Monday Variety

 An Infestation Of Spiders - REDRAW

Many people admire Transport for London's spider diagrams but some, including fbb, are less than enthusiastic. Needless to say TfL thinks they are the answer to a maiden's prayer, obviating the need for any sort of network map.


Oxford Circus is, simply, a crossroads. Looking at the above diagram we can see that route 88 (LIGHT BLUE) and route 453 (PALE MUD) run from North to South and vice versa. Other routes run from West to South, and vice versa OR terminate at Oxford Circus.

The 88 continues via Piccadilly Circus, Whitehall, Westminster and on to Clapham Common. The 453 does likewise as far as Westminster then veers off via Elephant & Castle to New Cross and Deptford. So you would expect them to share the same stops in the environs of Oxford Citcus.

Oh foolish thought.

Here is stop RD (Northbound) at the top of Regent Street with a good view of All Souls Langham Place and  the expanded Broadcasting House towering above its circular colonnades.
The stop is, correctly, plated for 88 North to Parliament Hill Fields and 453 West to Marylebone. The stop opposite (RF) also has the 88 and 453 on display but with 12 and 22 added.
Readers will immediately remember (because it is so simple!) that the 12 and 22 terminate at Oxford Circus, so this is their departure point southbound.
We now move to Northbound stop RC just South of the Oxford Circus junction.
The terminating 12 and 22 stop there NOT going Towards Marble Arch or Great Portland Street but terminating at the next stop up Regent Street. The 94 has come from Piccadilly Circus and the 159 from Streatham via Westminster and Piccadilly Circus. They turn left at the junction ahead

The 159 terminates at Marble Arch ...
... where, on Cumberland Gate, there is a lurking point for many routes, including the 159.
... The 94 continues along topside of Hyde Park via Notting Hill Gate to Acton Green. But Hang on! Shouldn't the 453 stop at RC together with its Northbound chum, the 88?

The two chums are parted Southbound as well.
SEVEN routes travel South down Regent Street with service 22 turning off at Conduit Street and 94 terminating at Piccadilly Circus.
It says Piccadilly Circus on the blind, but, being London it isn't - quite.
It stands (and picks up) on Charles II Street with the colonnaded Theatre Royal in the background, but no doubt the Piccadilly "spider" makes it all clear.

So why the odd and incomplete mixture at stop RF. Maybe seven routes would cause too much cloggage, but fbb cannot work out on what basis just four are chosen for the honour of calling there. Maybe somebody knows, or, more likely, it is the result of decisions long lost in the mists of time.

Maybe it needs thinking about again?

But, at least, fbb's pretty coloured numbers match the spider, TfL stop lists, Google Streetview's map and the pictures of the stops (ignoring terminating routes).
That has been something of an achievement.

Next, a brave fbb tackles a redraw of the spider map itself. A large bottle of tranquilisers may well be needed.

Meanness At Heathrow
The Heathrow Free Travel Zone (HFTZ) is a zone encircling Heathrow Airport and the surrounding area where travel on public transport is free to use.

The HFTZ is subsidised by the airport, meaning that the buses are free to use, with no need for any ticket, oyster card or contactless card.

Unless you happen to work at Heathrow, the main reason for using the HFTZ is to get to your airport hotel. The HFTZ extends from the Premier Inn to the Ibis on Bath Road, and stretches down the east side to the Hilton Garden Inn Heathrow Airport and the west side to Sofitel Heathrow. Buses stop along Colnbrook By-Pass, Bath Road, Northern Perimeter Road, Eastern Perimeter Road, Envoy Avenue, Great South West Road, Southern Perimeter Road and Western Perimeter Road to serve the various hotels.

It would be lovely if it applied to ALL buses, but many are not included, usually longer distance services. And you do need your Oyster Card or contactless card to break into the Undergound etc. And, although it is deemed part of the airport for buses, don't you DARE try to exit from the Piccadilly line at Hatton Cross or the rottweilers will get you.

You are allowed to CHANGE at Hatton Cross to get TO Terminal 4 because the Piccadilly line is a one way loop - the wrong way!
Anyway all this is now academic because the Airport has announced that the free travel will be withdrawn from January 2021.
Tears will stream from users' faces as they read the explanation.
How very sad for Heathrow?

fbb reckons that the turnover at Heathrow is more than many a small independent nation's profit and loss account. Even in today's unprecedented etc the bills will be astronomical.

The saving made my withdrawing this cost will be almost non-existent by comparison - a few pennies rolling down a drain or disappearing down the back of the sofa.

But that's accountants for you!

Inappropriate Advertising
Could you imagine Tesco putting up posters saying "Every Little Helps - but it will help us lots more if you shop at ASDA"?

So why this on-screen on-bus display?

Another Livery Tease?
The vehicle used to carry Witch Way livery (Transdev Burnley and Pendle) ...
... and the brand used to look like this.
We await, in eager anticipation, to see what the new blue style might be and for what route.

The Miracle Of Adhesion
Named Salamanca, the above loco was built for the Middleton Railway in Leeds in 1812.
It pulled coal trucks on a conventional set of two rails, but the power was delivered through a cog wheel which engaged in a rack on the outer edge of one of the rails.
There weren't any hills on the Middleton Railway so the need for rack and pinion propulsion was not yet recognised. But designers thought that pulling a load, even pulling itself, with a loco using smooth wheels on a smooth rail was a physical impossibility.

Of course it wasn't impossible; but when you see the picture below, you can understand why the early pioneers thought like that.

It shows a wheel resting on a rail.
Apparently the contact (mathematically zero in area - ask your maths teacher about tangents?) between wheel and rail is about the size of a 5p coin.

Clever eh?

Christnas Is Coming
The first phase of the lavish Christmas decorations at fbb mansions was switched on last night, and fbb does not mean the light in the kitchen window!

More to follow!

 More maps and stuff blog : Tuesday 24th November 

Monday Variety