Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Meyzieu Tram Train Mystery (2)

Lorry Driving Dave's Photo ...
... came with the lad's usual challenge. What is it? What was it? What is it doing in Meyzieu line 3 tram depot?
Dave the Driver didn't use "zoom" on his camera, so an enlargement of the screen is the best that fbb could manage ...
... which wasn't much help. It appeared to be a single car with "stuff" on the roof and three sets of doors down the side. Was it a French railway railcar of some sort? There have been plenty of those over the years.
The squat ones with the driver in a pod on the roof were particularly noteworthy ...
... but everything researahed looked very different from the Meyzieu mystery machine.

Could it be something to do with the "rhône expess" tram?
This services shares the tracks with T3 as far a Meyzieu, providing a limited stop tram route to Airport and the Saint Exupéry TGV station - we would call it Lyon Parkway.
The service charges a premium fare of about €15 and runs every 15 minutes seven days a week ...
... with running time from city to airport being 29 minutes. To allow it to run "limited stop", several T3 stations have passing loops ...
... as here at Vaux-en-Velin. Here both tram services connect with Métro line A.
But you wouldn't park anything "rhône expess" in the Lyon tramways depot; (a) they are distinct and separate companies and (b) just along the road from the line 3 tram depot is the separate base for the airport stock.
Much of the infrastructure around the sheds is very new and Le "Streetview de Google" only gets part way. But you can see some of the extensive Pylon Collection ...
... as you peer through the gates!
We now know that the mystery vehicle is nothing to do with the rhône expess and, equially surely, is nothing that runs normally on T3. Dave the lorry driver was baffled; fbb was baffled - so what next?

Try asking!

Dave approached the man in a peaked hat at the depot gates ...
... but access was denied!

La santé et la sécurité règnent OK

As Dave departed in dismal despondency, along came another man who knew the answer, Hourrah! The Meyzieu mystery machine was ...


... an old car from Lyon Métro Ligne C.

Thither we will hie on the morrow.

In the meantime, two snippets from Northampton correspondent, Alan.
Here is his small but beautifully formed collection of old Dinky Toys. The Rolls Royce and the left hand pair of BBC outside broadcast vans date from Alan's childhood. Now if only he had the original boxes, he would be not quite a millionaire.

Aunty Nicola (the Big Fish of Caledonia) wants her own country to run and the doomed Irish Assembly has collapsed, amongst other things, over the recognition of Irish Gaelic; so it is good to see bi-lingual signs supporting the Welsh Celts in their desire for cultural recognition.
And where is this helpful sign? Of course, it is in Northampton (England?) just down the road from Alan's pad.
... as they say in Northampton's leafy western suburbs. New signs recently installed at the local Post Office are shown below.

 Next mystery tram blog : Wednesday 29th March 

Monday, 27 March 2017

Meyzieu Tram Train Mystery (1)

uploaded at 1330 today
Where's Meyzieu?
It was once a small agricultural village to the east of Lyon. On this (inadequate) map it is the third place in from the left.  The red line is a plan of most of the network of the Chemin de Fer de L'Est de Lyon, now closed.
The service was hardly frequent ...
... and trains were not particularly busy!
But the lucky residents also had the privilege of a tram service, route 16 ...
... continuing off the map (right) to Meyzieu.
At Décines, tram and rail crossed.
Passenger trains on the railway declined from 1947 and a limited freight service hung on on parts of the network until the late 90s. fbb thinks (?) the trams ceased in the 1950s. Spookily a number 16 bus still gets as far as Décines but not via the tram route.
But in 2006, Meyzieu got itself a new tram in the form of Lyon T3. This runs every 7/8 minutes at Monday to Friday peak and every 15 minutes at most other times.
This must imply that Meyzieu has grown a bit since its rural days.
And it has!

Note, for future reference, the vertical lines on the right of the map extract. These are power lines, supported by the finest collection of pylons imaginable. Watch out for this display as the blogs continue. Note also the vast area of black rectangles that form the huge Z I (Zone Industriel) to the east of the centre of the town.

There are three tram stops at Meyzieu, 

 Meyzieu Gare  complete with the original (but unoccupied) railway building!

 Meyzieu Z I  a station lost in the maze of Industrial units.

 Meyzieu Les Panettes  (Pylon Alert!!) of which more later.

Tramway 3's route is shared as far as Meyzieu Z I by the "rhône express" tram from Lyon to Gare Saint Exupéry (TGV) and the Airport. Again, more of this in due course.
The maroon airport line curves south after saying bye bye to T3 and waving a fond cheerio to the former Lyon Est railway line. Bits of the old trackbed still exist, even with rails in place, as here at Route de Jonage in Pusignan looking west towards Meyzieu ...
... and east towards Crémieu.
But in the Z I at Mayzieu is the depot for T3 ...
... and it was driving along Avenue Lionel Terray past the depot ...
... that Sheffield and lorry driving chum David spotted the mystery vehicle.
All will be revealed tomorrow.

 Next véhicule mystérieux blog : Tuesday 28th March 

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Nothing to do with Mothers Day

Or Mothering Sunday?
Correct; Ecclesiastically, today is not Mothers Day, it is Mothering Sunday. In times gone by it was customary for believer to visit their "Mother Church" on this particular day. For fbb at Seaton that might have been Exeter Cathedral ... .
... or the Minster Church on the Ax.
But the practice had all but died out by the start of the 20th Century. In 1912, an American, Anna Jarvis, ...
... actually trade-marked "Mothers Day" and "Second Sunday in May" to begin the newer version. Back at Coddington (Notts), the delightfully named Constance Adelaide Penswick Smith picked up the idea and wrote an improving book encouraging the re-establishment of a "Festival for All The Family",
And slowly but surely the Church celebration took root.

Breezer Breezes By Bembridge
Southern Vectis has had a love-hate relationship with open top bus services for many, many years. the problem is very simple; in good weather they rake in the money in sackfuls but when the rains fall, takings are almost non-existent.
In the mid eighties and new OT route began from Ryde, via Robin Hill, "over the downs" and back to Ryde. It fizzled out. But a brave new operator, Westbrook Travel, owned by you esteemed blogger, started a replacements.
This time, after a sale to new owners, the company fizzled out and Southern Vectis was back on the route.
It ran every half an hour for a short summer season and struggled to gain enough patronage. By now it charged a premium fare (£10, as part of a day rover) and so it was a bit easier to cover costs. 

This season the company is having a go at something  bit different. Instead of getting to Sandown and nipping smartly back to Ryde, the Breezer will run right round the coast via Bembridge.
Oddly, it misses out a charming piece of sea side running via Seaview Duver. 
It's twice as long but half as frequent.
Hope it does well, but ...

Is It Really Thirty Years ...
It was 1987, in the heady days of deregulation, that some oddly liveried buses appeared in the yard outside Ryde depot. 

They wee destined for Southmpton to compete with Southampton's City Bus operation. They wore black on red blinds (this illegible) and operated out of the back of a van in a car park near Ocean Village. It was all very amateurish.
A deal with Brian Souter to take over the Southampton and Eastleigh operations of Hampshire Bus brought an end to competition with the City incumbent. Opinion "on the street" suggests that Blue Line would not have survived the start-up had the expansion not happened. Be that as it may, eventually a sale to GoAhead and a re-brand to BlueStar both led to the company we know today.

It is 30 years old.
A big knees-up is planned for June ...
Our (senior!) Isle of Wight correspondent was dispatched from the Island to oversee the engineering side of the developing business, so it was he who uttered our headline. And, yes, it really was thirty years ago,

Trauma at Tanygrisiau
John's Coaches runs the little local service in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Service 37 (Blaenau Clipa) has been run by John for 18 years.
Blaenau Ffestiniog residents have hit out at a decision to strip a popular bus service contract from a much-loved local company.
The 37 Clipa service between Blaenau town centre and Tanygrisiau, run by John’s Coaches for the past 18 years, is to be taken over by Penygroes bus firm Express Motors from 1 April after the contract went out to tender.

But residents have hit out at the decision not to award the contract to John’s Coaches, with an online petition gaining more than 300 signatures in two weeks and customers sharing tales of the driver, Mr Edwards’ son Gareth, “going above and beyond” for the often-vulnerable passengers.
Here is John's bus in Blaenau.
It's raining; but it usually is in Blaenau! The bus, of course, is ex East Yorkshire.
Incidentally, Travelien Cymru have posted the new timetable (from 1st April) in advance. The current timetable is not available. It might be unchanged, but, who knows?

Tomorrow, to celebrate this week's formal farewell to Europe starter, we return to France.

 Next Lyon tram blog : Monday 27th March