbb cannot verify this uncertainty, but looking at the clearance between the van in the above picture and the far kerb ...
... it looks a bit tight, Remember that the van is narrower and much shorted that a big double decker!

Further Forward For Flix
It seems that Flixbus is making good its promise to become the No 1 coach operator in the UK. Like National Express, Flix woks mainly through partner operators who run quality coaches in the Flix green livery.

Belle Vue Coaches, based in Stockport, are one such.
Here's what their boss says.
Is the market big enough for TWO majo national long distance coach operators?

Return Of An Historic Route
Actually an historic route number, the route is totally different.

This new service is a simply a stitch together of two long standing bus routes. One is the 81 fom Bedford to Luton ...
... and, as you would expect the timetable today is all on line.

It is joined to the 99 which ...
... is also all on line at this very moment. The two operate in a V shaped route from Bedford to Milton Keynes via Luton!
The 99, readers may remember, was once the coach operated V99 with Virgin branding aimed at passengers from the West Coast main line at Milton Keynes travelling to Luton Airport. It seemed a good idea at the time.
On Thursday last, Roger French blogged a journey on the whole length of this obviously indirect route between Bedford and Milton Keynes. Well he always was a glutton for self-inflicted punishment!

But there is a snag. In October 2022 the linked route started and it was numbered MK1. There is now no 81 and no 99 despite the information you might find on the web.

Not that you would know that from the bus stop flags which Rog snapped on his journey, both for the 81 (near-illegible orange blob) ...
... and crisp clear 99.
To be fair (does Stagecoach deserve "fairness"?) the MK1 timetable is also on-line and the real time displays do manage the correct route number!
Bedford electronics sensibly don't mention the through route. Imagine your chagrin if you boarded an MK1 in error rather than the direct X5 to Milton Keynes.

The on-line timetable (no sign of any leaflets (it's all on line!) actually shows the service as two separate routes anyway ...
... with no indication that buses "run through".

But why fbb's historical (hysterical?) excitement?
fbb blogged appropriately on the 50th Anniversary of the very existence of Milton Keynes in 2017.
The very first MK1 is now actually a tad over 50 years old.
But back to today's MK1. fbb did try to get hold of a map of the route via the Stagecoach East maps section which is all on line, of course.
Only a lone zone map is offered.

Things did not look at all encouraging. Usually these Megarider diagrams are not maps at all, but a shapeless blob with a few place names attempting to specify where you ticket is valid.

So this time this is what fbb found:-

This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.
<Message>Access Denied</Message>

Yep, it really is all on line.

At the risk of appearing arrogant (fbb, arrogant, surely not?) fbb has a word of advice for Stagecoach.

If you want folk to use your MK1, it would be a good idea to tell them about it AND try to remove junk from the interwebnet that will confuse you customers.

A smart double decker in the fleet of Hulleys of Baslow, seen at Sheffield bus station.
And here is what it used to look like.
Here it is again on its way up the hill coming out of Hathersage towards Sheffield ...
... and again in London without its blue bottom.
All red, everywhere? Hmmm?

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 19th March 

1 comment:

  1. Three major long distance coach operators, if you include Megabus. Interestingly, in the 2000s National Express recorded some of its strongest growth on corridors on which Megabus also had a presence, suggesting that rather than competing for the same passengers, the competition attracted new users and grew the overall market for coach travel.