Sunday 30 April 2023

Sunday Variety

Paris Proposed "Prolongement" Proceeds

That blue blob (above map upper left) is at Mantes-la-Jolie, a community about 55km from central Paris - about the same track distance as Guildford is from London. Here is its station from days past ...
... and Station Square opposite with the arrival of the evil and terrifying motor vehicles!
The caff above on the right still stands today, but with a chunk missing from wartime damage perhaps.
More recently, the station building looked like this ...
... much the same as ever. But most recently things have been happening at Mantes-la-Jolie.

The proposals would appear to show an extra chunk added beyond the original building.
Before we find out why the extension is being constructed, it is worth remembering that, being France, buses do stop outside the station.  As we look in the above view, there are stops to the left ...
... and to the right.
So what's going on at the station? A picture on-line reveals all.
Therefore, coming up tomorrow, fbb will be taking a longer look at RER Line E and the current extension works.

Surely, you cannot wait!

Then There's The Dog!
fbb is never sure that cute mascots do much for the bottom line of a railway company's finances, but above we have another one. The blue-nosed canine is called "Whistle".
Sadly, the Northern Trains web site is so keen to sell us a ticker that Whistle's adorable visage remains conspicuously hidden. Maybe it's for the best; it is not a good idea to frighten young children or those of nervous canine disposition.

Merseyside's Route Zero?
Well, back in fbb's Great Britain Bus Timetable Day the route from Liverpool to St Helens ...
... definitely wasn't route "Zero".
Of course, it is yet another example of the planet-saving zero emissions myth.
A reminder that, at the moment, the production of hydrogen by the bus-full produces more pollution that a diesel engine.

Recent publicity notes that the Biomass Power Station companies have been advised NOT to claim "green" credentials for their business because, simply, it ain't!

fbb : Investigator of Leicester Data
fbb did promise some further blogs, looking at some of the Leicester area timetables and, notably, the disappointing way that they are presented on the otherwise excellent Leicester Buses comprehensive all-operator web site.
Timetables are provided with links to the operating company web sites where the presentation is inconsistent and often simply poor. So fbb set about seeing how they could be improved.

Unfortunately, although most of the data is backed up, work was completed in software on the laptop; which is busted and having a recuperative stay c/o No 3 son at Haywards Heath.

The 31 to Oadby needs something done to the Arriva presentation. Here is the outbound timetable (extract only) ...
... apparently nice and simple. But here is the same route inbound ...
Here is the route map in Oadby c/o the comprehensive (and very good) Leicester Buses route map ...
... and here is exactly the same area on the "main city bus routes" map on the Leicester City Council web site.
So, until his laptop returns from the clinic, fbb will leave his readers to wonder what it all means.

And there are more confusion-fests like the above.

Leicester's Hop Doesn't Stop
The average passenger numbers Monday to Friday for this free city centre circular during the first week or so was 400. But, on one day recently, the two-bus service (plus an extra at peak) carried 800!
Do frogs eat chocolate peanuts?

Seaton Aldi News
Excitement is growing in and around fbb mansions as the former Co-op car park (free since the demise of the store) has bern closed and is now being refurbished.
There is, however, little sign of work on the shop's empty shell, work which may, one day, turn the old Co-op pumpkin (right background in picture below) ...
... into a beautiful Cinderella of an Aldi supermarket.

Of course, fbb cannot wait to enhance his retail therapy experience!

With apologies for current production difficulties ...

 Next Exciting Eole Extension blog : Monday 1st May 

Saturday 29 April 2023

Saturday Variety

Whatever Happened In Macclesfield?

Readers may have been mystified that, about a week ago, fbb promised to tie up the consequences of Arriva's closure of its Macclesfield depot. The replacement services from D&G/Centrebus took some time to resolve as the negotiations with the bit of Cheshire doing the tendering were somewhat protracted.

These were eventually resolved and a splendid new timetable  fold-out leaflet was produced.
The contrast between D&G's marketing effort and the non-publicity policy of Arriva goes some way towards explaining the latter's abject failure in the town!

We already know that route 10 to Bollington was a simple registration by D&G, operating commercially.
Service 3 to Weston is similarly absorbed but probably with a smidgen of tender money. The service remains half hourly.
It is, naturally, better presented than anything Arriva bothered to offer its few remaining passengers.
The horrific complexity of Arriva's presentation of the 4, 5 and 6 is just confusing.
The half hourly 4 to Broken Cross is straightforward but the 5 and 6 are an attempt to cobble together an evening service to include bits of the 3 and 4.

D&G's map shows some reduction in confusion.
The result is a much neater 19 and 19A ...
Cleverly, this local service rides on the back of the pre-existing route to Prestbury. Neat eh?
Which leaves Arriva's route 9, a nice simple 30 minute frequency.
This time  it becomes a somewhat less neat and tidy 14/14A.
fbb guesses that this gives a similar service to the 9
... but at lower cost because again the former Arriva Moss Rose service piggybacks on a modified and pre-existing Centrebus 14.
Clearly Centrebus and its associated companies have come up with a good plan to maintain similar levels of service throughout the town but sharing the costs with their existing routes.

But what is so good is the quality of the maps and timetable presentation in the new leaflet. You might say that it is all creating desire - as some one once said!

The whole Macclesfield project seems to deserve at least one (probably more than one) chocolate peanut and the very best wishes for on-going success.

Oh, yes; the leaflet has a detailed map of the centre of Macclesfield ...
And there are some very attractive fares ...

£10.50 for two passengers - £11 for a group of FIVE!

fbb Bemused By Beeline B-route
Weird! It runs from Manorcrafts Primary School ...
.. .actually this roundabout near the school; then via Egham Station ...
... and then on to nowhere in particular in Egham.

But, near that unnamed terminus on the map, you will find this ...
... an more notably, this!
This magnificent Victoria pile is the University of London Royal Holloway College Founders Building.
When we look at a timetable extract ...
... we see that reflected in the timetable running on college days only. The student web site also shown the FH3 running at weekends ...
...and Sreetview shows Diamond running route RH1. 
Traveline shows the 8B and, RH2 and RH3 both run by Diamond Bus South East.

Lets hope that the students know what is happening.

Lothian Versus First - A Memory
fbb has reviewed McGills significant cut-backs in the Livingston area of West Lothian. Pre-McGills there was some very aggressive competition by Lothian Buses attacking First Bus. Two express services started using coaches.
The pictures come from Roger French's blog. The services did not last.

Parking Shortage In Ilfracombe?
Use the harbour - but check the tides!!

Price Confirmed
Generally speaking, if promoters are somewhat coy about revealing the price of their product, you can expect said price to be high. The above book retails at ...

Sadly, not on fbb's "must have" list!

Tomorrow we go to Paris and also back to Leicester.

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 30th April