Sunday 21 May 2023

Sunday Variety

 Lottery Thoughts

fbb is occasionally privileged to receive comments from working bus industry managers and the thoughts below arrived in response to yesterdays blog. The author of these comments has asked to remain anonymous, which is understandable, as he doesn't want to alienate those at DaFT HQ who work the Guinevere machine. They might leave his lottery ball out so he wins no prizes!

When this was announced a couple of days ago I thought it was a disaster.

It looked like nationalisation by stealth, control prices until the General Election (note the November 2024 end date) and control the volume. 

So the BSOG bit all depends on the terms and conditions. Are the Dft going to attempt a straightjacket on volume and fares? If they are we are all doomed.

As to the LA bit that looks sensible, if I look at the LA’s where we run, those are numbers that they can use to avert network meltdown, not peanuts nor too large that they will do something stupid. 

With the majority of the original BSIP funds, LA’s really haven't a clue how to spend them wisely given the short timescale and micro managing from the Dft, so much of that original money will be wasted.

So the t’s and c’s are crucial, as apparently neither the Treasury nor Dft wanted this, and it’s come directly from No 10. Knowing the Dft we will get the full details a week before it all starts

So it could be a prelude to 18 months of stability, or a prelude to meltdown.

This does not seem like an enthusiastic endorsement of Government policy.

It's more like a recognition that it will all go wrong!

Thoughts Of Winter
It seems approporiate as sping s bustin' out all over! Hattons have advertised their Beilhack snow plough which is being re-issued - i.e. another batch being made in China. Hattons will sell you a pack or TWO snow ploughs for £70.
They are delightful models available in black as well as yellow.
As is expected these days, the detail is exquisite ...
... with lots of attached bits and bobs and superb printing.
The railways first tried tacking a plough blade on to the front of a diesel loco ...
... but removing buffers and bolting this thing on as the blizzards swirled was not overly popular with "the lads". So some clever chap though of asking Martin Beilhack (German railway engineering company) to design one as an integral part of redundant Class 40 diesel  loco bogies.
Class 40 used to be called D200s in the old money.
But, if fbb's eyes don't deceive him, they have lost one set of wheels in the process.

fbb does have one question, however. What model railway would ever need TWO snow ploughs?

In researching the Beilhack oeuvre, fbb came actoss this historic delight.
You cannot help loving the word "Hochgurgl"!!! And, joy of joys, Google Translate cannot translate it!

Only once, since the ffbs moved to Seaton, did the outdoor model railway suffer from serious snow ...
... when the Beilhack model (or models) would have been ineffective! fbb is not expecting a similar meteorological itervention in the top floot room of fbb mansions.

Not A "Wobbly" Bridge
When the Nuneham Bridge closure between Oxford and Didcot was announced, the fourth estate (which knows nothing of railway technology) was predicting imminent collapse of a failing bridge. 

As confidently expounded by fbb, the bridge over the river was a strong and firm as ever - it was the southern abutments that had begun to crumble.
Utterly misleading.

The picture below shows (correctly) the bridge deck propped up on sticks ...
... with work in pogress to rebuild the abutments.

Let's hope they are using very thick sticks?

One-Sided Co-oeration
Hitherto there has been competition (of a sort) in Leicestershire between Stagecoach and Arriva on the road to Nuneaton and then on the Coventry.

Arriva ran a 158 ...
and Stagecoach ran a 48L (don't ask) ...
... which used to be a 48 (don't ask again).
But now, they have gone all chummy ...
... and even chummy on fares - VERY unusual!
The cuttings above are from the Leicester Mercury which seems to be very pro-bus at the momen. But then pro-bus things are happening in Leicester.

Stagecoach is already showing a joint timetable ...
It is a mystery as to why the Arruva 158 is not shown as connecting with the appropriate Stagecoach 148 at Nuneation.
But the oddest thing of all is the 15 minute layover at Nuneaton on all journeys. Surely this is not at all conducive to through travel on a 15 minute frequency joint service?

Superbly, Stagecoach have a joint map, at least as far as Nuneaton.
Note that there is a minor route variation at Nuneaton on Sundays.

And from Arriva.
No joint timetable and no map.

What a surprise - NOT!

The Leicester Buses web site obediently links to both operators, so you get 148 plus 158 from Stagecoach and 158 alone from Arriva.

Hey ho! Another good argument for a proper set of data for Leicester Buses!

 Next Notts and Derby blog : Monday 22nd May 


  1. Railway modellers should start a forum for the joint buying of their purchases such as 'I wish to buy a snowplough, who would like the second one for £35'. No attempts at making a profit from the second person, just a 50/50 split. I am sure it could be done.

  2. WMPTE's route 20 from Nuneaton to Coventry, now run by electric double-deckers, may well provide better connections at Nuneaton for travellers from Hinckley and beyond.

  3. I suppose two ploughs makes sense if you're aiming for realism, as these days there aren't many turntables to get them facing the other way

  4. Andrew Kleissner21 May 2023 at 15:14

    These videos:,vid:dKRWNplv-20 and suggest that snowploughs are used top-and-tail. Logical as, if a snowdrift caves in behind a plough train, they can still back out.

  5. There has never been a lot of cross Nuneaton traffic, I have done it on the Stagecoach run previously and on each occasion was the only person doing so. Apart from some local Nuneaton traffic (Bedworth to Hinckley for instance or the estates between) there is no reason to do it as there are fast express coaches from Coventry to Leicester (hourly) via Hinckley (2-hrly to centre & hourly to edge of town). The more pertinent question is why Stagecoach persist in running through with this limited demand (& that they broke it during & for some time after COVID - source of the 48L number) rather than keeping it seperate. The 48 route number is of course in the Warwickshire series of route numbers whilst the 158 number is from the historic Leicester country series as 1xx (I think dating back to Midland Red days).

  6. Hochgurgl won't translate as it's a placename. It's 2150m up at the head of the Otztal valley in the Tirol and hence snow there is not uncommon.It doesn't have a bus service but does have a cable car to nearby Obergurgl which has a very good one.

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