Sunday 31 March 2024

Sunday Variety

March Meteorological Memories

Seaton is well known for its serried ranks of beach huts, a delightful facility for the resident and summer visitor alike. The fbbs really have no need of a beach hut as fbb mansions is just 200 metres from the beach (as the fly crows) and the internal appurtenances at home are vastly superior to any beach hut! 

But Seaton's beach huts made the national news for all the wrong (and expensive!) reasons.
Extremes of weather are rare at Sunny Seaton but the high wind and waves were fairly horrific and "got" the beach huts! 

This reminds fbb of March 2018 when a dusting of snow fell, notably on fbb's outdoor model railway layout.
Aaah, sweet! Them a bit more snow fell ...
... and then a lot! Most of the rolling stock had been packed away for the winter, but a few bits were left out and ...
... everything survived and is now in use indoors on the fbb top floor. This is a credit to the indestructibility of plastic kits and rolling stock. All the track has been reused inside as well.

fbb suspects that much of Seaton's beach huttage will not survive without replacement.

Metrolne Motivated in Manchester
On 1 April 1989, London Buses was divided into 11 separate business units, one of which was Metroline. As part of the privatisation of London bus services, Metroline was sold in October 1994 to a management buyout worth £20 million.In July 1998, it purchased MTL London ...

... and in March 2000 was sold to ComfortDelGro. In August 2004 ComfortDelGro purchased Thorpes ... 
... and in November 2004 Armchair Passenger Transport. 
On 22 June 2013, Metroline purchased First London's Alperton, Greenford, Hayes, Uxbridge and Willesden Junction depots with 494 buses.
Apart from the usual fandango of winning and losing London Buses contracts, the operations of Metroline in the Capital have since been fairly stable.

But travel way, way north on the M1 and M6 and you come to Manchester. Here Andy Burnham and his political pals are slowly taking control of all buses and trams, and in a few years, all local trams in Manchester.
Initially, the launch of the first two batches has been about reoganising the deck chairs on the Titanic with existing Manchester companies winning, losing or holding their bits of operation.

But the third "tranche" has just been announced.

Andy Burnham has opened the gold envelope ...
... and the winner is ...
This has come as a bit of a surprise to bus watchers "oop noorth" and a grumbling rumble of dissatisfaction from the existing operators.
The big loser would appear to be Stagecoach with a drastically reduced presence in what was the huge Greater Manchester South on privatisation, an operation which was all bought by Stagecoach.

It will be interesting to see how well this mega change will happen (or maybe won't happen). The signs overall in the city are, frankly, not good.

Depressing Model Railways
Only depressing because some of the layouts in the Model Railway press are so good, they make fbb cry with frustration. The Modellers are so skilful!

A few photographs from British Railway Modellimg magazine being "studied" by fbb on his new tablet with a view to transferring all his magazine subscriptions to "digital". BRM is free on-line c/o Seaton Library.

It's the eyes, you know!
The above could almost be real! In fact it is an OO gauge layout based on a fictional Scottish branch line. There are a few clues to its model status in this shot.
It is nearly impossible to model water to look like water, but the  creator of the above has really done well. One big clue on this layout is the background hillsides.
Thy are obviously flat!

But the quality of the modelling puts fbb's bodge efforts in the category that they so richy deserve. Tries hard but could do better!

And A Sheffield Correction
Sometimes you are so busy looking at the detail that you fail to see the obvious. fbb os often like that. Remember that he wrote that the new route for the Sheffield Connect SC1 was the same as the old, with just an additional wiggle by the City Hall.
But what fbb's oft-addled brain failed to register was a much bigger change in the very centre of the city.

Instead of going up Norfolk Street via the Crucible ...
... which is very much city centre back alley land ...
... the revised route is, sensibly, via the High Street ...
... where the delights of retail activity are much more obvious and accessible.
It will also make the bright green nuses more visible to the public and may, just may, persuade some to remain loyal to what remains of a once vibrant city centre.

But I Only Want One!
There is a growing, frustrating and worrying trend in railwsy modelling retail. If you want a particular wagon for your layout, the new-entry manufacturers will only sell you a pack of three.
fbb collects examples of every tank wagon type produced, but if he wants one for china clay he will have to buy three and have no use for the other two.

But it gets worse. Recently a different kind of tank wagon has byen advertised, a very nice detailed model ...
... but you have to buy FOUR! fbb would just LOVE to own one of each design but is not prepared to buy a full set!

But it may well get worse. This advert appeared recently on-line.
FIVE!! This is not a wagon that interests fbb - but, the key question is ...

... where will this compulsory bulk buy policy end?

And how many modellers just look at the price and give up.

Surely, manufacturers, you can sell us a singleton even if it is a bit more expensive pro rata than a "multipack"?
Saturday was NOT Easter Saturday
Very early on Sunday morning, just after sunrise and thus after the Sabbath had ended on Saturday at sunset, a few loyal women went to the tomb to offer the dead Jesus some respect. They went to perform the authorised burial rituals of applying spiced to the body.
It was the best they could do for their innocent teacher and leader who had been violently put to death. They were very ...
... and who wouldn't be. Jesus was very dead.

Their big worry was who would be around to remove the big rock that acted as a door to the tomb.
As the Bible says, "it was a very large stone".

But when they got there, the stone was rolled back and, more seriously, there was no body. And those guards had apparently run away.

What might make a group of trained military men run away from a dead body?

Impossible in human terms, certainly ... but a God ...

The clue (if you need it) is a lock of hair!

Yesterday was HOLY Saturday ; Easter Saturday comes at the end of Easter Week, i.e. 6th April in 2024.
 Next Small Station blog : Monday 1st April 

Saturday 30 March 2024

Saturday Variety

A Plethora Of Pee Esses

Lumo to Glasgow as well as an extra train from Kings Cross to Newcastle is included in the mix. Seen here being promoted by the delicate and slight figures of  Newcastle Thunder, the local Rugby League team.

East Yorkshire Printed Publicity
Above is a display from within the coffee shop at Scarborough station; East Yorkshire routes are available. Blog readers might like to send fbb any examples (with picture, please) of good timetable racks at railway stations.

City Clpper Resurrection
(A good day to look forward to a Resurrection!) Recently fbb mentioned a lack of maps and timetables for the substantially upgraded Sheffield Connect service - now two routes. The original ...
... has gained a small extra twiddle around Sheffield City Hall ...
... and now runs every 7/8 minutes. It is now labelled SC1. Like its predecessor, it cycles in an anti clockwise manner.
The new SC2 ...
... runs clockwise, although the lump via Moor Market (lower left) still circles on the sensible side of the road for access to the Moor shops. The frequency, however ...
... is a measly every 20 minutes. To attract passengers, routes like this need to be much more frequent. Many trips can be walked faster than waiting for the next bus!

The green livery (The Bearded Bus Beautifier from The Bush rides again?) seems strangely familiar.
Someone must have brought a job lot of bright green paint. "Hop" is the same colour in Leicester.

Starlight Express
What may be unclear to those of fbb's readers who are not enthusiasts for the world of Musical Theatre, is that the "participants" are playing the part of trains (realistic make-up?) and chuff at high speed arounf pseudo "tracks" which circle the auditorium as well as the stage. (as a real train would do - NOT).

The "trains" also leap over obstacles, a skill, were it available to Notwork Rail, would make engineering work so much easier!
The show is loud, fast and exciting. (fbb has never been - too expensive).

As part of the promo for the original production (approx 40 years ago) one theatre goer (now no longer with us) called Lilibet, went to see the show. She was presented with a toy train in "Starlight Express" livery by none other than the boss of Hornby at the time.
Apparently Lilibet and hubby Phil bought an oval of track and a controller and played with it for a while on the floor of their flat close to Victoria Station.
The staff had to take the toys away from the couple as Lilibet couldn't work the controller and Phil sent the loco round too fast and it came off at the corners and damaged the gold leaf on thr fixtures and fittings!

But look what Hornby have just announced to celebrate the revival ...

... of the show!
fbb can find no pictures or news reports of that original layout. But ...

... Hornby have revived a loco model like that presented to the bickering couple. It is a Battle of Britain class loco of the Southern Railway, later the Southern Region; and ...
... it looks absolutely awful. The great Oliver Bulleid, who designed the real life loco will be turning in his grave very rapidly indeed! Here is what it should look like.
HH Tours : HH Coaches
The company operates coach tours in a fearsome country north of Hadrian's Wall and uses images that frighten local inhabitants and visitors alike to promote its ethnic delights.
What is harder to discover is who, exactly, HH is! 
Hamish Hogganfield might be a possibility. But one of the company's latest contractors has let the Scottish ugly shaped animal out of the bag.
The coach company is named after the rarer hirtsuit variety as in the article below.
And it is not yet April 1st!


No legal case could be made against Jesus, but to protect his posterior, Pontius Pilate washed his hands of any legality  and, almost as an aside condemned him to a crucifixion.
After undue haste the body was taken to a tomb and sealed therein. Saturday was the Sabbath and no work, not even the respectful burial of a once-popular teacher, could be tackled. That would have to wait until Sunday morning.
They weren't really expecting any trouble on the Sabbath but Pilate desperately wanted to keep things quiet. His job as Governor depended on maintaining order - a challenge at the Passover when Jerusalem was backed solid with Temple tourists.

Termination is what was wanted and Termination it would be. Guards would be an insurance policy.

A meaningful display at Kilmington Baptist Church yesterday.
 Next Sunday Variety : 31st March