It’s Harry Potter’s Fault!

With Harry and Ron driving their blue Anglia above the Glenfinnan Viaduct, the Jacobite steam hauled excursion train has become world famous. Sadly, the visitor crowds on the West Highland Line have somewhat detracted from the other toute to the Isle of Skye, namely from Inverness via the Kyle of Lochalsh.
Something of the nostalgia of the Kyle route is captivated by a re-release of a Video 125 cab ride.

The video is a re-issue of a 1987 product showing trains hauled by real locos and using real Mark 1 coaches in blue and grey livery,

Back then VHS was king!

The DVD packaging maintains the traditional style.

Here is a preview extract.

The full video will be a joyous experience and the price is OK.

Whilst listening to the song at the opening of the preview, it is worth remembering that Charles Edward Stuart would not have had the benefits of the train from Inverness as he fled from the slaughter of Culloden! Pity!
For the record, the “Road to the Isles” is the route from Fort William via Mallaig.

Heavenly Jewels – The Answers.

Electric Island?
The craze for electric buses continues unabated with the Isle of Wight joining in the fun.

Clicking in the underlined text take us to the same bus picture and a lengthy account of what is happening or, maybe, what might be happening.

And it is all about ZEBRA funding.

DaFT (The Department For Transport) has a substantial block of offices …

… dedicated to creating meaningful acronyms under the generic heading of the Creating Recognisable Acronym Policy – a sub-department that apparently doesn’t have its own acronym! It comes under the government’s  Minister for Acronyms Department.
ZEBRA, as is plainly obvious from the striped ungulate above, stands for Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas. Snappy, eh?
Southern Vectis and Isle of Wight Council have submitted a bid for funding that would see a raft of zero emission buses arrive on the Island. 

The funding, part of the next phase of the Department for Transport’s ZEBRA scheme, would be used to revolutionise the operator’s routes 1, 5 and 9. 

If the bid is successful, the funding awarded will be added to investment already ring-fenced by Southern Vectis and Isle of Wight Council resulting in a total of £12.7m.

But they might not get the lolly?

This will secure 22 new, all electric single and double decker buses – complete with tap on, tap off technology for contactless payments, USB charging points for all seats, and next stop audio and visual announcements. They will also have a fully accessible wheelchair ramp, audio loops, dementia-friendly internal colour schemes and CCTV for added security. 

So, apart from their power, pretty normal for a bus in 2024?

The funding will also enable the bus operator’s Newport depot to be upgraded with charging infrastructure. 

Fairly important to be able to fill up with the electric! fbb is not sure where they will put the infrastructure as the depot in Newport is on a very restricted site.

The move will see a significant reduction in the Isle of Wight’s overall carbon emissions and improve air quality.

Using emission free power stations? Thought not!

GoAhead, owners of Southern Vectis has a lot to say:-
“This joint bid gives us a wonderful opportunity to take greener transport on the Isle of Wight a massive step even further – with the exciting prospect of 22 electric buses here. This also ties in perfectly with our parent company the Go-Ahead Group’s Climate Change Strategy – which has an overarching target to become a net zero carbon business by 2045.

The ZEBRA 2 bid has been submitted and a decision from DfT is expected in March 2024. If successful, the new fleet of electric buses is expected to arrive in February 2026.

Almost As Old as fbb
In 1946 the first Hattons model shop opened at 180 Smithdown Road in Liverpool. fbb was just 1 year old and, surprisingly, not yet a railway modeller.

The business developed and larger premises were needed culminating the the shop familiar to fbb’s generation.

Some observers did feel that the latest move to a huge warehouse in Widnes was a step too far and it does seem that this might well have been the case.

Hattons has just announced that it is closing down!

fbb has been a very satisfied customer for nearly ten years but, sadly, his minimalist expenditure has been insufficient to save the company long term!

The staff at Rails of Sheffield have expressed their heartfelt sympathy at the forthcoming closure of their main competitor.

 Next Transport Policy blog : Weds 10th Jan 
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