Tuesday 21 May 2024

Weekend Variety Running Late (2)

Not Yet A Book Review

A recent ploppage through the letter box at fbb mansions is the latest from the prolific pen of Keith Shayshutt. Roger French beat fbb in the review race by publishing his as a "bonus" blog on Sunday last, 19th May.

Reading books is now more of a challenge for the old bloke due to his ARMD (simply referred to as "The Macular"!). Your aged blogger's vision has stabilised; but he does need a magnifier for reading small print and, in consequence, the process is much slower. You simply don't have enough hands!

So initially, fbb  took a quick butchers at bits that he could understand easily.

The cover features a 218 to Taunton trundling along Harbour Road Seaton, soon to pass the aforementioned fbb mansions before continuing to Axmouth and on to Taunton.

Using Streetview, fbb has recreated the location today.
The block of flats remains the same although currently it is being dramatically rebuilt and joined to mits neighbour. Trevett's garage (just visible behind the bus) has long since been a shop! although the original forecourt is incorporated into the present premises.

Of notable interest is Seaton depot ...
... recognisable today in the hands of local operator Axe Valley.
The whitewashed edifice on the right was the depot's admin building ...
... which included a small enquiry office. This building did not form part of Axe Valley's depot and was extended over the area where cars were parked (above) and became a retail unit.
It is now a hub for white-van-man deliveries of sime sort.

Seaton depot was closed by Western National under the MAP scheme which led to massive reorganisation and cutbacks of National Bus Company services and is the subject of Keith's book.
Interestingly almost everything on the pre-MAP map that Keith provides for fbb's territory is still served in 2024. The relatively minor exception is that no buses now run to Combpyne (west of Lyme Regis). This was the only station on the former branch line fom Axminster to Lyme and the bus, you would guess, was a rail replacement service which hung on until MAP!

Other pictures show little geographical change. Running eastbound we have Bridport ...
... and Dorchester which both look much the same but, obviously, with First Bus hanging on instead of Western National.
South of Bridport there is no longer any bus to Eype ...
Even in the years covered by Keith, a Saturday bus was all that was offered.
Of course, the main thrust of the book is the MAP (Market Analysis Project) and its consequences. fbb hopes to look more closely at this more detailed content in due course.

Meanwhile, here is Western National at Branscombe ...
... a route served unchanged by Axe Valley today.

In the absence of a full review, fbb needs to emphasise that this book is so so much better than the recent South Yorkshire picture book.
Keith's book is about the bus services and their economics where the nostalgic photographs support the text but do not dominate it. It is a book for any serious student of the bus business of the past and any serious bus enthusiast of the present.

As Roger French said in conclusion - BUY IT!

Slow, Slow, Not Quick, Slow!
Progress on the model rilway has been pathetic these last few months. There are several reasons for this both personal and technical but the wiring for the control panel is now complete and all is working ready for re-assenbly of the scenery. It has been a bit of a slog!

Because the control panel sits ON the layout baseboard rather than beside or below, fbb was minded to disguise it a bit. So he is working on an industrial warehouse converted into a retail business - provisionally named "Trendy Wendy's Bargain Emporium".

So what exactly is going in here?
To answer that question we need to go back about 65 years. When fbb was developing his model railway back at home you could buy cardboard model kits. Bilteeze's were very "flat"...
...with no raised detail. They still are! Superquick came along with more shape but still with no see-thru glazing.
The youthful fbb built the Cinema etc low relief set - a model which is still available today.

Then along came Airfix plastickits and card was abandoned!

When fbb's present layout was outside, plastic was the only suitable weatherproof material. But fbb has been considering experimenting with card. The obvious contender is Metcalfe Models, today's market leader.

A free kit distributed with Railway Modeller seemed worth a try.
Metcalfe kits consist of a thick card supporting structure onto which are glued printed and detailed sides.
Window glazing is supplied.

So fbb had a jackpot idea - always potentially dangerous! Could this kit be "bashed" to form a modern entrance and offices tor Wendy's emporium - a disguised control panel.
The walls have been raised slightly so the roof matches the top of the "warehouse" block. Yhe entry porch will fit nicely.
The joins will, hopefully be covered with the printed layers plus the assistance of a few rainwater downpipes!

The long side wall is next, then the roof. 

One side faces the rear wall of the railway room and is not viewable. The fourth wall is obscured by the Fat Controller standing at his panel chubbily controlling.

Given a bit more time and a bit more energy, progress will develop more quickly now the old man is fired up with enthusiasm for this project.

Better order some windows for side 2!

Puzzle Picture
Answer : Outside Stratford (London) station. Is it the only station where all FIVE groups of services converge? That needs some thought!

Next we have a problem with an unusually described bridge.

 Next tram blog : Wednesday 22nd May 

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