Thursday 21 December 2023

Yoohoo! Are You "U" Or Non "U"?

 U nconscious
 U pdate

Whilst OBB (Austrian State Railways) are positioning themselves as Konig of the cross-border sleeper service, it is worth remembering that there are several internal sleeping car trains in France, for example. Unravelling exactly what they are is beyond fbb's pay grade at CHRISTmas approached at high speed.

But here is a list.

Note, however, that the list does not give days of operation and some services are seasonal (e.g Winter Ski or Simmer Beach Roasting!) The list is from "Man at seat 61" who knows (and blogs) everything to do with European rail travel - so is probably far more reliable than S N C F web sites.

Paris-Toulon-St Raphael-Cannes-Antibes-Nice

Paris-Toulouse-Latour de Carol with connection to Barcelona




Paris-Aurillac relaunched December 2023

Paris-Perpignan-Narbonne-Cerbère (daily in summer, Fri & Sun in winter, with connection to Barcelona)

Paris-Biarritz-Hendaye (for San Sebastian) only runs in July & August.

In Paris, all Intercités de Nuit use the Gare d'Austerlitz.

fbb could not find a map of these current routes; but did come across a plan for explansion which shows a proposed network which may emerge by 2020. And that is only  a tad over 6 years away.
Of particular note are the services in YELLOW and GREEN (presumably holiday routes??) which do not serve Paris.

There is concern, however, expressed at the cost of providing stock for these trains which only run once a day at best. TGVs can squeeze in three single trips in some cases. France is, of course, BIG! Travel is currently in refurbished Corail stock offering six berth couchettes, four berth couchettes and recliner seats.

So a chocolate peanut to OBB for spending loadsa money on new trains with, apparently, better accommodation.

 U  Know
 U no
 U pdate

fbb has reported that Uno (Universitybus owned by Hertford University) is withdrawing from Northampton from 24th March. What has not yet leaked out to the Northampton bus watchers mafia is where they jumped or were pushed.

But we do know who will be fulfilling the University's requirements after Uno waves a tearful farewell.

Guess who?

University of Northampton confirmed its partnership with the company will end in March — but the services are set to continue after being taken over by the town’s main bus company Stagecoach under a new deal.
Up to 48 jobs at Uno are likely to be impacted by the move, although the Hertfordshire-based company did not respond when asked if its staff will be made redundant. Stagecoach says it has a number of vacancies and would welcome applications from Uno drivers via its website 
UoN bosses revealed the decision has been made to meet the “changing public transport landscape and a growing desire to better integrate transport services at the University of Northampton with the local town and beyond. By becoming part of the local bus network, the University of Northampton will be in a position to offer its staff, students and wider community improved links with Northampton and its neighbouring towns".

The bonus will be that "clients" of the Uni will be able to access all Stagecoach ticket options which will be available for the company's entire network. BONUS!
“All students located at Scholars Green Halls of Residence will continue to receive subsidised travel to and from the University Campus.”
Mark Whitelocks, Managing Director, Stagecoach Midlands said “We are delighted to be extending our network to include these additional services. We already welcome many University of Northampton students and staff on board and we’re proud to now be serving the very heart of the University.”

Stagecoach have said that they will continue to run services between Halls and Campus; that is route 19/19A.
Currently this is in "vacation" mode and running a combined every 20 minutes.
Route 17 has no real use for the Uni; it was Uno's first attempt at simple competition for Northampton town services.
Stagecoach 7 to Moulton Park serves Broadmead Avenue and there are multiple routes to Rectory Farm. You can't help thinking that some rationalisation will manifest itself here.

The weakest Uni route is the 18 running as a Park and Ride from Sixfields to the west of the town.
It doesn't really serve the town centre's main stops ...
... and must be the weakest of the Uno services. This is confirmed by Alan who observes very few passengers. 

Certainly there won't be many at this time of year when the Uni is almosr closed. In any case a real Park and Ride needs to be at least every 10 minutes to encourage folk to park then ride, You would't want to miss one today and have to wait an hour for the next!

Of course we do not know the financial arrangements between the Uni and Stagecoach but fbb is absolutely certain that the 18 will be "revised" even if it is not withdrawn completely.

We have only to wait until sometime in the new year when registrations are published!
 U tterly
 U gly and
 U nhelpfully
 U nclear

And that is literally unclear!

It is fair to say that fbb has never been a great participant in the more brutal of "contact sports" although he was forced to stand on the pitch and try to avoid playing Rugby - usually very successfully.
So this year's World Cup passed he chubby by. But this news item made him sit up, albeit retrospectively.
The two photos are horrific.
The top picture appears to show Contravision - spots before the eyes. Yuk and double yuk.

But the bottom picture appears t show opaque panels tied on to the side of the tram, rendering an outside view impossible.

The trams normally look like this ...
... and you can see the view though the "windows" - such a good and useful invention. They are made of "glass", a material specially chosen to allow passengers to enjoy the view.

Seems quire a good idea?


 U ltimate
 U nderstanding

So, until the Gospel writers had done their stuff, it was up to writers like Paul to help people understand the application of a faith in God based on a sacrificial death on the cross and a miraculous resurrection. 

It took a bit of getting used to.
Nobody doubted what had happened, but the implications were not always clear. Did you, for example carry on with all the Jewish practices (sacrifices etc) in your new "Christ-ian" relationship. Do you abandon all the teaching of the old testament including the Ten Commandments.

Some bits of Paul's letter to the Romans can be a bit of a struggle for modern readers because of the background; but generally this is very much The Gospel according to Paul.

Remember, Paul was a tough oersecutor of Christians until he received his "conversion" on the toad to Damascus.
Because of that dramatic change, it took some time for Christians to realise he was genuine!

But some of the stuff he wrote is really powerful and very helpful - some snippets are given below.

We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose.

Even some Christians miss out the last clause. Things will work together for good IF (and only if) we are doing life in God's way.  

How could Paul write this from, say a prison cell or after a violent beating for his faith.
Well, he tells the Romans and us!

No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am certain that nothing can separate us from God's love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below - there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Good deal, eh?

Even for non-believers, Romans is worth a read and you can always come back to the tricky bits later.

 Next V ABC blog : Friday 22nd December 

1 comment:

  1. UNO Buses Northampton is a separate operation from the main UNO company. The former is 50% owned by……the University of Northampton! So clearly they weren’t ‘pushed’. It was simply a pragmatic business decision.