A Treetise On Trees (?) Part 1

Joyce Kilmer was (a) a bloke, (b) an American, (c) a poet and (d) a bit of a one hit wonder! He is remembered for a poem about trees.

The sentiment is slushy, typically Victorian (penned in about 1900) and not very well thought of in serious poetry-loving circles.

But fbb agrees profoundly with the poet’s thought. Like most wild life, the intricacy and variety of something as mundane as a “tree” in mind blowing. As well as a complex structure, most trees are big …

… in the picture above, four times taller tan the train that passes them by. And those trees are not particularly big.

And what do railway modellers do for trees?
Very nominal and very unrealistic 

This is a beech tree …

… but with no scale. Here are two model beech trees …

… and they are expensive!

They are well over thee times taller than n OO train and taller that the buildings on fbb’s recreated backscene at Peterville station.

The trustees of Peterville Methodist Chapel will be rightly concerned about the damage to the church caused by tree roots and the obscuration of windows by the branches.

But fbb is loathe to spend loadsa money on well crafted trees. So a bodge is called for. That bodge is cheap Chinese imported model trees at about 50p to £1 each. Many of them are just awful. You might be forgiven for thinking that all trees in China have dayglo green foliage.

They don’t.

So can the arch-bodger turn dayglo green lurid trees into something a little more realistic. We have already met the project for the back scene, with the smaller trees planted in planters.

And, in case you are wondering, thy do look a much more lurid green in reality. fbb will turn up the brightness!

More treemendous arboreal activity tomorrow.

Mayhem In Manchester
Andy Burnham (big cheese mayor of Greater M/C) wants his buses to be like those in London; i.e. heavily subsidised. badly publicised and lacking adaptation to the changing demography of the Metropolis. He has no idea how his far reaching plans can be financed!
Back in January, GoAhead North West was jubilant to win he contract to run buses in Wigan (ex Stagecoach Ex First) and Bolton (ex First).

GoAhead has already welcomed the staff from these depots as its colleagues.

It is not on record whether the employees at Wigan and Bolton want to be colleagues of staff at GoAhead. Presumably the have no choice in the matter unless they jump ship and seek employment elsewhere.

As the management has been gloating over the spreadsheets and cashflow projections, a second set of franchises has just been announced. And guess what …

GoAhead has failed to win the biggie, namely the former Manchester Corporation Transport depot at Queens Road, which goes to …

… Yep, Stagecoach.
GoAhead, you will remember, bought the near moribund Queens Road business from First and set about “turning it around”. They claim great success, but they would say that, wouldn’t they?
So boss Nigel Featham sent a tearful farewell letter to all the colleagues at Queens Road. The copy sent to fbb is a graphic image and so he cannot extract the text …

… but it should enlarge if you wish to read it and shed a tear or two.

The important point to remember is that the bus companies have been eagerly bidding to run the existing networks. All the new whizzo plans that Andy Burnham has enthused about are yet to be taken into detailed consideration. So companies have bid without any real knowledge of what they might be operating in the Bright Burnham Bee Bus future.
Be prepared for chaos, venom spitting, arguments and confusion for Manchester’s passengers when the “negotiations” begin.
But all the buses will, eventually, be yellow.

So that will make a huge difference to every man, woman and dog travelling by bus, tram and, if Burnham gets his way, train in the great city of Cottononopolis!

Good News Old News For Marston Vale

For almost since fbb can remember, thee line between Bedford and Bletchley has been operated by diesels. Once they were painted blue and grey …

… then they acquired he bright and shiny Network SouthEasr livery.

Then the modern (well, less old) class 150s arrived …

…and rattled to and fro in various paint jobs.

Then, joy of joy, Vivarail ex London Transport D stock arrived and great was the rejoicing thereof.

Except that they didn’t work very well and trains were routinely cancelled and buses then provided an even slower service.

But things did get better until …
Vivarail went bust and North Westen Railway (the privatised (?) company that ran the line) decided they couldn’t mend them so they wouldn’t run them.
“The lads” on the Isle of Wight are doing OK at running similar stock,. as are the good folk at Transport for Wales – but such a simple solution is way beyond the customer care and concern of London North Western!

But good news at last.

London North Western have found some trains in an old dusty shed somewhere and they will soon be running between Bletchley and Bedford reliably and wonderfully.
“Soon” is, possibly, an optimistic term.
They will even wear the North Western boring livery, so that’s all right then.

And the shiny “new” trains?

Oh, they are aged class 150 two car diesels just like the passengers have had for many years before.

But in a different livery.

Please don’t get too excited Milton Keynes and Bedford potential passengers. Nothing much will happen until at least September.

Big Excitement Yawn At Seaton

Work on turning the old Co-op into a new Oldie (whoops, Aldi) continues apace. At a very slow pace. Due to oprn at Easter 2023, Summer 2023, September 2023, January 2024 (your guess is as good as fbb’s – indeed as good as Aldi’s!!) we now know that it won’t look like this.

The former front ot the Co-op has been extended forwards and, tada, it now has a fascia attached.

Great, innit!

And there’s more …
Trees Are Big : Scenery Is Bigger
Three uncaptioned pictures of Scotrail at work.

God willing, the fbbs will be back in Fort William in September for a Lochs and Glens holiday.
But by coach!
They will be picked up near the tram terminus at Seaton, a few yards from fbb mansions.
 Next Variety blog : Monday 26th June 
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