A Special Day?

U N O Change? : New? No Change

UNO is leaving Northampton; we don’t know whether the operator jumped or was pushed but Stagecoach is about to take over.
As confidently predicted by fbb, but helped by early Stagecoach press releases, the main University of Northampton route 19/19A from the new (ish) southern campus north to the Halls of Residence is simply merged with the existing Stagecoach 4 which runs to Sunnyside. (It used to be called Obelisk Rise after a local, erm, obelisk!)

The 19, straight up Kingsthorpe Road, Eastern Avenue and then right onto Boughton Green Road becomes the 4A, whilst journeys via Kingsley become 4B.


The current 4 timetable is every 15 minutes, BUT …

… The new 4 is reduced to every 20. Somewhere at thr back of fbb’s mind is that the original Stagecoach service to Obelisk Rise ran every 10 minutes!

The new 4A/4B with a combined 20 minute headway …

… means that there is a bus every 10 minutes serving the Waterside Campus.

The U N O non unversity competitive service 21 to Blackthorn …

… is replaced by extending the Stagecoach Kings Heath route 8 cross-town on a similar 20 minute frequency.

There are now three Stagecoach routes serving Rectory Farm on the east of the town and close to fbb’s Little Billing childhood home.

They use different roads to exit the “traditional” areas of the town, two (1 and 8) providing a good service to the mega Tesco at Weston Favell.

Which leaves the Sixfields Park and Ride, route 18.

Under  U N O “ownership” it was probably the worst park and tide service in the western arm of our spiralling galaxy. The buses were often observed by Northampton Alan whizzing past the railway station bereft of passengers; 

Doubtless that astounding success will remain when Stagecoach takes over with its service 18 …

… which runs every 50 minutes. Please Stagecoach, make it every hour then at least the handful of daily “commuters” to the Uni campus (it doesn’t even serve the town centre) might remember what time the buses run. But if you just miss one it really is quicker to walk!

Hopefully the university is paying?

We are left with the 59 and 60. These rural “oddments” have been tendered to a whole host of operators over the years. Now Stagecoach have the dubious pleasure of winning the tender.

Bad luck folks?
Stagecoach tells us that the times will not change but doesn’t tell us what those imes are. U N O offers a PDF of a couple of service 59 journeys …

… but not the whole timetable

So, best of luck if you were hoping to travel soon.

Needless to day, a full timetable can be found carefully hidden in the dark depths of the ‘on-line” world, but dated 2020.

Oooh, look! The two journeys between Welford and Market Harborough (Tuesdays and Fridays only, see above) are still the same – UNO has lost the rest!
Top Light : Looks Right : Price Fright!
Some time back, fbb was musing on some new OO coaches to be produced by Dapol.  They were to be GWR Toplight passenger carriages and the models have now appeared fir real.
Here is a fairy bog-standard GWR coach.

Note that it is for suburban use rather than express city to city work. Just observe the tops of the doors and the windows. 

Now look at this one.

It has diddy extra windows above the windows, but not above the doors. Here we can see them inside – First Class …

… and Third Class.

fbb guesses that they were intended to provide extra daylight in the compartment. Oddly, and for no reason that fbb can think of, they were fitted with frosted glass.

But these coaches have become known as “Top Lights”.
Dapol’s models are exquisite in detail inside and out …

… AND the toplights have frosted “glass”!! 

As is usual for today’s models, they will be available in many many different versions.

The specification is spectacular in the extreme.

And there’s more!

Of course, this comes at a price. RRP from Dapol is a tad under £65 per coach. One might utter the usual OUCH but …

If you remove the magnetic roof and look inside, you can see why the price is high. In fact, by today’s standards it is not at all high.
But just look inside.

fbb doesn’t think the green first class armrests lift up to slot in their slots! Disgraceful. 

The sad fact is that most of this detail cannot be seen as the carriages trundle past – but wealthy model buyers are thrilled to know it is there!
Underframe detail is exquisite as well …

… and you can’t really see it either!

Some retailers are discounting the price by up to £14 and fbb may well …
… use some of his Birthday spending money – if only anyone had given him any!
Helping Hand For Hornby?
Remember Mike Ashley? He was/is the often controversial owner of Sports Direct, now part of the Fraser’s store group.

He specialises in investing in companies that he thinks are undervalued on the stock market and which he is convinced have huge potential for growth. His business style is ruthless but usually successful.

He now owns 9% of Hornby, making him the largest single investor in the company. In practical terms he probably only needs about 25% to take control.

Will this be good news for Hornby – yes! Will it be good news for railway modelling – pass!

There has been much in the serious press recently predicting the end of railway modelling as a hobby; but Mr Ashley’s cash would seem to suggest thigs may be looking up!

While there are old men (with more money than sense?? fbb is, obviously, an old man but his financial resources are not vast) prepared to pay for expensive models like the Toplight coaches, at least parts of the industry will thrive. 

But many feel that Hornby is trying to be too many things in too many markets and some manufacturers need to relearn the trade in much lower priced items of reasonable quality to welcome in today’s younger generation.
This video may not be the commercial future of model railways but it sure looks like fun!

And there’s more!

Give that wee lassie a whole box of chocolate peanuts!

Puzzle Picture
It’s BRIGHTON STATION, probably sometime in the 1960s.
Today, there is no room for cars under the porte cochere – it’s all about catering!
The entrance to the Toy Museum is under that bridge.
 Next ABC North of Doncaster blog : Mon 26th Feb 
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