Breaking News

Bus watchers are in continuous amazement at the weird antics of First Bus. There was the surprise purchase of Ensign, reputedly to get its hands on the engineering business and extensive facilities at Ensign’s depot. The bus operation came as a bonus?
Meanwhile GoAhead buys Dartline and Stagecoach buys Pullhams! Why, we wonder when these big groups are tearing off great strips of their network because they are unprofitable? 
Who knows?
And we cannot forget First’s crackpot and ludicrously expensive use of AI, ,(Artificial Insanity) software to turn sensible timetables into utter nonsense!
Now comes the announcement that First has bought York Pullman “for an undisclosed sum”. 
Do remember that this was not the old, traditional York Pullman …

… which was sold to Hull City bus soon after privatisation and then sold on to Durham Travel Services and then, in year 2000, fizzled completely.

This is the new York Pullman which appeared in 2007. The company developed a variety of business projects, but mainly private hire and school contracts. Briefly there was an open top bus operating in York,

There were a few “proper” bus services, but these were soon dropped. But, as it the way with the bus business, tendered services came back again. Here are the current routes:-

!0 York to Skelton

This is, effectively, a York city local route. Was it not once operated by First York or its immediate predecessor? The route was certainly with Reliance a while ago.

Three more routes are operated from slightly further out from the city centre …

21 Colton to York
36 Sutton upon Derwent to York
37 Tadcaster to York (the back way)
Even if we add in the school contracts and some Summer Dalesbus and Moorsbus services …
… it is hard to see what’s in it for First Bus. Seems an odd way to extend a business when all over the country First is cutting back.
For the record, here is the full list …

Have fun with your bottom line, First!

Merseyside Leaflets

And you used to be able to get network maps as well.

There is no evidence that the current multicoloured maps, as here for Southport …

… are available in printed form; or are easily downloadable and printable.

Search for timetable leaflets and you will be heartily disappointed. But they are there – or something very similar is there.

If searching for a timetabl;e, they appear like this for route 411 ..

… and the route map looks like this.

Neither is easily downloadable.

But scroll down the the bottom of the timetable and you are invited to download a PDF.

But you don’t get just a timetable – you get the full leaflet. There is the “traditional” cover with very simplified straight line diagram …

… a page of guff …

… followed by the timetable (extract only shown).

The back page is a line of route map, packed with useful information and relevant detail.

The only thing missing is the location and names of every bus stop. But hey, you can’t have everything.

So a question that fbb cannot answer – are these available in printed form? There is no indication as to where such useful bits of paper might be er picked up, so fbb presumes not.

But this is potty.
Someone has had to create these PDFs, needing quite a splodge of skill. The cost of printing them is negligible – so why not print them?
Modeller’s Anguish

fbb wrote blog-wise that now he had added the canopy/verandah to his camping bus, there would be no need to model the lower deck interior as you couldn’t see it!

Jacke, wife of our senior IoW correspondent, was appalled. She is a dolls house enthusiast and it is all about accurate interiors 

… and captivating they be!

Jackie felt that the lower deck should be modelled even if glimpses were all that was available. After all, she thought, fbb would know it wasn’t there and be very dissatisfied. Her strictures were, perhaps, not too serious; but fbb accepted the challenge.

There is kitchen sink and calor gas hob over the rear wheel arches of the routemaster (use your imagination – fbb will try a bit harder) and, towards the front …

… a well-appointed dining area. fbb has repurposed some of the bbus seats to maintain the character of the holiday let.

Painting was a challenge, but it is not too bad considering the old man’s wobbly hand and ARMD, which seems to have stabilised a little.
Here is the result.

Note the London Transport Routemaster moquette on the seats. OK, not quite, but it is all rather tiny. fbb quite likes the fake wood table top! And generally it is smaller than a dolls’ house.

Can you see anything from outside?

Barely! fbb will have to add internal lighting.

But the overall impression is what fbb was looking for and, to repeat an oft uttered mantra, it is at the back of the layout and will look great from a normal viewing distance.
Look! Mire bus sat under the anuing! The porh door will noit remain grey – it was fbb’s forst idea – and a bad one! Ans ther are no doors from corridor (offside) into the bedrooms.
There’s no furniture in the bedriims – yer!
Puzzle Picture
What and where is this?

Answer tomorrow!

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 28th January 
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