Saturday 20 May 2023

Satutday Variety

Who Wins This Time?

DaFT has just announced its latest prize draw in which operators have been guessing (1) whether there is any more money on the way after the present schemes run out and (2) how much will be in the winners' cheques. A third issue is to wonder how the amounts graciously delivered from on high are calculated.

But really we all know the answer to the last one!
Yep. Rather than buyong a new one, DaFT borrowed Guinevere from its display in the Science Museum!

So what goodies are being spread liberally (?) around the industry as announced this week.

£200 million for the continuation of the fare cap as follows.

£2 until October 2023 then

£. 250 unil November 2024

As the average fare today is supposed to be £2.40, neither goody is a great deal of help to those who need it most, namely Mrs Miggins going to the shops or Bert Scroggs going to work down t'pit. And it is poor value indeed if your journey involved two legs to and two legs from.

But it IS a good deal for those wealthy enough to take trips to the seaside and spend money on chips, candyfloss and slot machines

The evidence for increase in passenger number as a result of the cap is patchy at best and, in many areas, non-existent!

£300 million "to protect bus services into 2025".

Again two tranches. ("tranche" - French for "slice" as in bread or cake. It sounds better if you give it a "foreign" name!) The bounty is split into two half tranches (demi-tranches?) of £150 million.

 £150 million to March 2024 split into 

£80 million to Local Authorities

£70 million to bus operators

The operators' money will be paid through the BSOG (which, when fbb was running buses, was Fuel Tax Rebate) which will be enhanced by approx 30%.

It's the local authority donation that provokes more questions than it resolves.

Here is the full list. On the right is what has already been allocated/paid out and on the left is the extra now promised. First "tranche" of the list ...
And the second tranche of the list.
North East and North of Tyne has a joint award as does North Somerset and West of England.

fbb hopes he has grasped the whole lottery delivery - but even if he hasn't the same questions remain.

Sheffield City Region gets over £3 million this time around but not a penny previously. Maybe a consolation prize?

As a much respected bus man said to fbb, "It would be nice to think there is some logic, some well considered plan, in all this. BUT ..."

And so say all of us.

Peckham Rye Old Waiting Room

The reason fbb could not find a picture of Susie Sze's newly installed "art work" is that it hadn't yet been installed. So here it is ...
... and here it is in close-up.
Well now ... ????

Thanks to correspondent Ian for the update.

From Tank Wagons To Coaches
For aeons Hornby has had a ducky little 4 wheel coach in its menu. fbb had considered painting a rake of these delightful little vehicles in a Peterville Quarry Railway livery. But a neater idea would be to accumulate a collection of every livery ever produced. In the rake above are three GWR versions, one LNER teak, one in a weird bottle green livery puis Annie and Clarabel, Thomas' chums.

So, when fbb saw one in a bright red livery, he was intrigued.
The caption said it was "Highland Railway Red" split from a Toys R Us set.


The Highland Railway painted its coaches in a dull blue-ish green,.
... although the version below does have a red end or red covers.
There is much debate on-line about exactly what colour green was used. Nobody seems at all sure, especially as the Highland weather would wreak havoc with the paintwork of past times!

But fbb can find no record of red; nor can he find any record of the Toys R Us set.

Can any blog reader help? If so please e-mail - the old bloke would be most grateful.

Still to find (at a low price!) are:- Southern olive green.
Southern malachite green.
Caledonian light blue?
Somerset & Dorset dark blue

Midland maroon (awaiting delivery via EBay.)
Caledonian red and white ?
Track cleaning coach
There may be others. Again email with pictures!

And here is the dark blue-green that fbb has already obtained.
Highland Railway green?

Switcher Switched To Battery Power
Question 1? Is there enough lithium around for all these batteries?

Question 2 ? How much does it cost to recycle these batteries?

Mr Tubbles Versus Big Ging Crisis
Big Ging, home address unknown, has taken too popping into fbb mansions for a snack. As this is Mr Tubbles' grubble that Big Ging is snacking, Mr Tubbles is far from happy.
Mr Tubbles does not believe in physical violence; i.e. he is a pathetic wimp.
Indoor "facilities" are now provided and cat flp is locked at night.

Mt Tubbles is far from happy with this arrangements but at least the fbbs are not feeding TWO cats.

Big Ging is "ging" as in "GingER". It is a name invented by fbb - the true feline identity is unknown.

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 21st May 


  1. Obtain a catflap with a magnetised catch . . . fit Mr Tubbles with collar and magnet . . . Big Ging is locked out and excessive catfood consumption is thwarted.

  2. I think that FBB should suggest that Gavin the Proof Reader might consider a career break. A new flat fare of £250 is really not credible.

    1. I read it as much less than that - £.250 Or 25p.

  3. Averages cover all manner of sins. When your your fare into your nearest town is upwards of £4 single or £6 return, £2 single is a winner hands down. If your fare is £2.80, that 80p a day goes quite a long way at the moment.

    There is no evidence at all that the £2 single is/was intended to grow patronage, except in people's imaginations. Even the advertising is the same as the "help for households" energy bill reductions, and is clearly intended as the bus passenger version of the fuel duty freeze.

  4. The quoted average fare of £2.40 takes into account child fares and concessionary travel. What most people pay in reality is a lot more. The increase of the fare cap to £2.50 will still therefore be useful.