Impeccable Peckham Rye Rises (1)

Were you to approach Peckham Rye station from the obvious town centre entrance you would be in Rye Lane. It’s a dump! fbb has never been there and, on the evidence above, never will. 

Peckham was the fictitious home of Derek and Rodney Totter and Uncle Albert (previously Grandfather) and their dodgy business carried out from their flat in Nelson Mandela House tower block.
Peckham Rye railway station was opened, in 1865. With the arrival of the railway and the introduction of horse-drawn trams about ten years later, Peckham became accessible to artisans and clerical staff working in the city and the docks. Housing for this socio-economic group filled almost all the remaining fields except the Rye. In 1868 the vestry of Camberwell St Giles bought the Rye to keep it as common land. Responding to concerns about the dangerous overcrowding of the common on holidays the vestry bought the adjacent Homestall Farm (the last farm in the area) in 1894 and opened this as Peckham Rye Park.
Peckham Rye Park is somewhat to the south of the station where the railway lines run East West …

… and the shopping street, Rye Lane, runs North South. However you look at it, the station entrance on Rye Lane is not inviting.

There is a sign on the wall …

… but the entrance looks like it is just a shopping arcade.

Because that’s what it is.

To work out why the entrance to this important station is such a disappointment we need to go back in time.
The station opened in 1865 and is shared by two lines and a whole gaggle of rail routes.

We can see this track plan in reality c/o Google Earth, Here is the junction area to the west …

… with the station area on the far right.

To the east we can observe the flyover …

… and the station building now far left. You can just make out the line on brick arches  flying over the line on steel girder bridges.

The station was built between the two routes both of which were on viaducts at this point …

… and it was a most splendid edifice.

This somewhat fuzzy picture shows the station platforms and shelters atop of metal framework abutting the brick arches on the viaduct. The fence in the foreground delineates a pleasant square where, no doubt, passengers could alight from their horse-drawn carriages to continue their journey on the new cross country lines to London. A slightly later photo maintains that layout.

Later the station lost its canopy over the entrance and gained a bookstall. It also appears to have grown an external staircase.

This staircase originally led to the station’s billiard rooms.

Note that the pleasant open area has now gained shops on Rye Lane; the entrance is now very much “round the back”.

So, in the minds of many, it made sense to fill the old forecourt in with more “retail premises” and obliterate the splendid station building from public gaze.

But what is happening to the station as we see it wrapped in a large plastic bag.

To be continued.

Ferroequinological Frustration!

One of the most useful bits introduced aeons ago by Peco (factory and shop at Beer just along the road from fbb mansions) was a pack of insulating rail joiners. To join rails together on the real railway, you use fishplates …

… but for small model railways they are much simpler.

They are usually called rail joiners because they join rails. Clever eh?

But with two rail track, you can create a problem. You must never feed power into the heel end of your points. The heel is where the rails split into two tracks, where they become one is the toe. Clever eh?

So your plus electricity is coming down the left hand rails at the heel and your minus is coming down the right hand rails. So when your minus comes in along the right hand rail, you can see it joins at the “V” of the pont (the frog) with plus coming in on the left of the other route. POOF! Short circuit.

So you use insulating rail joiners to stop oncoming electric from going POOF! The point blades send the correct stuff up the rails fed from the toe.
Insulating rail joiners are made of clear plastic with the little blip in the middle to keep the rails apart.

Clever eh?

But the insulating rail joiners are quite flexible and recent production has been neater (GOOD) but even more wobbly (BAD).
Now it is a golden rule of railway modelling that if you locate a point in a tunnel it will always be the first to go wrong.
So fbb began, proudly, to reassemble the scenery atop the tunnel at Peterville.

In order to mitigate this possible point failure crisis fbb had joined several lengths of track together so it could be removed as a “unit” if it were ever necessary.

Having got the plank that forms to tunnel top in place, and having placed the scenery modules thereupon, your frustrated modeller looked along the tunnel and saw, to his horror that the joined track (joins reinforced by plastic tabs glued firmly to the sleepers) had come undone.

And the join that had failed was the one with the flexible insulating rail joiners!

Try joining everything back together with a wobbly left hand and ARMD problems with the eyesight!

But eventually it was all back together. 
And trains kept failing on the point! They were fine before the completely unconnected joint failure but now they weren’t.
NOT clever, eh?
So it all has to be dismantled again, checked and remantled. And visitors are due later TODAY who will expect trains to run beautifully.

Leicester Nostalgia

Remember when Midland Red produced their easily recognisable red timetable books?

And Leicester Corporation Transport printed a smaller but equally useful timetable book?

Both operators were publishing them in the 1930s; Midland Red …

… and the Corporation.

So when will be see a Leicester Buses timetable as part of the chummy “cooperation” that now exists on bus stops, with the route map and with more on-road cooperation?

fbb will compile one for you, Leicester partners, for  a modest fee!

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 14th May 
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