Wednesday 17 May 2023

Triple Tunnel Troubles (Tunnel 1)

Tesco Tunnel : Truth Told - Part One

Gerrards Cross station is at the foot of a cutting with a sloping access called, imaginatively, Station Approach.
Frankly, the station hasn't changed much since the picture below was taken in 1906.
It is much the same back in the days of sombre and boring all-over blue diesel unts
There is quite a bit more building scattered around! And there are now only two tracks not four!

But hold on, observant reader; where did that tunnel come from?
And there it is again, this time at an angle viewed from above Station Approach.
If we go to the top of the tunnel where once we would have been standing on an arched road bridge ...
... we can gaze down upon trains, platforms and footbridge. But if we turn through 180 degrees we find a Tesco store ...
... where once was a cutting. And here it is from the air.
And a similar elevated vista showing the tunnel mouth (bottom) at the end of the station platforms and the exit from said tunnel (top)..
Now, it is not unknown for a tunnel to be opened up and replaced with a cutting. fbb remembers Broomhouse Tunnel just north of Chesterfield on the line to Sheffield.
It was quite short (92 yards) and in need of repair.  See its smallness on an old map; it lies just beneath the "B" of "The Brushes".
Rather than repair, it was removed completely!

The modern map shows the cutting after opening up.
On electrified lies it is easy to build property over the tracks, even over station sites and in short-of-land urban areas this is often economically viable. And there are no nasty diesel fumes to contend with. 

For example, the process at Wembley Central began in the 1930s with a much wider over bridge to carry shops ...
... but now much of the station is covered with development.
The station is almost completely "underground" ...
... with platforms on the West Coast main line tracks (numbered 3 and 4) hardly ever used.
But Gerrards Cross?

It was Tesco what done it!

In the late 1990s, Tesco was in a burst of expansion and desperate for a good site in Gerrards Cross. There wasn't one.

So Tesco (with the help of a few lads) created their own site ...
But what happened next caused a few red races.


The Puzzle Picture
fbb should, perhaps, have revealed that it had no direct connection with any pubic transport topic!
It does have a very tenuous link to railway modelling!

But here is a clue.
The flush was operated by a simple siphon whereby a plug of water was lifted through a "U" shaped pipe to set the siphon going; the water then flowed until the tank was empty. The refill was controlled by a floating ball valve which sank to the bottom of the tank and then opened the inwards flow of filling water.


Modern "faculties" are much more complex but still operate on the same principle. The puzzle picture is the thingey you press in the top of the cistern.
This bit of plastic had broken. Upon investigation, your wise and wonderful author thought the plastic was polystyrene and thus stickable with modeller's polystyrene cement.
The cement is more of a weld so should be strong enough to make a viable repair.

So the shiny bit screws into a white plastic bit that looks like an upside down uncovered lampshade, then clips into a white box out of which passes a yellow tube.
Apologies for the technical vocabulary!

It was mended on Monday afternoon and was still working yesterday evening at bed time.

Thus fbb saved the price of ...

A new push thingey OR

A new under the lid unit OR

A complete new flush and valve system OR

A brand new ceramic cistern & works.

... for about 3p worth of model railway cement!

Roger French Riding Forth At Firth Of Forth
For fbb, there were ny real surprises in Roger's blog of yesterday. He was riding the Stagecoach autonomous bus from nowhere much (Ferrytoll Park and Ride) to nowhere very useful (Edinburgh Park) via the bus only original Forth bridge.

The leaflet was enthusiastic (it could be nothing else) but somewhat misleading!
That's £6.1 million of my money and yours being wasted - yet have they seen the price of lamb chops?

Ruger was uneasy about the technology ...
... explaining why seatbelts are compulsory!

On his ride, Roger noted numerous occasions where autonomous mode had to be switched off because, apparently, the technology could not cope! These places were at all the tricky bits, i.e. the two termini.
Roger's conclusion was politely inconclusive,
"Then what" indeed.

Lets hope Stagecoach are getting well paid for this very expensive experiment!
You will find the whole blog by searching for "Bus and Train User". Enjoy!

 Next Tunnel blog : Thursday 18th May 

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