Saturday 14 October 2023

Saturday Variety

Everything Is Made In China

Remember Binns Road Liverpoo. Here was the HQ and factory where Meccano, Hornby O gauge and Hornby Dublo were all designed and built. Hornby went bust and the name was absorbed by Triang. Their factory and HQ ...
... at Westwood, Margate is still there. It was vacated by Hornby and more recently re-occupied. But nothing is made there any more.
Most model railway stuff in the UK is made in China.

So, what do our readers make of this?
What might the company sell that includes this heart-warming philosophy in its advertising blurb?

Yep; it is a Chinese company selling buses world-wide.
The company has just launched, via its UK Agents Pelican, its new double deck battery electric bus. 
It is not Yutong's first double deck; that prize goes to the City Master introduced in 2010. It has the look of if a slightly mis-shaped Routemaster!
But it never made it to the UK.  You could have an open-top version if you went to Guangzhou (China).
But the new beastie is up and running in Sheffield.
It does look rather swish outside and in.
It carries the manufacturer's logo ...
... and the name of the agents selling it in the UK.
A temporary charging station has been set up at the Olive Grove depot in Sheffield. The bus is currently being trialled in route 51, which many will remember has been used for bus comparison work in the past. fbb is not sure how you can really compare a battery electric bus with a whole variety of diesel bus statistics.
Al least they can check if it can go up the hills without draining the battery!

Oh well ... there will be even more dead batteries to clog up the environment!

But it does look smart, not like some modern buses fbb could mention but won't.

More Mew Buses For More
More Bus, Wilts and Dorset as was, had waved a sad goodbye to Yellow Buses and is now upgrading the frequent Poole to Bournemouth corridor, home of routes M1 and M2.
It used to be the home of quite posh single decks.
In National Bus days the routes were also frequent, but some of the rolling stock was somewhat spartan!
But Roger French has just twittered some pictures of smart double decks launched for the M1 and M2 ...
... nicely branded front, side and back!
fbb must be honest. He thinks the red and blue don't really "go" together. It could be that your aged author taught for four years at a Prep School with the same colours. One young chappie brought a cake in for his birthday. It had bright blue and bright red sponge layers all glued together with bright blue and bright red butter icing. It tasted delicious but looked awful - fbb gobbled happily with his eyes closed!

But blue and red?

Stagecoach Sheffield
The livery is wreak and its design is equally weak. New buses have just arrived.

Building Buildings Better
When fbb was just a teenager, he built a passable but simple model railway. The most basic model kits were branded Bilteezi and were printed flat on thin card.
They were coloured and did not look too bad from a distance. Much better were SuperQuick card models.
The teenager's railway model was part of his low relief background behind the station. 

These card kits are still in production.

But the answer to a maiden's prayer was the Airfix Kit (now retailed by Dapol). The first one fbb bought was the Church, based on one at St Lawrence, Isle of Wight.
The Seaton model railway, for nearly ten years sitting outside, needed plastic! 

But might fbb move over to card models. The leading brand today is from Metcalfe who have just introduced a new "industrial" range. This montage shows several of the kits in the range assembled into a significant industrial combo.
Maybe an idea for future development at Peterville. It does not rain inside the second floor of fbb mansion.

But fbb's aim, as always, will be to adjust and modify bought-in models so they look at least slightly different that when he box was opened.

The Puzzle Picture
The shelter was on the road between Balvicar and Ellenabeich ...
The dribble of sea water that separates mainland Scotland from the Island of Seil has no name; and is simply a small arm of the Atlantic Ocean. So you have to use a bridge across the Atlantic at Clachan Seil.
The route map for Oban shows the 418 in a diagrammatic form ...
The bus shelter has just five journeys a day, two of which run to North Cuan to connect with the ferry to the Isle of Luing.
Here is the outbound timetable, displayed at all stops ...
Remove he school complications and you have five journeys, six days a week.
The fbbs were chauffeur driven!
And the views were delightful. 
If ever you find yourself in Oban with half a day to spare, this is a very good ride and strongly recommended.

West Coast Motors a k a Oban and District will give you a good ride ...
... but it will now be on something more modern than the above!

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 15th October 


  1. Oban and District disappeared many years ago. It is all West Coast now. The Y type has also long gone.

  2. Years back Sheffield trialled a gas powered bus, once again on route 51, chosen because of its hilly nature. While the rest of us were labouring up East Bank Road in our conventional diesel buses at 15-20 mph, the gas bus would rocket past us at 30!

  3. The point of the trials on the 51 is to compare different electric vehicles, not electric v diesel. A single-deck Volvo was running on it a fortnight ago and other/s are on the way.

  4. No chocolate peanut for me? I posted the bus stop location the other day.

    Effectively all journeys serve North Cuan / Cuan Ferry - some on their way to Ellenabeich and some on their return.