Sunday 19 November 2023

Sunday Variety

Hopping In UK And USA

Leicester's Hop Grows
The FREE city centre circular service, which started back in April goes from strength to strength with a record ridership in September of 1600 passengers in one day. The on-line graph only runs to the end of September, so expect more broken records as Christmas approaches.
You would make that a success for public transport! Well done whoever is paying the bills!

Milwaukee L Joins Milwaukee M

fbb's ignorance of US geography is pathetic! But there it is "up a bit" from Chicago and on the shores of Lake Michigan. The "up a bit" equates to 93 miles.

The Hop service runs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The system’s 2.1-mile  original “M” route connects the Milwaukee Intermodal Station and Downtown to the Lower East Side and Historic Third Ward neighborhoods. In October, 2023, a 0.4-mile Lakefront, or “L” route, to the still under-construction high-rise development The Couture, began limited Sunday service, and will offer daily service beginning in early 2024. The system is owned by the city and operated by Transdev.

Like Leicester, the two routes have a simple fare structure ...

... and, again like Leicester, there is a clear on-line route map.
Only it isn't clear because of that central "Click in" box which simply wouldn't go away. Fortunately you can download the map without the intrusion!
fbb needs to know more, of course, but that will have to to wait a while. More later in the week.

Oh, yes! Did fbb forget to say that Milwaukee's Hop is a brand new tram service!

But there is more to this story than just a free tram route or two.
And ... wait for it ...
... you could win a T Shirt!

Autonomous? Monotonous? Not For Us?
The latest arrival is Aurrigo, an internationally known company (?) but with a UK base in Coventry.

Their first "autonomous" vehicle is a four seater pod ...
... followed by something a little bigger.
Ten seats should cope with the crowds! The company obviously has confidence in its product with this telling panel on the leaflet displayed at the stops.
Plenty of caveats!
Off peak only (?? Monday to Friday ??)
16 day trial
but watch out for "site activity" whatever that might be.

And whatever you do ...


That might make it difficult to have a ride.

The highway authority is a but cagey as well.
Northampton Alan had a go (?) but was less than excited and, of course, he driverless bus always has a driver!
This ugly beast runs as a "Shuttle" between the station and the Central shopping area according to a difficult to read map.
It has just three stops.

As they said of the horseless carriage, "It'll never catch on!"

It is running in Central Milton Keynes.
Councillor Jennifer Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet member for Climate Action and Sustainability, said: “Once again, Milton Keynes is at the forefront of a new, sustainable technology trial. We’ve proven again and again that the city is a brilliant destination for technology leaders to develop their plans into real world solutions. This important research into self-driving vehicles on public roads is creating a template for cities around the world to follow. We’ll work alongside University College London to ensure everyone benefits from the data they gather.”

As the chief officer of Milwaukee Council said on hearing the name Milton Keynes, "Where?"

One other snag with this experiment. You can't just turn up and "have a go". That would be just silly. You have to register using the QR code on the bus stop notices. fbb cannot see 76 year old retired herring gutter Nettie Haddock of Stacey Bushes ...
... being terribly keen on QR codes. She can barely cope with "the metrification".

What Will U Spend For A U1?

For the "basic" model ...
... and for the special livery version ...
Thus it happens that with electronic control (DCC) and a sound ship we hit the heights of the five hundred quid loco PLUS!

The loco wore the special livery of grey and black for its appearance in a 1925 cavalcade celebrating to centenary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

The Toothbrush Was Cheap ...
... the cheapest from Tesco!
Notice that fbb had "prepared one earlier" by snipping off the handle and mashing the bristles.


It was Mrs fbb that complained that her diligent railway modelling husband (bodging par excellence) had created "nice" flowers but not on stalks. The old man had to respond to this thinly veiled criticism.

So fbb experimented.

Paint the bristles green; glue some red "poppies" on the top and plonk in a milk bottle cap flower bed with some ground hugging pink "things"; hmm, possibly dianthus a k a "pinks"?
And so the old man has a first attempt at flowers with stalks.
Attempt two will involve thinning out the stalks and adding leaves.

More toothbrushes will definitely be required.

Maybe the layout should be set in winter with empty flower beds! But, as they say, from a normal viewing distance ...!

 Next Milwaukee blog : Monday 20th November 


  1. That autonomous Auto-Shuttle looks like it's already had a serious disagreement with an h.g.v.

  2. That Shuttle for Milton Keynes is truly pug ugly. Why would anyone want to be associated with it? It is the polar opposite to 'Creating Desire' to travel on the thing.

  3. Is the nozzle like thing on the front of the Shuttle for hoovering up stray pedestrians?